Ellie the last of us 2

ns creators that "The final of Us part II" discuss ns transformation of ns game"s protagonist from a wide-eyed girl to ns woman sustained by vengeance.


Estás mirando: Ellie the last of us 2

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Note: This article contains major spoilers because that “The último of Us component II” y 2013′s “The último of Us.” no

un man is shoot in ns chest and chokes ~ above his own blood. Un pregnant mrs falls, fatally stabbed in she neck. They simply wanted come reach santa Barbara. Now they’re dead because uno woman essential information. Ns murderer, was standing amid their bodies, is not the little girl girlfriend remember.

5 years after the events of ns first game, Ellie is cold, brutal and often merciless. Pushed by revenge, los girl we knew from “The último of Us” has morphed right into something much more sinister. Her optimism is dimmed, her cómic muted — she pun book, as soon as filled with jokes, has been changed by un journal. “The final of Us part II” chronicles Ellie’s descent desde innocence come match los darkness of los post-apocalyptic hellscape approximately her.

ns death that Joel, her guardian y traveling partner representar the first game, has collection Ellie’s convencional compass spinning together she battles to discover purpose. The juego is no so much ns tale about finding delight as easing pain, and weighing ns cost of the quest. While ns sequel is focused on Ellie, the historia puts several characters in she close orbit, each present at different, pivotal junctures in a painful metamorphosis.


for those that remember Ellie as uno girl, knowledge her evolution over ns course the “The final of Us part II” can be difficult. It’s ns journey even those that created the game struggled to stomach in ~ times. Yet that dissonance was precisely ns chord los game’s co-director y writer, Neil Druckmann, want to win in regard come Ellie.

“You’re going to have to do some dreadful things come survive and to go on this trip of retribution,” co-director and writer Neil Druckmann tells ns Post. “It doesn’t average she’s a bad person.”

no one does it typical Ellie isn’t qualified of change.


Hope


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THE lose OF HOPE

By ns time we watch Ellie in ns sequel, lot of her positive outlook is gone, y the person closest to she stripped it representar her.

When component II begins, Ellie is 15, just ns year removed from the events of los first game, but already we see un change. Co-writer Halley gross says, in this hateful world, “nobody provides it to quince innocent.”

Ellie’s figure is proof of the stress she’s endured. She still sports her signature auburn hair, her scar cutting v her appropriate eyebrow and her Converse sneakers, yet much of her look has matured. Ashley Swidowski, ns lead character artist that conceptualized much of Ellie’s aesthetic in part II, states she took “personal interest” in “pushing a certain top quality in Ellie’s eyes, uno somberness.”


“They’re big and wide in los first game, very stylized, y this offer to remind los player that she is, despite all of her bravery and strength, a child,” she says. “But delaware everything the Ellie has actually been through, age y trauma has changed her.”

In the first game, Ellie still observed wonder, also in her desolate surroundings. She’d collect comics or comment on the strangeness of teenager magazines in which girls worried around what come wear or who to date. That was not the world she knew, one in which a deadly fungus-based virus mutated people into murderous zombies (known as los “infected”) and surviving humans had actually defaulted to an in similar way primal kill-or-be-killed instincts.


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Early concept letras of Ellie representar “The último of Us” ()


as Druckmann says, it’s a “world that normalizes death and violence,” y Ellie experience loss and trauma time and again. She loser her finest friend Riley, before she meets Joel. Tess, Joel’s beforehand traveling companion, dies at the very comienzo of ns journey that additionally includes the deaths of ns 13-year-old boy, Sam, y his older brother Henry, who commits self-destruction shortly delaware Sam is killed by infected.

because that Ellie, traumas also come in the form of betrayal. Un man called David, insinuated to be ns cannibal and pedophile, at very first protects her desde an strike of infected. As soon as she drops she guard, he traps she in a cell till she escapes and kills him. It’s uno terrifying wake-up call, one that reflects Ellie how she have the right to be manipulated.

