Joel Could Be Dead in ‘The Last of Us’ Part 2

The debut The Last of Us Part 2 trailer dropped during PlayStation Experience this past weekend, and while it stars both Ellie and Joel there’s a prevailing theory among fans of the first game that the sequel will see Joel meet his unfortunate demise.

There’s something notably off about Joel’s reveal in the trailer, with him appearing from out of a doorway shrouded in a glowing white light, and with his face never fully revealed to viewers. His solitary line of dialogue also raises questions, with him asking Ellie: “What are you doing, kiddo? You really gonna go through with this?” Surely if Joel was accompanying her in the sequel, he’d have more of an active involvement in whatever “this” is?

This has led to the theory that Joel has either perished before the events of The Last of Us Part 2, with it taking place a few years after the events of the first game, or that we’ll see him die in the opening moments of the sequel, with him now only appearing to Ellie as part of her subconscious as she becomes increasingly unhinged. This suggestion has been backed up by comments from Naughty Dog, who have stated that while the first game was “about love,” the sequel will instead focus upon “hate” and will see Ellie become the main protagonist. Though this doesn’t exactly clarify that Joel will not be playable in The Last of Us Part 2 whatsoever — even though he was the protagonist of the first game, Ellie was still a playable character in its third act — it does suggest that something has changed in their relationship and that Ellie has now become the leader rather than the young follower.

Though this may seem a little too far-fetched, it’s also possible that Joel’s potential death is Ellie’s doing. Even though the pair shared a relationship similar to that of a father/daughter, the first game concluded with Joel effectively dooming the entire human race by preventing Ellie from being used for medical testing, with her having displayed an immunity to the virus that has forced humanity to the brink of extinction. Ellie would have been killed during this process, something which Joel selfishly wouldn’t allow after watching his daughter die in his arms. Perhaps Ellie came to the realization that Joel had doomed the world with his actions, and reacted violently as a result? She certainly looks like she’s been through a lot since the events of The Last of Us, and her having felt compelled to murder Joel would certainly tie in to the game’s theme of hate.

At the moment this is all speculation, but many are already convinced that Joel is doomed and we’d be inclined to believe them. Check out the first The Last of Us Part 2 trailer and judge for yourself: