Shannon Woodward, the actress who originally portrayed Dina in The Last of Us Part 2, has responded to the live-action casting of Isabela Merced. In addition to a tweet of general support for Merced, Woodward responded to a fan who wondered why she didn’t reprise her role in the sequel. In short, it’s because of her age.
“Bcs [sic] I am… Much older lol,” Woodward’s second tweet reads. Much like Ellie’s original actress, Ashley Johnson, Woodward is about 20 years older than the character she portrays. Dina’s character model is actually based on an entirely different person, Cascina Caradonna, who fits the age range of the character. That said, Joel’s video game actor Troy Baker, along with Johnson, received a cameo role in the show, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Woodward showed up in some other way, even briefly.
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This week, HBO has been on a string of cast reveals for season two of their Emmy-winning adaptation of The Last of Us. Today, the live-action roster grows even more, adding Isabela Merced as Dina.
Merced is best known for her role as Dora in the live-action feature Dora and the Lost City of Gold, but gamers might also know her as the voice of Keyblade Master Ava in Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover. She’s also set to appear in both the Marvel and DC universes as Anya Corazon in Madame Web and Hawkgirl in Superman Legacy. In her upcoming role as Dina, we expect her to be spending a lot of time on screen with Bella Ramsey’s Ellie, but we’ll leave it at that for spoiler reasons.
This news follows the casting of Kaitlyn Dever as Abby and Young Mazino as Jesse, two other characters in the next part of Naughty Dog’s critically acclaimed sequel. While we’ve yet to see the show’s second season, it seems to be relatively faithful to the games, so we can expect these characters to carry some extreme importance in the next chapter of Ellie and Joel’s collective journey. In fact, Abby, Jesse, and Dina will all be playable in the upcoming roguelite mode included in The Last of Us Part II Remastered – check out our episode of New Gameplay Today to see the action for yourself. If you’re interested in playing the game before the new season comes out, check out our review for The Last of Us Part II here.