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Does Joel Die in The Last of Us?

Joel Miller, played by Pedro Pascal,  is one of the main characters in HBO’s The Last of Us. At the beginning of the story, Joel works in construction with his brother Tommy (Gabriel Luna) and lives with his daughter Sarah (Nico Parker). The show offers its protagonist that moment of happiness before everything around him goes to hell. The outbreak begins in the United States on Joel’s birthday, and before day one is over, he loses Sarah. Twenty years pass and the story begins.

Once again, most of the human population has been decimated and civilization has collapsed. Joel, who lives in Boston with his smuggling partner Tess (Anna Torv), distrusts the  Federal Disaster Response Agency, or FEDRA, one of the last remaining components of the US government and anti-establishment organization is known as the Fireflies. Joel and Tess meet a young woman named Ellie (Bella Ramsey) and discover that she is immune to the fungus,  making her the last hope for humanity. Tasked with getting Ellie beyond the quarantine zone to the Fireflies scientists, Joel faces life-or-death situation after situation. If you’re wondering if it survives to the end, we’ve got you covered. PLAY AND PREVENT SPOILERS.

Does Joel Die?

Joel is a playable protagonist in the 2013  video game of the same name that inspired the HBO show. Because of this, he appears to have almost superhuman abilities in the game. That’s not the case on the show. There, Joel has bad knees and partial hearing loss. However, the overall narrative of the show seems to follow that of the game. Joel doesn’t die in the first game. He manages to get Ellie to Salt Lake City, although he loses Tess along the way. Ellie almost drowns and loses consciousness before a Fireflies patrol party finds her. Joel and Ellie meet up with Marlene, the woman  Joel hired to keep Ellie safe. However, to Joel’s horror, he discovers that  Ellie must die in order to save humanity.

The Firefly scientists want to make a vaccine from Ellie’s infected brain, which they intend to surgically remove. Joel refuses to lose Ellie like he lost Sarah,  kills the surgeon in charge of performing the surgery, and tries to run away with Ellie. When Marlene confronts him, Joel kills her to protect Ellie. As they leave town in a truck, Ellie regains consciousness. Joel assures him that the fireflies found other humans with similar immunity, but they couldn’t make a vaccine and abandoned the project. When they arrive at Tommy’s house, Ellie doesn’t quite believe him, but he swears he’s telling the truth. The sequel The Last of Us Part II was released in 2020. In one of the first scenes, Joel tells Tommy the truth about what happened in Salt Lake City.

It is later revealed that about two years later, Ellie would travel to Salt Lake City and find out the truth. This would strain her relationship with Joel. At the beginning of the game, the narration jumps four years after the conversation between Joel and Tommy. Joel and Ellie now live in Jackson, Wyoming, and Ellie has a friend named Dina. The Miller brothers are under attack by a group called the Washington Liberation Front (WLF). Their leader Abby is the daughter of murdered surgeon Joel in Salt Lake City. Abby proposes to Ellie that Joel be killed, thereby setting the storyline of the sequel in motion.

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