Bella Ramsey reveals why Ellie's queerness in The Last of Us is so important
7 February 2023, 16:38 | Updated: 27 February 2023, 18:16
"It was something I really loved about her from the beginning. And I loved the way that it was woven into the story again without it being a big deal."
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Bella Ramsey has opened up about the importance of depicting LGBTQ+ characters and relationships in The Last of Us, and how the show will explore Ellie's sexuality.
Until episode 7 (Feb 26), the show had not overtly referenced or mentioned Ellie's sexuality, but the topic was briefly hinted at in conversations with Tess in episode 2. In episode 7, viewers learned that Ellie's first love and first kiss was her best friend Riley. In the games, Ellie is lesbian and her storyline was groundbreaking for LGBTQ+ representation in gaming at the time.
Speaking about Ellie's "queerness" with Josh Horowitz on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Bella (who is gender fluid) has explained how important it is for the show to retain that representation.
WARNING: Minor spoilers ahead for Ellie's storyline in The Last of Us game!
Discussing whether or not Ellie's queerness was important to Bella as an aspect of the character, Bella explained: "Yeah, I mean, you will see there's an episode that focuses a lot of Ellie and Riley, her best friend and more than that."
"Ellie's queerness is important. It was something I really loved about her from the beginning. And I loved the way that it was woven into the story again without it being a big deal. It's not really talked about, it just exists and that's what I really love about it the most," Bella continued.
"It's a super important aspect. I'm so happy I got to play her 'cause I know she's so much to so many people and it's an honor for me to embody that."
Riley, played by Euphoria's Storm Reid, was introduced in episode 7. Across the episode, we see how Ellie and Riley's relationship progresses from best friends to romantic interests during a trip to an abandoned mall.
After sharing their first kiss, however, they're soon attacked and bitten by one of the Infected. Seeing as Ellie is immune and Riley is not, their relationship is cut tragically short but it still has a profound effect on Ellie and her feelings throughout the years to come.
Several parts of the episode are also shot-for-shot matches with the Left Behind DLC gameplay scenes, too. You can watch the side-by-side comparison of Ellie and Riley's kiss here.
READ MORE: Does Ellie kill Riley in The Last of Us? Here's why we don't see Riley's death
Elsewhere in the interview, Bella also discussed the importance of depicting LGBTQ+ characters and romantic relationships in a post-apocalyptic world.
"It's not like all the gay people got blown up and it doesn't exist anymore, you know what I mean?" Bella said, discussing Bill and Frank's love story in episode 3. "I think it's really important. I just like the fact, from reading the script, obviously, I've not seen it yet, that it's a relationship and it happens to be between two men. And that love story is so beautiful and heartbreaking."
"I think it's just really nice and important that people can feel represented, and the hope is that it impacts people who aren't in the community just as much as it impacts people who are."
Read more The Last of Us news here:
- The Last of Us fans are calling for Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett to win Emmys
- Bill and Frank’s gay love story in The Last of Us game is completely different
- The Last of Us creators explain why Tess' death was changed for the show
- The Last of Us fans are screaming and crying over Nico Parker's "perfect" performance
- Nick Offerman almost turned down The Last Of Us until wife Megan Mullally made him do it