Marlene and Ellie in the Last of Us

Merle Dandridge, Who Played Marlene in The Last of Us, Will Reprise Her Role for the TV Series

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The Last of Us is gearing up to be one of the most highly anticipated series on HBO in quite some time. With an all-star cast and getting its inspiration from one of the most popular games, the show just keeps making announcements that get us even more ready for whatever is in store for Joel Miller and Ellie.

After casting was announced for Pedro Pascal as Joel Miller, Bella Ramsey as Ellie, and Gabriel Luna as Tommy Miller, fans wanted to know how they were going to round out the characters you meet throughout their journey and now, we have our Marlene in Merle Dandridge! The actress, known for her work in Greenleaf and The Flight Attendant was also the actress who did the English voiceover as well as the motion-capture for Marlene in the game.

Which is an amazing move, in my opinion. Dandridge did an incredible job in the game and getting to see her bring Marlene to life in live-action will give fans that connection back to the game they played as well as exploring new depths to the character. And getting to see her square up against Pedro Pascal’s Joel will be a fun dynamic as well.

Dandridge shared her excitement for returning to the role of Marlene on Twitter!

Marlene is a complicated character and getting to see how she’ll differ from the game to the HBO series is going to be fascinating.

**Below are spoilers for Marlene’s storyline in The Last of Us: Part 1. Proceed with caution.**

The reason that Joel Miller joins up with Ellie at all is because Marlene is trying to get her to the Fireflies. Ellie was bitten but never turned into one of the infected, so Marlene told Joel that she believed that Ellie was proof of a cure being possible. She knew Joel’s brother Tommy and so Joel trusts her, especially when Tess pleads with him to take Ellie after she was bitten and saw how quickly it spread for her.

And that’s mainly what we see of Marlene in the beginning of the game. She gets Joel and Ellie together and then we don’t see her again towards the end, when they are with the fireflies and Joel knows what they are really planning for Ellie. Marlene’s fate isn’t great and Joel isn’t afraid to stand up to her to protect Ellie but she’s an interesting character. So to know that the Queen of the Fireflies herself is being played by the same actress from the game is exciting!

I hope it means that we’ll have more of the motion-capture/voice actors crossing over into the show now that they’ve found their Joel and Ellie in Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey but who knows! Marlene was great in the game and I can’t wait to see what Merle Dandridge brings to her character in the live-action format.

(image: Naughty Dog)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.