“With David, the was absolutely traumatic,” Druckmann says. “And if every little bit she knowledgeable takes she on this spectrum, that was un big jump since of just how horrible that was."

los event additionally solidifies Ellie’s relationship con Joel. As soon as he pertains to her rescue, he traction her back from David’s body, rocks her in his arms y calls her “baby girl” — ns nickname he dubbed his so late daughter. Their closeness provides los emotional grounding for Joel’s ultimate decision in Part me gustaría to storm los hospital y rescue Ellie before los doctors can usar her (and her immunity to the virus) to find uno cure. The also los source of Ellie’s emotional chaos in component II. By saving her, Joel strips Ellie the what she sees together her purpose: to save humanity from the virus.

given her immunity, Ellie initially held fuera de hope los world could be restored, the humanity could be saved through uno cure, y she was ns key to unlocking that reality. After Joel rescues her representar the hospital, killing those that stood in his way, Ellie confronts him about what happened. That responds with a lie. Her final line is deliberately ambiguous: “Okay.”

“We, as the audience, knew the Joel to be not telling Ellie the completamente truth and lost the relationship,” says Ashley Johnson, ns actress that plays Ellie in both part I and Part II. “And at ns beginning the this game, Ellie’s already grappling with that.”


Early concept art of Ellie desde “The final of Us” ()


In part II, we check out Ellie prosper to age 19. Even as she y Joel uncover fragile peace desde the infected in fortresslike Jackson, Wyoming, their relationship frays. Joel’s lie has actually severed trust in between them, as displayed through flashbacks. In one together episode, when ns two uncover rotting corpses of two kids killed by infected, Ellie mutters, “Too poor they weren’t immune."

Gross y Druckmann go back and forth on ns lot of these flashbacks, trying come hit los right aprecies to convey los “evolution in relationships,” and to make certain they felt “incredibly authentic.” They necessary to make it resonate as soon as Joel dies, for both players y Ellie.

los game’s writers cause Ellie’s evolución in component II con Joel’s death. Druckmann says Joel’s death needed to it is in “gross, unceremonious y humiliating.” go into Abby, a vengeful daughter of a man murdered by Joel throughout his centro de salud rampage. With Ellie pinned by her accomplices, Abby fin Joel’s life with a golf club.


Druckmann and Gross knew Joel’s fatality would draw an emotional response, an especially from entusiastas of the first game. It also had ns profound influence on ns cast.

“That was ns really, really challenging day,” Johnson claims of filming that scene. “I remember identificación went patria that night, and I think the was the hardest I’ve ever before slept because we shot the scene all día long. That not straightforward to it is in in that an are for a saturado day.”

but it was for that exact same reason los writers knew it had to it is in Joel who necessary to die y send Ellie on she journey. That was due to the fact that of every he expected to her, both in life and beyond.

“He had this defining transition to her morality,” pistol says. With his death, her evolución begins.


Hate


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THE rise OF HATE

the formulation because that Ellie’s rotate toward darkness can be traced trasero to los year 2000. Then in his early on 20s, Druckmann observed news clip of ns crowd lynching dos Israeli soldiers in los West Bank. “And then they cheered afterward,” Druckmann, who thrived up in Israel, recalls. “It was ns cheering the was really chilling to me. … In my mind, me gustaría thought, ‘Oh, man, if i could simply push a button y kill all these human being that committed this horrible act, identificación would do them feel the same pain the they inflicted on these people.’"

the feeling faded, though. Eventually, he looked back and felt “gross y guilty” because that his intense feelings. With “The final of Us component II,” he want to check out that emotionally tumult on un didactic level.

“I arrived on this emotional idea of, can we, gastos generales the course of los game, make you feeling this intense hate the is universal in the same means that unconditional love is universal?” Druckmann says. “This dislike that civilization feel has the same sort of universality. You hate someone so lot that you want them to endure in los way they’ve made someone you love suffer.”


“I came down on this emotional idea of, have the right to we, gastos generales the course of los game, make you feel this extreme hate the is gama in ns same method that unconditional love is universal?”

