This week’s episode of The Last of Us will introduce a new character that fans of the game series and comic books may be excited to see. But who is Riley and where have we seen the actress who plays her before?
Who is Riley on The Last of Us?
Riley Abel will appear in the show’s 7th episode as a survivor who befriends Ellie after the events of Episode 6. The character of Riley first appeared in the four-part miniseries comic book called The Last of Us: American Dreams. That story explained the events of Ellie’s life before the game’s plot.
We saw Riley again in the game during a DLC entitled The Last of Us: Left Behind, which is also the name of the show’s 7th episode.
“Ellie returns as new light is shed on her relationship with Riley, her best friend from the military boarding school they both grew up in,” the DLC’s description explains. “After inexplicably disappearing for weeks, Riley reemerges in Ellie’s life with a surprising revelation. The two sneak out of their school for the last time, leading to a series of events that will forever change both of their lives.”
This appears to be the main plot of Episode 7 as well, in a timeline shift that gives us more on Ellie’s life before meeting Joel. We got to see a sneak peek at the episode’s plot at the end of Episode 6, but it gave us little to work with. Ellie and Riley appear to be friendly and hanging out at some sort of amusement park, which confused many people since we haven’t seen this other character before. How did they get so suddenly friendly toward each other? The time shift based on the DLC would explain it.
And if you remember back to Episode 1, we did hear a brief mention of Riley from Marlene (Merle Dandridge) during that episode.
Who is Storm Reid?
So who is the actress who plays Riley? This new character is played by Storm Reid, a 19-year-old actress who started her career at 10 in the Academy-Award-winning movie 12 Years a Slave. She’s also starred in 2015’s White Water, 2018’s A Wrinkle in Time, and several other smaller roles.
In an interview with CinemaBlend, Storm talked about her excitement for the role. “It means the world. I am so fortunate and so grateful to be a part of this universe now, to be able to embody Riley, a character that people love, especially the union of Ellie and Riley.”
But those who played the games know that Riley’s story isn’t all joyous. “I think people are going to be heartbroken when they watch our episode,” Reid added. “But it’s so beautiful, and Bella is wildly talented. To be able to just work with that whole team, with Neil, with Craig, everybody is just amazing. So I’m so grateful.”
Catch the latest episode of The Last of Us tonight at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max.