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The Last Of Us Star Gabriel Luna Details Key Tommy Moments You Don't See In The Video Game

When the long-awaited TV adaptation of the massively popular video game "The Last of Us" premieres on HBO and HBO Max Sunday, January 15, fans will finally get to see how their favorite scenes from the smash Naughty Dog-PlayStation release unfold. Better yet for fans, since the series consists of nine episodes, game creator Neil Druckmann — who serves as co-showrunner on the series with Emmy winning producer Craig Mazin — was able to add additional material that didn't make the game's final cut.

As such, TV viewers can expect more out of such key characters as Joel Miller (Pedro Pascal), Tommy Miller (Gabriel Luna), and Ellie Williams (Bella Ramsey) than they ever experienced in the video game.

Based on the 2013 video game, "The Last of Us" is set in a post-apocalyptic America that's been decimated by the Cordyceps brain infection, which spawned a virus that infected the brains of victims and turned them into zombie-like killers. At the heart of the story, Joel — who is tormented by a deep, personal loss 20 years before the outbreak — is tasked with smuggling Ellie out of a dangerous quarantine zone. Since Ellie is miraculously immune to the Cordyceps brain infection, the young teen may be the key to creating a vaccine to combat the virus.

Tommy, who is Joel's younger brother, is a pivotal character in "The Last of Us." And while the character already has an established fanbase, Luna revealed in a roundtable press event attended by Looper that fans can expect many more moments featuring the character not previously seen in the video game version of the tale.

The Last of Us will flesh out Tommy's backstory, Luna says

Since "The Last of Us" series adaptation is stretched out over nine episodes, it gave co-showrunners Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin the opportunity to fill out the backstories of some of the characters that weren't explored in the game. Tommy is one of them, and Gabriel Luna is naturally thrilled about it.

"The interesting thing about Tommy's journey and what we get to witness is we get to [learn] about who he is," Luna revealed. "In the game, you're thrust immediately into [the character being] in combat mode. But in our story, you get to see him healed; a healed person, an evolved person — somebody who's been in through war times and [was] thankfully blessed to come out [of it] unscathed physically."

Mentally, Tommy appears to be doing well, but there may be more to him than what meets the eye considering how long he's been living in a world of danger. "[He is] somebody who is obviously doing well with his reentry into society, with his coping of his trauma," Luna said. "And ... he has a playful spirit, a joking spirit, [and he is] a humorous person. Some of [that] may be a mechanism — a defense mechanism."

Calling on The Fireflies

Part of "The Last of Us" series storyline will include The Fireflies, an underground militia group that's rebelling against the brutal, totalitarian rule of the government as society crumbles to the ground amid the pandemic. Even though The Fireflies are seeking to make a vaccine to battle the Cordyceps virus, Tommy is conflicted with his association with the group over their heavy-handed ways.

Gabriel Luna teased that viewers will see a "cyclical thing" happening with Tommy, where he will "grow out of these dark places and angle towards the light."

"That's the beautiful resilience of the character ... that's what you know of him in his pursuits with The Fireflies, which is literally near the darkness, [where he is looking] for the light," Luna said during the roundtable. "He's called to the squad — the protectors — the people who will fight for what they believe in. But I think he also evolves past it again," Luna explained. He concluded by stating that Tommy knows when to fight and when to stop. The actor also touched on aspects of Tommy's character that go beyond being a fighter, declaring that the younger Miller knows when to start building and restoring.

HBO's "The Last of Us" premieres on Sunday, January 15, with new episodes debuting Sundays through March 12.