Neil Druckmann, writer y director


Joel’s murder further complicates Ellie’s view of him. On one hand, he guided her and taught her y kept she safe. On ns other, that robbed she of ns life-defining choice and deceived her. Now she has no chance come reconcile those conflict emotions. However in the town hall Abby y her Washington Liberation prior brethren death Joel, Ellie finds a simple, guiding clarity: hunt y kill “every último one the them.”

gun believes Ellie is driven not simply by hate, however by guilt and a loss of purpose. Ellie feeling it’s her duty come avenge Joel’s death, yet she’s likewise tortured by survivor’s guilt. Being lively in this moment means the entire world continues un losing battle against uno raging pandemic — one she could have stopped, had actually Joel not intervened.


Concept arte from “The last of Us: component II” ()


“We learned in that final scene with Joel, says, if i died on los table, my life would have actually meant something," gross says. “So currently we know in hindsight the this entirety game, she alguna longer feels choose her life way anything. … i think in one means it really articulates why she willing to hazard so lot . That like, ‘I can dado for Joel.’"

as Ellie becomes hellbent top top revenge, she changes. She becomes obsessed with how Joel approached the world, dispassionately and with ns singular focus. Cheeky Dog inside used the metaphor of addiction to rationalize Ellie’s evolution, and it’s partially why they chose uno moth as the icono for her tattoo, symbolizing death y compulsion.


Joel observed “death y violence” as ns “very realistic thing,” Druckmann says. “He doesn’t uncover much pleasure in it. And he’s no repulsed by the either. He’s sort of indifferent to it. Ellie, on ns other hand, wants to be choose Joel and is not like him at all."

This becomes clear as Ellie seeks info on Abby’s whereabouts, capturing uno woman named Nora and torturing she to death. In ~ the fin of ns scene, Nora is on the floor, coughing, barely able come speak together she inhales deadly spores into her lungs. Ellie it is provided a final threat: Nora’s fatality can be “quick” or “so lot worse.” Ellie has begun to change.

“There’s alguno pulling punches,” Druckmann says. “There’s no shying away representar it. Alguno matter how much us love this characters, to carry out them justice, come tell the story honestly, we have to donar them con all their good y their bad.”


Love


THE GUIDING light OF LOVE

Following the encounter with Nora, Ellie appears broken. Her face is pale, and she shakes from head to toe. Ellie’s agony is clear v tortured human body language y spare conversation as she recounts the episode to her girlfriend, Dina, that washes Ellie’s bloodstained, slashed and bruised upper body with uno rag.

“I made her talk,” she speak Dina. It’s a justification for she actions, one Ellie requirements Dina come appreciate y understand due to the fact that of the role she plays in Ellie’s life. “I don’t desire to lose you,” Ellie claims to her.

“The ‘I don’t want to shed you’ is something me gustaría kept latching onto, i m sorry is like, she now sees herself as less,” Druckmann claims of Ellie’s mentmore state after killing Nora. “She understands this things are horrible and the people around her will judge her horribly for them. Despite this, she feels like she needs to do them. Believing you righteous at any kind of cost have the right to be un horrible thing and can lead to you committing awful acts."

with Dina’s love y time con Ellie, players will recognize ns girl they remember representar Part I. Ellie glows around Dina, hoax around, serenades her y is periodically painfully awkward, like as soon as Dina asks she to rate their first kiss. She bursts of momentary, carefree actions hark regreso to who she was as un child.


Early concept art of Ellie from “The final of Us: component II” ()


“We needed somebody who could remind Ellie of that she supplied to be, right, traction that cómic out of her, pull that intimacy out of her, pull the hope el fin of her, proceed to be los sort of north Star,” gun says.

Amid ns ever-darkening twists of part II, Dina offer as a counter-ballast, un guiding iluminar that keeps Ellie from plunging headlong into blackness. In certain instances, your relationship balances against the weight that Joel’s loss, ns dynamic los writers wrestled with, especially right after his death.

“I in reality tried to put in a ton of jokes,” gross says, talk about los scene wherein Ellie y Dina an initial set fuera de to Seattle. “She’s to be on los road for numero 3 months with her girlfriend. And, friend know, possibly it’s it s okay if we deserve to feel that type of dissonance. Y it never felt right. It never ever felt prefer we to be honoring ns weight of ns situation."


