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HBO's The Last of Us Abby casting highlights a major issue

HBO's The Last of Us Abby casting highlights a major issue

As HBO's The Last of Us prepares to introduce Abby, we need to ensure history doesn't repeat itself.

With filming on The Last of Us’ second season due to kick off in February, there’s one question on everybody’s mind: Who is going to play Abby?

While rumours claim it’s Kaitlyn Dever, we don’t know at this point in time. If there’s one thing I’m certain of though, it’s that I’m tired of hearing the same ‘joke’ posted over and over again. “Whoever plays Abby needs to be put in witness protection,” or some variation of that sentiment, accompanied by several laughing emojis. While there’s always going to be those that take things too far, it saddens me to see that we’re already normalising the possibility that the actress in question might receive a slew of hate, just as Laura Bailey did when The Last of Us Part II was released in 2020. Why, instead of dropping this joke, can we not just put out the call for people to do better?

Take a look at our preview of The Last of Us Part II Remastered's No Return mode.

It’s always baffled me that some people are unable to separate an actress from a character. There’s always going to be those who cannot empathise with Abby - and that’s fine. It’s perfectly acceptable to even detest the character, if that’s the side of the fence you sit on. We’re all going to respond to characters differently. I hate that I have to point out though that an actress is, well, acting. They’re their own person. They’re not responsible for their character’s decisions. They’re paid to turn up and breathe life into the words written on a page.

Laura Bailey did that flawlessly in The Last of Us Part II. It’s no surprise that she won Best Performer in a Leading Role at the BAFTA Games Awards and Best Performance at Geoff Keighley’s The Game Awards. As Laura’s previously expressed though, launching The Last of Us Part II was a tale of two halves. On one hand, it was a career high while on the other, Laura was dealing with death threats made against her and her family - all for the actions of a fictional character.

The Last of Us Part II /
Sony Interactive Entertainment

In a tweet posted around the time of the game’s release, Laura said, “Man. I try to post only positive stuff on here but sometimes it just gets a little overwhelming. I blacked out some of the words cuz, ya know, spoilers. Side note, thank you to all the people sending positive messages to balance it out. It means more than I can say.” Attached were various DMs she’d received featuring at least five different death threats. I’m imagining this was just a small sample of a much larger picture.

As we prepare for the filming of The Last of Us’ second season, it’s as if people are just naturally expecting this to happen again. That joke I previously mentioned, I’m sure you’ve seen it multiple times on social media. It crops up practically every time there’s a new casting rumour but please, think a little deeper before making the joke yourself. No, whoever plays Abby does not need to be placed in witness protection nor should we encourage them to delete social media.

If they chose to, that’s another story but I’m talking about advising it from the expectation that social media is guaranteed to become a grisly place. Instead, we should be using this retelling of Part II’s story to rewrite history, not let it repeat itself. Instead of normalising and expecting an onslaught of hate, challenge that notion. Challenge those who fail to differentiate reality from fiction. Hating a character is fine. Hating the person bringing them to life for said fictional character’s actions is not. End of story.

Featured Image Credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment, HBO

Topics: The Last Of Us, The Last Of Us Part 2, Naughty Dog, PlayStation, PlayStation 5, TV And Film