For all the backlash she received, Bella Ramsey nailed it as Ellie Williams, the deuteragonist of HBO's The Last of Us. As the kids say, she did her assignment.
But, while Ramsey did an excellent job in portraying the Cordyceps-immune teenager, it was still always possible for the show to recast the role for the second season. Some are even suggesting Maisie Williams for the role after she revealed that she was in the running. However, Neil Druckmann ended all the speculation when he confirmed that they will not recast Bella Ramsey.
Here's what Druckmann told The Wrap (via Forbes):
We are extremely lucky to have Bella…and the only way we would ever consider recasting Bella is if she said, ‘I don’t want to work with you guys anymore.'
And even then we’re not sure we would grant her that. We might force her to come back this season.
Believe it or not, Ramsey is already 19 years old, the same age that Ellie is in The Last of Us Part II. But, she doesn't look her age in Season 1, which many believe is a problem.
Another concern is if she can live up to expectations in the more "violent" sequel, as if Game of Thrones wasn't the biggest show in the world at the time and a 15-year-old Ramsey, playing as Lyanna Mormont, didn't just carve up a 14-foot-tall giant a new one in the Battle of Winterfell in Season 8.
Ramsey's performance in Episode 8 of The Last of Us Season 1 should more than confirm that she's more than capable of enacting her fair share of punishment when the role calls for it.
The only question now is, when is Season 2 of The Last of Us coming out?
The show isn't as CGI-filled as, let's say, House of the Dragon, so it might be as affected by the current backlog affecting VFX-heavy projects. So, a 2024 premiere window is possible. Of course, if HBO follows the current cycle between House of the Dragon and The Last of Us, we might get Season 2 in early 2025 after Season 2 of House of the Dragon premieres late next year.
For now, audiences who enjoyed HBO's The Last of Us can look forward to replaying the entire thing on the PC later this month. Hopefully, between now and the premiere of Season 2, Naughty Dog and Sony will confirm that The Last of Us Part II is coming to PC as well.
Naughty Dog is currently working on The Last of Us Multiplayer, which might be revealed later this year.