In she relationship with Dina, Ellie aspires because that something beyond los hurt, but it’s concealed behind layers of grief and rage. Still that surfaces, obvious in moments when Ellie shares with Dina the she’s immune to los virus, the evidence that which she kept concealed (an infected bite under ns chemical burn y a tattoo) desde the rest of the world. An ext playfully, it pokes through once Ellie provides fun of Dina early on on about wanting a sencillo life in ns farmhouse — component of her really hopes for it too.

“As lot as this game is Ellie living in the past, stop tempt she by los future,” gun says. “Let’s give her hope. Let’s offer her family. Let’s provide her uno positive path to walk forward with. We view her together this tough motherf---er the is no scared of anything. Let’s provide her other that offers her vulnerability. Let’s see somebody who have the right to really, friend know, make her boots shake. Dina incorporates that.”

Glimpsing what her world could be con Dina eventually conflicts con Ellie’s various other guiding vision: her search for vengeance. Los two goals cannot exist together, however, y as their connection unfolds, stress and anxiety grows between los two.

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“Let’s offer her miscellaneous that offers her vulnerability. Let’s view somebody who have the right to really, friend know, do her boots shake. Dina includes that.”

Halley Gross, co-writer


Dina and Ellie endure numerous waves that grief together, however they nothing navigate them ns same way. Seeing uno friend called Jesse dado at the mano of Abby gnaws at Ellie, mingling with the pain of Joel’s death y her ns of purpose. She i do not care sharper with Dina, phone call her uno “burden” as soon as Dina confesses she pregnant con Jesse’s child.

just handles that differently,” gun says. “She’s may be to continue to be in ns present.”

Ellie, however, is stuck in los past. This at some point pulls castle apart.

near the fin of ns game, Ellie y Dina discover refuge in ns secluded farmhouse, where they build ns life caring for JJ, Dina y Jesse’s son. It seems too good to be true, y it is. The hiatus representar brutality is disrupted by Ellie’s PTSD, which forces her to continuously relive Joel’s fatality inside she head. Around this time, Tommy, Joel’s brother, mirrors up on your doorstep. He knows Abby’s new location, the says, y it’s sufficient to reunite Ellie with her dark purpose.

“Suddenly there’s ns baby,” gun says. “Suddenly there’s un family. Tommy come around and knows how to just discover that survivor guilt button."

This is vital juncture because that Ellie, gun says, y for viewers, who might ask what Ellie’s obligations are come those about her.

gun lists off los questions to that end: “What go she fan to Joel, who made this selection without her agreement? What go she owe to Abby y the Fireflies? as soon as again, she no make that choice, but Joel made un lot that horrible choices in her name. What does she fan to Dina? What does she owe to Jesse, who died in this journey? what’s she fan to Tommy, who gained hurt due to the fact that he wanted to shot kill these people prior to she acquired there?”

though Ellie desires to love and care for her girlfriend, she pipeline to seek Abby. Ellie can not fix ns world by offering her life for ns cure. But she has ns choice this time, and she believes death Abby will carry some measure of solace.

struggles with doing los right thing,” Druckmann says. “When she finally breaks up con Dina, she to know it’s ns wrong point to do. And yet she can’t aid but perform it. Yes something kind of tragic and very Ellie in that.”


A powerful WAVE of FORGIVENESS

Ellie’s search ends differently 보다 planned. She finds Abby by los ocean in papa noel Barbara, strung increase on un wooden board y left come die. With revenge in her grasp, Ellie hesitates. It’s here, in this scene, where the story becomes clear in its eventualmente arc: This trip isn’t solely around avenging Joel’s death. Instead, that examines exactly how love y forgiveness have the right to prevail in the face that hatred.

as grotesque together Ellie’s actions have actually been, Abby has actually done considerable harm too. Yet, no of them are defined by it, and both at some point wish to leaving it every behind.

In ns twist, los player spends much of ns latter half of the game as Abby, playing with a historia that humanizes her and those roughly her. She is not ns classic foe meant to illustrate ns hero’s virtue and righteousness. She has un voracious hunger for revenge at los start, as with Ellie, yet that ebbs once Yara and Lev (two children running from their ultrareligious comunidad known as the Seraphites) join her travels. Through these children we view Abby together caring, loyal y just. Yet we additionally see she flaws, y how she obsession for revenge has put push on her relationships. The complicated picture amplifies los tension together the finalmente scene dram out.

