The Last of Us is a turbulent and dark story about Joel and Ellie, but there's no denying that there are still some little unknown facts about these two characters. With that being said, there are two crucial things that not many casual fans know about: The Last of Us: One Night Live musical, and The Last of Us: American Dreams, a four-issue comic book, that detail so many things about the life of Joel and Ellie before crossing each other in 2013's Last of Us.
The following list contains ten facts about Joel and Ellie before meeting each other, based on the musical night performance and the comic book. Please be aware that there will be major spoilers ahead!
10 Joel Had A Post-Outbreak Girlfriend Named Esther
You've read that right. On One Night Live, Esther was mentioned briefly as Joel post-outbreak love interest. It was Tommy who set them up, and he even wanted them to tie the knot. The two were in some kind of remote relationship where Joel would visit her place a couple of months away from Jackson, and according to him, she had a good sense of humor. Although this did happen after meeting Ellie, it's still an interesting fact to know. If you're wondering why Esther never made a physical appearance, the next entry will tell you why.
9 Joel's Esther Was Supposed To Make An Appearance In Part II
According to the original script, after that scene where Tommy taught Ellie how to use a sniper rifle, the two and Joel were about to visit Esther's place to find out that she's already bitten. However, this scene was removed from the final product. According to an interview with co-writers Halley Gross and Neil Druckmann on The Washington Post, Naughty Dog felt like they didn't have much time to build Esther's character to make the players sympathize with her. "The reason that got scrapped was because we just didn't have time to establish Esther," Gross said. "Even up until toward the end of the game, we had like a love letter from Esther in his house."
8 Ellie's Mother Was Bitten A Day Before Giving Birth To Her
Ellie's mother, Anna, was bitten a day before giving birth to her. Usually, the infection takes two days before adequately reacting, giving her a chance to write Ellie a letter, as seen in the Winter chapter on 2013 Last of Us. She was a good friend with Marlene before the outbreak, too, and the Firefly Queen promised her to take care of Ellie before eventually putting her in a military school. This could positively connect the puzzle of Ellie's confusing immunity. If the reason for it is because she was born while her mother was reacting to the infection, this might sound evil, but the Fireflies could just attempt to replicate the situation to try creating a vaccine.
7 Ellie Was Bullied As A Kid
Being the new kid in a military school, young Ellie used to get bullied and picked on by the other kids. On the American Dreams comic book, shortly after arriving at the Boston Quarantine Zone, she was caught in a brawl against boys who tried to steal her Walkman and other belongings. Later on, she was saved by another girl, who we know then as Riley Abel, which leads us to the next point.
6 How Ellie & Riley's Friendship Started
Ellie and Riley did not always have the best time together. Yes, she might have saved her, but Riley sneakily stole Ellie's Walkman without her knowing in return. However, one night, Ellie woke up at midnight from hearing loud footsteps outside of her room.
Then, Ellie followed the steps and found Riley, who hadn't told her real-name at that time, trying to escape the building. Ellie asked Riley to stop calling her 'a new kid,' and the two later arrived at Liberty Gardens, the abandoned mall, and the Left Behind DLC pack's center point.
5 Ellie Was Always A Rebellious Kid
With that being said, Ellie has always been a rebellious kind, those teaming up with Riley on a beautiful friendship was like match-made-in-heaven. On American Dreams, right after arriving at the Boston QZ, a soldier who knew Ellie warned her to refrain from pulling 'one of those old stunts' and that he 'can no longer look after (her).' That means, Ellie probably saw a father figure to look up to in that soldier before Joel, but her disobedient nature kept getting her into troubles after troubles.
4 Grieving from the Loss of His Daughter
Witnessing how chaotic the world had been after losing his precious daughter, Joel found himself in an endless streak of depression. Sometimes, he even contemplated suicide, feeling that he couldn't find 'something to fight for.' This is proven by the conversation on the Pittsburgh chapter from The Last of Us, and when they met a couple that 'took an easy way out' on Part II.
3 ...Then, He Turned 180 Degrees From A Loving Father Into A Murderous Hunter
But then, Joel eventually found his reason to. Joel turned drastically from a loving father into a ruthless, pitiful, relentless, and callous hunter. Together with Tommy, the two Miller brothers would loot unarmed and innocent survivors for a few supplies, and sometimes, they didn't even show any hesitation of killing them.
At the end of the day, Tommy was fed up with Joel's philosophy of survival; hence, he left his brother to join Marlene at the Fireflies, but he left the militia group at some point later.
2 How Ellie Got Her Iconic Switchblade
On American Dreams, Ellie met Marlene for the first time, and the Firefly Queen told her that she was a friend of Anna, Ellie's mother, back in the days. Marlene gave Ellie her mother's switchblade, and she would keep it for years to come and become her signature weapon. When Ellie first met Joel and Tess, she thought that they hurt Marlene and tried to attack Joel using the switchblade.
1 If Theories Are Right, Ellie & Joel Could Possibly Have Passed Through Each Other Before The Last of Us
Ellie spent most of her youth at the Boston QZ while Joel was out there scavenging, smuggling, and killing people. Joel might be a Texan native, but after the Outbreak, he and Tommy smuggled their way to the Massachusetts capital, while Ellie was always a Boston native. If the fans' theory about this was right, then the two might have crossed each other for being in the same city before meeting in The Last of Us.
NetEase called it a bug, but others called it a feature.