Nico Parker hits out at The Last of Us casting backlash ‘I don’t care’

The Last of Us: Official trailer for new HBO series

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HBO’s zombie thriller The Last of Us has finally arrived to bring Joel (played by Pedro Pascal) and Ellie’s (Bella Ramsey) tale of survival in a post-pandemic world to life. Adapted from the video games of the same name, the series kicked off with a bang by killing off fan-favourite Sarah (Nico Parker) before the series opener had finished. 

Sarah’s death will play a huge part throughout The Last of Us as it continues to haunt her father Joel.

Joel’s now living within an Orwellian society of survivors but is tasked with smuggling young rebel Ellie across the zombie-ravaged US. 

With the series having the benefit of already having a global fanbase thanks to the video game franchise, it’s no surprise the premiere has been watched by millions across the world. 

However, having such a loyal and vocal fanbase also has its downsides as the likes of Parker, Ramsey and Pascal were all met with a backlash after being cast in the leading roles.

Trolls online took aim at the casting of mixed-race actor Parker as Sarah given the character is white in the video game series. 

Hitting out at the fans who weren’t onboard with the diversity of the cast, however, Parker has insisted she “doesn’t care” when the hate “comes from a place where it’s just a disdain toward any kind of inclusivity”.

She said: “I can appreciate there’s one side of it where there are people for whom the game is incredibly important to them and they care very deeply about an adaptation of it.

“But when it comes from a place where it’s just a disdain toward any kind of inclusivity, is where I don’t care. 

“I don’t value that opinion and I don’t agree,” she added to Yahoo! Entertainment.

Parker also insisted that she hoped those involved in sending the hate “can look past it and still enjoy the show” before emphasising how “inclusivity is incredibly important”. 

“If young kids watch the show and feel they’re in any way represented through race or hair or anything, that’s 10 times more important than anyone who doesn’t like it because they don’t like to see different people on their screen,” she added.

Pascal was similarly dismayed by the backlash the cast has faced, also telling the publication: “Sorry. What is it about it, that characters aren’t cast exactly as they want them to be cast? You can’t make everybody happy.”

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Thankfully for the actors and other fans of the show, Pascal, Ramsey and Parker remained pivotal parts of the show and delivered on the franchise’s gutwrenching drama within its first episode.

So much so, a number of viewers on both sides of the Atlantic admitted they were left in tears by Sarah’s demise.

On Twitter, The Last of Us fans @naekkboo said: “Like, I got so attached to Sarah KNOWING what was gonna happen and still got hit with a ton of bricks as soon as joel picked her up from the car #TheLastOfUs.”

While @_mxsvn agreed: “Knew sarah’s death was coming but nothing could have prepared me for that scene omg i sobbed #TheLastOfUs.”

And this was echoed by @TRK6LUC who tweeted: “Me crying over sarah even though ive played last of us multiple times #TheLastOfUs.”

Elsewhere, @FatuaStorm praised: “That was an absolute fantastic adaptation, it was. #TheLastOfUs still got me crying about Sarah even 10 years later and the actors did amazing. Wonderful, 10/10 would recommend.” (Sic)

Parker is billed to reappear as Sarah in at least one more episode of The Last of Us according to IMDb, although the character’s presence will undoubtedly be felt throughout the entire series.

The Last of Us continues Sundays on HBO in the USA and Mondays on Sky Atlantic and NOW in the UK.

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