The Last of Us on HBO Rumored to Have Offered Mahershala Ali Lead Role as Joel

HBO's TV adaptation The Last of Us has reportedly offered actor Mahershala Ali the lead role of Joel. Should the rumor play out, this would be the first casting announcement of any kind to be attached to the HBO production since the show was greenlit back in November 2020. Whether it's accurate or not, the casting rumor still leaves several other key characters without talent attached to them unless more announcements or rumors come to light.

The latest on the potential casting choice for HBO's The Last of Us comes from The Illuminerdi who said that Ali had been offered the role of Joel. While no other actors were mentioned in the rumor, it was said that the role is "Ali's for the taking" if he wants it which would suggest the production team is plenty confident enough in him taking the role, assuming the rumor is accurate.

Fans of The Last of Us have had no shortage of ideas regarding who should play the main roles of Joel and Ellie as well as supporting characters like Tommy. Despite him rumored to have been offered the role, Ali's name was not one that frequently showed up in these discussions since most people suggested white actors for the role given that Joel himself is white. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has been a common suggestion for the role given his performance in works like Game of Thrones and his similar appearance when compared to the game's version of Joel.

Ali is best known for his works on TV shows and moves like True Detective, Green Book, Luke Cage, Moonlight, and House of Cards. The actor has one two Oscar Awards, one in 2017 for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Moonlight and another in 2019 for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Green Book.

For those keeping up with more recent news regarding Ali's works, you'll know it was announced in July 2019 that he'd take on the role of Blade in Marvel's upcoming reboot. The new film is supposedly called Blade, the Vampire Slayer, though it does not yet have a release date yet.


It's been discussed how the HBO series would expand on the game's story and evolve it beyond what players saw solely from the game, though the extent of how things will change from game to TV is unknown.

HBO's The Last of Us does not yet have a release date.