In a move that has come to be expected of any major Hollywood production in the modern era, HBO has revealed that Joel Miller’s daughter, Sarah, will be race-swapped for their upcoming live-action adaptation of Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us video game series.
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The daughter of Joel and a woman whose identity has yet to be revealed within canon, Sarah is one of the very first characters to be introduced in The Last of Us, co-starring alongside her father in the first chapter of the original game before falling victim to a stray gunshot during the chaos that explodes in the wake of the Cordyceps brain infection’s initial outbreak.
Originally depicted by the developers at Naughty Dog as having white skin, blue eyes, and blonde hair, ostensibly due to the fact that depicting any character with this combination of traits is all it takes to draw accusations of racism from terminally online Twitter users, Sarah will look quite different when she makes the jump to the small screen.
As revealed by a new set of promotional character posters released by HBO on December 1st, upon her live-action debut, Sarah will be portrayed by actress Nico Parker.
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The daughter of Ticket to Paradise director Oliver Parker and Solo: A Star Wars Story actress Thandiwe Newton, Parker’s role in The Last of Us will mark her fourth major acting role, having previously appeared in Disney’s live-action remake of Dumbo, the lukewarm Hugh Jackman action outing Reminiscence, and HBO’s The Third Day miniseries.
Notably, Sarah is not the only The Last of Us character – or Miller family member, for that matter – to undergo a race-swap at the hands of HBO.
Thanks to their respective castings as Joel and his brother Tommy, The Mandalorian star Pedro Pascal and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’s resident Ghost Rider actor Gabriel Luna will give the originally white characters a new Latin bent.
Of course, HBO’s disregard for the original game comes as no surprise in light of the pre-filming advice given to Ellie actress Bella Ramsey by the network’s production staff.
Asked by the USA Today in early October if she had “played the game at all before signing on”, Ramsey admitted, “I was actually encouraged not to.”
“After my first audition, they asked me, ‘Have you played it?’ And I said, ‘Nope,’ and they said, ‘Keep it that way,’” she playfully explained. “[But] I did watch some of the game play on YouTube just to get a sense of it.”
HBO’s take on The Last of Us is currently set to premiere on January 15th, 2023.
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