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Villain Overview
You sacrifice the few to save the many.
~ Joel's philosophy on surviving.
If somehow the Lord gave a second chance at that moment...I would do it all over again.
~ Joel to Ellie on taking her from the Fireflies.

Joel Miller is the main protagonist and playable character in the videogame The Last of Us, he also appears as a minor protagonist in The Last of Us: Left Behind and as the tritagonist/posthumous character of Ellie’s storyline and the antagonist of Abby's storyline in The Last of Us Part II, and a supporting role in The Last of Us: Left Behind. Joel is a hardened survivor living and working as a hunter then a smuggler and arms dealer in a post-apocalyptic America. Even though Joel acts as one of the main protagonists in the game (and is willing to keep Ellie safe), he still has many traits of a villain, such as selfishness and capacity for extreme violence and brutal murder all in the name of survival.

He is voiced by Troy Baker, who also has voiced Schneizel el Britannia in Code Geass, Jin Kariya in Bleach, Kyle Rondart in Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, Kaguro in Kekkaishi, Gin in Case Closed, Frank Archer in Full Metal Alchemist, Greed in Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Biowulf and Van Kleiss in Generator Rex, Steeljaw in Transformers: Robots in Disguise, Kagan in BloodRayne 2, Hades in 2010's Clash of the Titans video game, Destroyer and Straga in Darksiders, Two-Face in the Arkham series, Delsin Rowe in Infamous: Second Son, The Joker in Arkham Origins, The Arkham Knight in Arkham Knight, Kai Leng in Mass Effect 3, Magni in God of War (2018), Pagan Min in Far Cry 4, Erron Black and Shinnok in Mortal Kombat X, Rhys in Tales from the Borderlands, Revolver Ocelot in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Gul'dan in World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, The Boss (Defeault Male Voice) in Saints Row, Thomas Wayne in Telltale's Batman, James Sunderland in Silent Hill 2 HD, Mitsunari Ishida in Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes, Arlon in Kid Icarus: Uprising, and Higgs in Death Stranding.

Personality

I struggled for a long time with survivin', and no matter what, you keep finding something to fight for.
~ Joel to Ellie.
Joel has been described as a "violent thug, a brutal killer, and a torturer". He is shown to be able to kill his enemies with noteworthy brutality, earning his infamous reputation to those he encounters. David calls him a "crazy man". During the aftermath of the epidemic that struck the country, he has resorted to working in black-market dealings and smuggling items or people of interest through quarantine zones or other designated areas.

Because of this, he has accumulated valuable knowledge in regards to surviving the post-apocalyptic environment. Ellie notes that Joel has stained his hand with innocent blood when he reveals to her that he has been "on both sides," thus having the knowledge about a hunters' ambush and anticipating it. This dark past likely contributed to his experience as a hardened survivalist.

He also becomes hugely dedicated to Ellie, using any means possible to save her and keep her safe. He tortures several people to find out Ellie's location, even going as far as to torture to death the rest of his prisoners after he has already gained information about Ellie's site. Ellie also cares greatly for Joel when she cares for him when he was injured, Just as Joel cared for her and protected her throughout their journey. They had a father and daughter bond.

However, Joel's other side is also portrayed. Before the apocalypse, he works hard to raise his daughter, single-handedly. The outbreak and Sarah's death changed him into an apathetic and ruthless and estranged man. He wears the watch that Sarah gave him the day before the initial infection broke out as a reminder.

Upon meeting Ellie, he initially has a rocky relationship with her. However, Joel later grows to trust her and finds her reliable at most times, such as Ellie spotting for Joel or providing support. As time passes, Joel establishes a father-daughter relationship with Ellie, reminding him of his beloved daughter, Sarah. Whether being selfish or not wanting to lose another 'daughter' to the whim of another again, he chose to save Ellie and try and start some semblance of a normal life again.

It is speculated that his decision to massacre everyone inside the Fireflies facility in Salt Lake City is to cut all loose ends, to ensure that no one will know Ellie. Thus no one will go after her in the future.

In this sense, he is the opposite of Marlene, who intends to sacrifice Ellie for a chance to save the rest of humanity. Described as being in his late 40's and early 50's, Joel knows what the world looked like before it was devastated. Over time, he has begun to become less bound by morality and more driven by doing whatever is necessary to survive. "What he wouldn't do in the past is almost a daily occurrence at this point," Bruce Straley, the game's director, notes.

Trivia

  • His signature weapon appears to be the revolver.
  • He was named after the director Joel Coen, who famously directed No Country for Old Men.

See also

Navigation

           The Last of Us Villains

Fireflies
Ethan | Joe Warren | Marlene

Cannibals
David | James

Washington Liberation Front
Abby Anderson | Owen Moore | Mel | Nora Harris | Issac Dixon

Seraphites
Emily

Others
Infected | Federal Disaster Response Agency | Bandits | Head Surgeon | Hunters | Jimmy Cooper | Joel | Reuben | Robert | Smugglers | The Military

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