In The Last of Us, it was never confirmed whether Ellie’s mom, Anna, was a Firefly before she died, but she was a nurse and was friends with Marlene, who is a Firefly.
Many details are still unknown about Ellie’s backstory, but the season one finale has revealed some new details.
While this episode did not exactly confirm whether Anna (Ellie’s mom) was a Firefly before she died or not, it did reveal that she was close friends with the Firefly leader, Marlene.
The mystery of Ellie’s backstory in The Last of Us
Whether you were a fan of the original Naughty Dog game or you have become a fan of the franchise now that HBO has produced The Last of Us, there is no denying that the mystery surrounding Ellie’s backstory is a central part of the plot.
The games never really explored the details of Ellie’s past, how she got her immunity, what happened to her parents, or where she was before the infected started taking over.
However, it has always been evident that many of the answers to these questions most likely lie in what happened early on in Ellie’s life.
The Last of Us: Was Ellie’s mom a Firefly?
The HBO adaptation of Ellie’s story has been fairly faithful to the original source material throughout the show’s first season, but the last episode of the season has introduced some new details about Ellie’s past, which fans have never had access to before.
This episode, titled “Look for the Light” explore scenes from Ellie’s birth and early life in much more detail than the games ever did, in a series of flashbacks that follow after Ellie and Joel are kidnapped by the Fireflies.
The Fireflies are introduced as an anti-FEDRA militia group early in the show but is also the group that is attempting to manufacture a vaccine to try and save what is left of humanity from the highly infectious cordyceps virus.
In one of these flashbacks, it is revealed that Ellie’s mom, Anna, was lifelong best friends with Marlene, who Joel refers to as “queen Firefly.” Marlene has become the leader of the group since Anna passed away shortly after Ellie’s birth.
Although it was established in these flashbacks and within the narrative of the original game that Anna was a nurse before Ellie was born, and she clearly had ties to Marlene, it is never officially confirmed that Anna was a Firefly member.
If Anna was not a Firefly, this would also further explain why Marlene chose to leave Ellie at a FEDRA orphanage instead of choosing to raise her amongst the Fireflies.
Why was Ellie not raised by the Fireflies?
The flashbacks in this episode of The Last of Us revealed a lot about Marlene and Anna’s friendship and it also showed viewers that Marlene has always been driven.
When Anna asks Marlene to take Ellie after she is born and just before the infection overcomes Anna, she asks her to place Ellie where she will be safe instead of asking her to look after Ellie.
It likely that Marlene chose to drop Ellie off at a FEDRA facility, because she knew that they would be able to keep Ellie safe, or at least safer than she would have been if she stayed with the Fireflies.
What was the Fireflies’ mission?
It is clear from the very first episode of the show that the Fireflies are primarily focused on overthrowing the FEDRA Quarantine Zones, which were established to contain civilians, so that they can restore the way that the government operated pre-pandemic.
However, the Fireflies’ doctors were also convinced that they could use Ellie’s immunity to create a vaccine that would help to save many of the civilians that were left.
However, these missions likely died along with Marlene and the other Fireflies who Joel killed in an effort to save Ellie’s life.
Was Anna’s backstory invented specifically for the show?
While Anna’s much more in-depth backstory as it is depicted in the show is its first drastic departure from the original game, this part of the story was not created specifically for the show.
In reality, the creators of the original games and now, co-creators of the HBO show, Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin had already planned Anna’s backstory well in advance.
Druckmann revealed that he had originally planned to include Anna’s backstory in the The Last of Us franchise as an animated short after the first game was released.
However, plans for this animated short and the subsequent plans to include Anna’s backstory as a DLC eventually all fell flat and as a result, Druckmann decided that the show should include these details instead.