The Last of Us: Troy Baker on Giving James An Interesting Backstory

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There is little doubt that The Last of Us Episode 8 was all about Ellie but When We Are In Need also introduced some compelling new characters. In the latest episode of the HBO series, viewers got to meet James, a member of a cannibalistic group of survivors. In the original game, the NPC is just a random man who wants to harm Ellie but in the show, he is portrayed by Troy Baker who made sure the character got his own interesting backstory.

Troy Baker might be known for voicing Joel in the Naughty Dog game but in the TV series, he portrays James who he couldn't even remember from the original title when Neil Druckmann offered him the role (via GamesRadar).

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"Neil came to me and was like – I've been jokingly saying this all day – he said, 'Hey man, I got a role for you.' I'm like, 'Oh dude, thank you.' And I thought it was looking to be like a clicker or something. And he goes, 'I want you to play James.' And I went, 'Oh my God, thank you, man... Who's James again?'" he shared with a laugh before quickly adding that this shouldn't be a surprise.

Credit: HBO

"That's what this show is all about... we're gonna focus on Joel and Ellie – at the core of this story is about those two. This is a story about a love between a father and a daughter. But we have the opportunity without the encumbrances, if I may say, of what the game requires us to do, to explore other characters that either didn't exist in the game like we had with Kathleen and Perry, or do exist in the game, but in a different way like we do with James and David," Baker said.

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Baker then continued by sharing how The Last of Us has given minor characters to get their own story. For instance, he was able to work out James' origins.

"James wasn't born into this situation. This happened to him probably very early on as a teenager when he was maybe in law enforcement or he was gonna be a cop. He learned how to use a weapon, but he never thought it would be used for this. Which is why when we get to the moment where he'll shoot the horse to stop the girl, but he's not gonna shoot the girl, he can't bring himself to do it and it has nothing to do with David. His morality won't allow him to," he said.

"That's what this situation is doing: taking a good man and stripping away all the humanity that he's desperately clinging to. What's left is this shred of a human that ultimately will do the unconscionable," Baker concluded.

Troy Baker plays James in The Last of Us Episode 8 which is now streaming on HBO Max.

Related: The Last of Us Episode 8: Joel and Ellie Fight Off Something More Dangerous Than Clickers