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Who is Riley? Ellie's response to Marlene's question hints at a connection in 'The Last of Us'

At the end of Episode 1, fans of the video game and new viewers want to know who Riley is and her history with Ellie
Storm Reid as Riley and Bella Ramsey as Ellie in HBO's 'The Last of Us' (Twitter/HBO Max and HBO Max)
Storm Reid as Riley and Bella Ramsey as Ellie in HBO's 'The Last of Us' (Twitter/HBO Max and HBO Max)

HBO Max's post-apocalyptic series 'The Last of Us' has been full of surprises since its premiere. This show, based on the acclaimed video game series of the same name, has tried to balance being true to the game's plot while adding new elements. In the first episode, the audience was presented with a huge hint that led to the rise of an important question from fans of the game and new viewers alike. After Episode 1, Marlene (Merle Dandridge) mentions "Riley," who might be playing a bigger part in the story of Ellie's (Bella Ramsey) childhood.

At the end of Episode 1 ('When You're Lost in the Darkness'), Ellie is introduced to a group called "Fireflies" and is also revealed to be immune to the deadly Cordyceps virus. When she is introduced to Marlene, she accuses them of being terrorists. Marlene asks, "Was Riley a terrorist?" which elicits an emotional response from Ellie. It wasn't the question that seemed to rattle Ellie, but the mention of the name Riley. 


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Who is Riley in the video game series?

Riley Abel is a significant character in 'The Last of Us' video game series. She is a deuteragonist in both the prequel comic series and the prequel DCL expansion. She was born after the fungal breakout and had to kill her infected father, who had killed her mother, in defence. She then lived in the Boston Quarantine Zone and hated the military actions while praising the Fireflies. It is there she met Ellie. The two had a love-hate relationship during the time and she would later leave with the Fireflies, leaving Ellie behind. At one point, two of them get bitten by a runner and during the events that followed, Riley succumbed to the infection while Ellie became immune. She would later be discovered by Marlene and sent to Salt Lake City hospital in order to make a vaccine.

Who is Riley in HBO's 'The Last of Us'?

Now the burning question is who Riley is in the TV series. As we already know, some changes have been made to the series, including how the virus spreads. Though there are clear hints that Ellie had some history with Riley, we are not sure what that is. It is confirmed that Riley, much like in the game, has been with the Fireflies when Marlene asks the question. It is also confirmed that Riley was the one who put Ellie on their radar and kept her safe by adding her to FEDRA school. Riley will be the sole key connection in finding out the Ellie's history with her and her own mother.


Who Plays Riley in HBO's 'The Last of Us'?

'Euphoria' star Storm Reid will play Riley in the HBO Max series. The 19-year-old actor has also worked in titles like '12 Years a Slave', 'A Wrinkle in Time', 'The Invisible Man', 'The Suicide Squad', 'When They See Us' and 'Missing'.

New episodes of 'The Last of Us' will drop weekly, every Sunday at 9 pm ET on HBO. The episodes will also be available to stream on HBO Max.