This story contains SPOILERS for The Last of Us season 1’s finale.
The final season one episode of HBO’s The Last of Us saw quite a few actors from the video games appear, including a surprise cameo. While we knew that Merle Dandridge would be reprising her role as Marlene and Ashley Johnson would be playing Anna, the fact that Laura Bailey would be appearing as a nurse was kept hidden from the audience until the ending credits rolled around.
Bailey, a veteran voice actor with many notable credits to her name, previously provided the voice and motion capture performance for Abby, a central character introduced in The Last of Us Part II. In addition, Bailey was also a founding member of Critical Role alongside Johnson, currently playing Campaign 1 character Vex’ahlia in The Legend of Vox Machina. In addition, her Campaign 2 character, Jester Lavorre, is set to appear in a show about the Mighty Nein as well.
During a virtual press conference between Entertainment Weekly and the show’s creators, co-showrunner Craig Mazin talked about getting Bailey to appear on the show. “She was like, ‘Come on! Lemme do it. Lemme be in the show. We were like, ‘We love you. Of course!'” Mazin refrained from saying which of the nurses was Bailey, but the actor was more specific over Twitter.
Bailey’s First And Future (?) Appearance On The Show
The hospital scene, one of the most iconic moments from the game, was shot at an actual hospital, though one that has since been abandoned in Grand Prairie, Alberta, in Canada. According to Mazin, Bailey cried looking at the sets. “It’s a common thing that the people that had come from Neil’s game world felt like they were stepping into this impossible, like the most amazing VR adaptation of The Last of Us ever.” Dandridge herself had cried herself the first time she put on Marlene’s wig.
“[Bailey] sent me this very, very funny picture that she took the day that they shot that scene. Because again, for those that know who she plays in the next story, it’s very much related to that operating room. So maybe when the season’s over, I’ll tweet that picture up for her,” said game creator and co-showrunner Neil Druckmann.
During the same interview, neither Mazin or Druckman ruled out Bailey appearing again in the show’s future. “I mean, she’s got a mask on, so we can make her anything we want in the next season,” Mazin said. If that comes to pass, it’ll likely be a while before we find out who her character is, but people can still speculate. For instance, Bailey’s nurse could be Abby’s mom, similar to how Johnson played the mother to her game character on the show.