THR reports that HBO’s The Last of Us adaptation will see Merle Dandridge return to the franchise to play Marlene after voicing the character in the award-winning video game. The pivotal casting serves as the show’s most concrete connection to the video game series yet.
Dandridge joins Game of Thrones veterans Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey in a presumably supporting role. In the original game, her prominence in the overall narrative is minimal, but Marlene is still pivotal in jumpstarting the story. Dandridge will be playing the head of the Fireflies, a resistance movement fighting for freedom against oppressive military control in the United States of America. She entrusts Joel with Ellie, a young girl that is extraordinarily important to the Fireflies and their struggle for a brighter future.
In addition to Dandridge, Neil Druckmann returns from behind-the-scenes of the original game to co-write the HBO series. Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin serves as showrunner while Beanpole director Kantemir Balagov is set to helm the pilot. Filmmakers Jasmila Žbanić and Ali Abbasi are attached to helm episodes of the highly-anticipated adaptation. The supporting cast also includes Terminator: Dark Fate star Gabriel Luna portraying Joel’s brother, Tommy.
No stranger to voice work, with video game credits including Half-Life 2 and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Dandridge has also been a consistent presence on the small screen. Her past work in television includes appearances in Sons of Anarchy and The Night Shift, but she currently co-stars alongside Kaley Cuoco in HBO Max’s The Flight Attendant. Her addition to The Last of Us series is not only an extension of her relationship with video game company Naughty Dog, but with Warner Media as well.
A release date for The Last of Us remains uncertain as HBO prepares to commence a year-long production later this summer.