Wrestling con her emotions, Ellie at some point demands Abby fight she on los shore. As ns two grapple, Johnson recalls ns agony she feel in this minute when she play the game for los first time.

“Obviously me gustaría know ns outcome that the game — but me gustaría just placed my controller down and I was crying,” Johnson says. “I to be saying, ‘No, simply leave it. Just go. Just stop.’ friend wrestle with a lot while you play this game.”

Johnson would gain her wish. Ellie yields y lets Abby andar away with Lev. “Go,” she speak Abby. “Just take him.”

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“Obviously identificación know the outcome the the juego — but me gustaría just placed my controller down y I to be crying.”

Ashley Johnson, actress that plays Ellie


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Druckmann, Gross and the cheeky Dog an innovative team had “a most conversations around the fin of the game,” y why Ellie doesn’t death Abby. Druckmann no think over there is one all-encompassing answer, however instead uno combination. There is no single character or minute that’s responsible.

“Is it because Lev is there, and she sees how much cares because that Lev? Is it due to the fact that she ultimately understands that she is Abby in a lot that ways, and that it deserve to be destructive?” Druckmann says. “Does she finally understand the this is her último bit that humanity? If she provides this up, what is left?”

during the por último moments of the fight, Ellie stop Abby under ns water, attempting come drown her. Together this happens, Joel’s face flashes on ns screen briefly. After the skirmish, uno flashback reflects Ellie and Joel stand on ns porch.

“I don’t think you can ignore ns fact that we combination those dos scenes together, which to be not initially coupled,” gun says. “That scene with Joel taken place way espalda on los farm, where we learned the she was going to forgive him.”

In ns scene, Ellie’s feelings toward Joel start to soften when he accepts her as a homosexual woman. “You’re such an a------,” she speak him, in uno frustrated however loving tone.


“She hated Joel so much for what he did , y yet was able to find ns way to start forgiving him,” Druckmann says.

Ellie wants to hate him, yet he’s “a an excellent dad,” gun says. It’s un legacy the he passes on to her, even if Ellie didn’t understand it at ns time of their finalmente conversation.

“Joel’s love that Ellie assisted shape how Ellie dealt con that hit on ns beach,” gross says.

Ellie is tested a finalmente time, asked to take into consideration if her soul is precious sacrificing in ns name of revenge. Can she challenge who she’s become, or have the right to be she shot to it is in better?

“To really show this maturity, this large change that we’re going to acquire to in the very last scene of los game, where she lastly lets go, you desire to see all the moments that resulted in that, y so much of the is around Joel,” gross says. “How Joel had ns huge defining influence on who she is, even delaware he died."

representar the outset of the series, Joel shaped much of Ellie’s life. He went to great lengths not simply to protect her, however to understand and love her. But he additionally hurt her, and burdened her, in methods that have the right to never be erased; the damned humankind rather 보다 sacrificing her life for un cure. In ~ the end of “The último of Us component II,” Ellie grapples with these truths. She leaves the beach having made a choice of her own delaware being plunder of plenty of others. She reflects restraint. Ellie’s decision to preventive Abby is her means of forgiving Joel v her.

“She has ns hard time, just wrestling con all these points that she’s excellent or that have been done in she name and again, she keeps trying to find purpose in it all to say, like, ‘if i just achieve this, it will all have actually been precious it,’" Druckmann says. “And me gustaría think at ns very, very end, as soon as she can lastly do it, possibly she realizes it’s no worth it."

los subtext of the finalmente scene demonstrates Ellie’s reclamation of she autonomy. While Joel’s death listed purpose, forgiveness gives her freedom. She life is cuales longer overshadowed by his death, his lies and his love. Ellie is faced without a clear future, and one there is no family, however one every her own.

returning to los now-empty farmhouse, Ellie looks in ~ Joel’s guitar y leaves it behind. The signals a change, uno surrender that vengeance, un proclamation the love and, ultimately, forgiveness.

She chooses to let go.

An earlier version the this short article incorrectly established Neil Druckmann’s period when he saw footage of the lynching of two soldiers in los West Bank. He was in his beforehand 20s, not his so late teens.