One of the big roles that Hollywood must cast next is that of Abby in the second season of HBO’s The Last of Us. Co-showrunner Craig Mazin had hinted earlier this year that they may already have a prime candidate for the role, but that the strike cut their legs from under them. Now, after months of speculation and rumors, a new report has put a new name in the spotlight.
According to Jeff Sneider, via his newsletter, Booksmart and No One Will Save You star Kaitlyn Dever is in negotiations with HBO to play the role of Abby. Dever, as pointed out by The Hollywood Reporter a few months ago, was a prime candidate for the role of Ellie back when Sony was trying to turn the video game into a feature film. She even did a table read with Neil Druckmann.
By the time they were putting together the show, however, she, much like most of the candidates from back then, had aged out of the role. But be it consciously or unconsciously, Dever’s name reappeared when the crew was casting for the role of Abby in season 2. And it also makes sense, as Ellie and Abby are kind of two sides of the same coin, albeit in different spaces in time.
According to Sneider, “Dever is poised to win the role on the strength of her bravura silent turn in Brian Duffield’s alien invasion movie No One Will Save You“. As he also noted, Dever is one of the 71 people Mazin follows on Instagram.
The actress was never really a contender for the role of Ellie in the HBO adaptation, though, as Craig Mazin revealed to Josh Horowitz on the Happy, Sad, Confused podcast that Bella Ramsey was the only real candidate they had:
“We had the benefit of both storylines, whereas when Neil made the first game, he didn’t. We were aware of how her character’s evolution goes. There were certain things we knew we were looking for. It was nothing prescriptive, but Neil and I felt we needed to find an actor who was a convincing 14-year-old, who’s funny, who’s smart, who’s a pain in the ass, and who’s also somebody you’d want to kill everyone to keep alive, and also someone who was a little scare, who had the potential to be very dangerous. And all of that is a lot. And that is probably why we saw 100 auditions. But when Bella’s came through, it was just… It was done.”Craig Mazin on Happy, Sad, Confused
The Importance of Abby in The Last of Us Season 2
Without getting into spoiler territory for those who have not played the PlayStation game and would like to go into the second season of the show fresh, we’ll try to minimize the actual story breakdown of The Last of Us Part Two.
However, you should know that Abby is one of the two most important characters in the story, next to Ellie. Joel takes a backseat in the game, although whether or not he will dot that in the series as well remains to be seen. Mazin has been very coy about confirming or denying how strictly they will follow the storyline of the game.
In the game, Abby has a key set of scenes in the first two hours of gameplay, which set off the entire story. However, it’s not until the second half of the game that she reappears.
We know that the storyline of the game will be adapted into more than one season, but we still don’t know how many or what will be the breaking point. This is likely one of the few aces Mazin and Druckmann would like to keep up their sleeve as long as possible, since most of the viewership for the show probably already knows the major beats of the story.
But therein lies the question too. Will they cut off at that midpoint of the game, and have Abby play a very minor role at the beginning of the season, or will they play with the game’s structure and push Abby forward as one of two leads, along with Ellie? This, of course, assumes that the storyline will mostly remain the same.
These are very intriguing questions that will surely generate a ton of debate in the coming months. Let us know your thoughts on our social media!
The Last of Us season 2 is currently in pre-production. Mazin, in that interview with Josh Horowitz, said that the whole process has been happening in parallel for many months, long before the strikes. While he’s writing and developing the story with Neil Druckmann, the casting department is watching audition tapes by giving the actresses scenes from the video game, and the production designers are working on the sets and also scouting for filming locations.
Mazin had turned in the first draft of the first episode to the network right before midnight the day the writers were to go on strike. But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t working on the other scripts simultaneously. Now that he’s been back to work for a month and a half, he’s likely completed more episodes. They also had the full story broken down, so they really knew what they were doing, when, and how.
According to ProductionList.com, filming would start on January 7, 2024, in Vancouver. That seems odd soon, even considering the early 2024 production start that’s been circulating the media for a few weeks, and it’s double weird because it’s a Sunday. So don’t invest too much hope in that, but be on the lookout for more casting announcements coming soon, including another big role in season 2, Dina.
Let us know your thoughts on Kaitlyn Dever possibly joining The Last of Us season 2 as Abby on our social media! How do you think Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin will adapt the story? Who’s your casting choice for Dina? Talk to us!