Mahershala Ali was almost cast as Joel in The Last of Us

Joel The Last of Us Mahershala Ali

The Last of Us, a hit video game turned TV series, has won the hearts of viewers and fans of the franchise alike for its faithful adaptation of the source material. 

The show depicts a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by a pandemic caused by a fungus/parasite that attacks the brain of humans, making them aggressive. Joel, a smuggler, is tasked by a military militia to escort young Ellie to a safe quarantine area as her blood could contain the secret to a cure. Pedro Pascal, known for his role in The Mandalorian, was cast as Joel, while Bella Ramsey plays Ellie. 

Mahershala Ali almost cast as Joel

However, it has been revealed that Mahershala Ali, an upcoming Marvel star and Academy Award winner, was also considered for the role of Joel. Rumors and news of Ali’s involvement emerged after the show’s announcement in 2020 but disappeared once Pascal was confirmed. 

Recently, actor Jeffrey Pierce, who plays Perry in the series (and Tommy in the video games), revealed in an interview that it was apparent in the early stages of production that he would not be reprising his role as Tommy and that they also cast another familiar face to play Joel.

I think initially they had talked to Mahershala Ali about playing Joel, which is an obvious cue that I’m not gonna play Tommy, And when they cast Pedro, I knew like, yeah, that was certainly not going to happen regardless, I’m older than Pedro Pascal. So I was not harboring any illusions about that, for sure.

The Last of Us Season 2

With The Last of Us receiving a second season renewal due to its awe-inspiring first season, we can see more of Joel’s character development as the plot delves into the events of The Last of Us Part II game series.