"Surprise!"

To celebrate Outbreak Day (or The Last of Us Day, as it seems to have been rebranded) on September 26, HBO finally unveiled the first trailer for its eagerly anticipated The Last of Us series. The clip, which you can watch above, boasts plenty of characters fans of the video games will recognize, from obvious ones like Joel and Ellie, to Tess, Tommy, and Marlene – but there’s a new original snuck in there, too, and she’s played by Melanie Lynskey.

Viewers familiar with the Naughty Dog source material took to social media to speculate over the Yellowjackets star was playing as soon as the video dropped. Fortunately, it didn’t take long for Entertainment Weekly journo Nick A. Romano (opens in new tab) to confirm that she’ll be seen as Kathleen, “the ruthless leader of a revolution movement in Kansas City”. It had previously been revealed that Missouri will replace Pittsburgh in the small screen adaptation.

While it’s far from certain, the description hints that Kathleen could potentially be an important member of the Fireflies, a group of rebels who’ll stop at nothing to create a vaccine for the virus that’s turning humans into grotesque monsters. We already know the organization will be included in the show due to the inclusion of Fireflies commander Marlene, who will once again be brought to life by voice actor Merle Dandridge – so either way, our live-action Joel and Ellie (played by Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey here) will run into them.

That said, the location suggests Kathleen might just as easily be a Hunter, rogue Fireflies with violent reputations. In the games, Joel and Ellie meet the hostile survivors in Pittsburgh, so this outcome is perhaps the more likely of the two.

Teasing her involvement, Lynskey shared the promo (opens in new tab) shortly after it landed online alongside the caption, “Surprise!”. In a follow-up tweet, she wrote: “Also, WOW, how beautiful and scary does this show look?”

Elsewhere, the post-apocalyptic drama will star Elaine Miles, Lamar Johnson, Graham Greene, Anna Torv, Murray Barlett, Nico Parker, Keivonn Woodard, Storm Reid, Jeffrey Pierce, Gabriel Luna, and Nick Offerman.

The Last of Us is set to premiere on HBO and HBO Max in the US and Sky and NOW in the UK in 2023. As soon as we learn of an official release date, we’ll let you know. While we wait, check out our guide to the most exciting new TV shows coming our way in 2022 and beyond.

Amy West

I am an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things TV and film across our Total Film and SFX sections. Elsewhere, my words have been published by the likes of Digital Spy, SciFiNow, PinkNews, FANDOM, Radio Times, and Total Film magazine.

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