HBO began streaming the season one finale of The Last of Us last night, and while the episode probably did little to change the minds of Bella Ramsey critics, many of whom continue to claim that they could have found a better actress for the vital role of Ellie, Neil Druckmann has confirmed that she is definitely here to stay. Speaking during a press conference ahead of the season finale, Druckmann, executive producer and co-president of Naughty Dog, clarified that he and showrunner Craig Mazin are planning to make Season 2 with Ramsey at the forefront, explaining how lucky they were to find her and how her talent can be compared with that of Ashley Johnson, Ellie’s voice actress in the games. The story for the second season of The Last of Us remains under wraps, but if it’s anything like the first season, it should—for better or worse—follow the plot of The Last of Us Part II very closely.
From an IGN report:
“When we made the game, I felt we were incredibly lucky,” Druckmann said. “It was like lightning in the bottle that we found Ashley Johnson. I can’t imagine that version of Ellie being anybody else. And then somehow we got lightning in the bottle again with Bella.
“We are extremely lucky to have Bella and the stuff you saw throughout this entire season. The only way we would ever, ever consider recasting Bella is if she said, ‘I don’t want to work with you guys anymore.’ Even then, I’m not sure we would grant her that. We might still force her to come back to Season 2.”
Mazin shared Druckman’s enthusiasm for Ramsey’s Ellie, and he also pointed out that “[Ramsey]’s 19 now, which — by the way — is the age of Ellie in The Last of Us Part II.”
“[Season 2] will be different just as this season was different,” Mazin said. “Sometimes it will be different radically, and sometimes it [won’t] be fairly different at all, but it’s going to be different. It will be its own thing. It won’t be exactly like the game. It will be the show that Neil and I want to make, but we are making it with Bella.”