The Last of Us: Who plays Ellie’s potential love interest Riley? All you need to know about Storm Reid

Storm Reid pictured wearing a suit top with a black bra underneath, in front of a grey background at the Los Angeles Premiere of The Last of Us

Post-apocalyptic HBO series The Last of Us has quickly captured the hearts of a dedicated audience, with fans praising its faithful adaptation of the video game and its gay sub-plot.

The TV adaptation of the 2013 video game takes place in a dystopian United States, ravaged by a fungal infection known as cordyceps, which turns humans into aggressive creatures known as “Infected”.

The Mandalorian star Pedro Pascal plays Joel, a smuggler who has survived a traumatic past and has the task of transporting young Ellie (Bella Ramsey) across the country.

The show, now approaching its seventh episode, has teased LGBTQ+ love interests for Ellie, with series two likely to explore a relationship with fellow survivor Dina, as seen in The Last of Us Part II game, and the current series potentially pairing the teenager with newcomer Riley (Storm Reid). 

Ramsay has hinted at an LGBTQ+ storylines by sticking two fingers up to right-wing commentators, saying their opposition to queer plot lines “doesn’t make me afraid”. 

In an interview with GQ, she explained that she was “not… anxious” about any pushback to LGBTQ+ stories, and that homophobes should simply “get used to it”. 

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She said: “If you don’t want to watch the show because it has gay storylines, because it has a trans character, that’s on you, and you’re missing out. It isn’t gonna make me afraid. I think that comes from a place of defiance.” 

As viewers look forward to Ellie and Riley’s potentially romantic storyline, here’s everything we know so far about the new character.

Who is Storm Reid, who plays Riley, on The Last of Us?

Storm Reid is an American actor, best known for her roles in Euphoria, A Wrinkle in Time and 2021’s The Suicide Squad.

Although she featured heavily in the trailer for the show’s seventh episode, it’s not clear yet how large her role will be. 

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, the 19-year-old star enthused that sharing a screen with Ramsey was one of the best parts of being in the hit show.

“She’s absolutely brilliant, and I can’t wait to see our episode… it was so much fun to film, and it was heartbreakingly beautiful,” she said. 

“I just can’t wait to see it all come together, and I’m excited for the show and the universe as a whole. 

“I didn’t play the video games, but I am definitely going to tune in to watch every episode. I’m so invested as a fan now.”

What do we know about Riley?

While Riley did not appear in the original 2013 game, she did appear in spin-off material, quickly becoming a fan favourite. 

Riley was introduced in the comic book series The Last of Us: American Dreams, and featured in the 2014 expansion game The Last of Us: Left Behind. She is described as an “orphaned girl, growing up in a post-apocalyptic Boston”. 

The character, who gets involved with a group of activists known as the Fireflies, has been described as a close friend to Ellie, and a potential love interest.

Riley’s storyline may not have been revealed yet, but Reid told CinemaBlend that she thinks “people are going to be heartbroken when they watch our episode”. So, be prepared for possible tragedy.

Will there be a The Last of Us series two?

As The Last of Us comes to an end soon – HBO has confirmed that the first series will consist of nine episodes – fans will be happy to know that a second series has already been given the go-ahead. 

Executive producer, Neil Druckmann, said of the renewal: “I’m humbled, honoured and frankly overwhelmed that so many people have tuned in and connected with our retelling of Joel and Ellie’s journey.

“The collaboration with Craig Mazin, our incredible cast and crew, and HBO exceeded my already-high expectations. Now we have the absolute pleasure of being able to do it again with season two!”

Given that the show has been praised for its faithfulness to its source material, viewers have a few hints as to the plot of the second series, which, in the video game, is set in a settlement in Jackson, Wyoming, some years after the events of the first.

Viewers are optimistic that series two will contain a lesbian plot line because in the video game sequel, Ellie begins a relationship with Dina.

Ellie, however, is not the only LGBTQ+ character likely to appear in the new season, with trans teen character Lev possibly making an appearance.

In the video games, Lev is voiced by trans actor Ian Alexander, who is very keen to reprise the role in the live-action series. 

“My fingers are crossed,” Alexander told Insider.

The Last of Us continues on Mondays on Sky Atlantic.