Warning: This article contains major spoilers for the ending of The Last of Us.
The Last of Us Part II trailer just dropped and it introduces us to an aged up Ellie whose body has taken a toll over these few years in between The Last of Us and the sequel. We see that she’s gotten some new scars, and we get a look at her shaking hands as she plays the guitar. Joel is seen in the trailer and the two seem to still be on good terms as he refers to her as “kiddo”. Based on that, let’s take a look at some possibilities that this new game might have in store for us.
The Last of Us II panel at PSX has confirmed that Ellie is 19 years old so she might be acting a bit more impulsive than she should be. Most 19 year olds tend to be impulsive, whether they grew up in the apocalypse or not. Since this game focuses around the hate that Ellie has in her heart and her need for revenge, we can guess that a group of people has wronged her or someone close to her. So, the million dollar question remains. What has caused Ellie to need to “kill every last one of them”? We probably won’t know more about the story until closer to the game’s release. A couple of theories have been floating around, but these are mostly speculation.
The biggest obstacle that comes from making any types of guesses in regard to the story is the ending of the first game. It is ambiguous if Ellie knows about Joel’s lie at the end of the last game. If she doesn’t know, then there is a possibility that her motivations for revenge might be clouded since Joel has misled her greatly when he withheld the truth. Since the trailer shows the Firefly symbol spray painted on the Stop sign, it is proof that they are still alive and functioning. The Fireflies might be after Joel since he killed Marlene and enough time has passed for them to regain their strength and become a threat once again. If Joel is being hunted by the Fireflies, then Ellie would naturally want to fight them. That is, if she doesn’t know about what really happened in the hospital last game. She might be angry at Joel when or if she finds out what he did and might end up siding with the Fireflies and fulfill her promise to make a vaccine that can stop the infections.
There is a popular theory out right now that Joel is dead and Ellie was just projecting him in the trailer. The trailer only shows Joel as a shadow and they never show his face. This could mean either that the Fireflies succeeded in their revenge on Joel, or he might have been killed by someone else. If Joel is dead, most likely it was the Fireflies who would have killed him since they have the motive and this idea is strengthened by the Firefly symbol shown in the trailer. This makes a lot of sense for why Ellie is so intent on getting revenge. She sees Joel as a father figure and seeing him killed would understandably cause her to want to kill everyone on her path to revenge. With Ellie consumed by the notion of revenge, perhaps calling her “Kiddo” is the most appropriate thing after all.
If Ellie does know that Joel has lied to her and he is still alive, then there are a couple of other reasons why she may want revenge. The game last left off with the pair looking over at Tommy’s dam, hopeful that they would be able to be carve a life out for themselves there. The dam has been attacked before by hunters before so it could be possible that it became compromised in The Last of Us Part II. Maybe Tommy or Maria were killed in an attack, and she wants revenge for them. It is possible that instead of hunters, the Fireflies might have attacked the dam. They would know where to find Tommy since he used to be a Firefly himself.
It is still too early to tell what the story will be about, but fans know that The Last of Us Part II is going to be a story that will be intense and likely emotionally draining. No matter what is in store for our two heroes, us fans will be with them every step of the way.