My cause is my family now.
— Tommy talking to Joel
Tommy Miller is a supporting character in The Last of Us, a supporting character in Ellie's story and an antagonist in Abby's perspective in The Last of Us Part II. He is Joel's younger brother, Sarah's paternal uncle, Maria's husband and a former member of the Fireflies. He is voiced and mo-capped by Jeffrey Pierce.
Background and early life
Tommy was born in the late 1980's and grew up in Texas alongside his older brother Joel. In the absence of their parents, Tommy was raised by Joel throughout their childhood to which the pair came to heavily rely upon each other.
As a child, Tommy shared his brother's love of music and also possibly developed an interest in college football. Later in his early teens, Tommy became an uncle when Joel had a daughter named Sarah. No mention is given to the fate or whereabouts of Sarah's mother, however, it is made clear that whatever happened was very painful for Joel.
As an adult, Tommy worked in construction alongside Joel. During a phone conversation between the two, Joel mentioned desperately needing to keep his job with a contractor.
Once on his birthday, Tommy and Joel rented two Harley motorcycles and went for a cross-country ride. Tommy regularly joined his brother and niece at several events and carnivals, evidenced by the photos in her room.
Events of The Last of Us
Tommy first appears when he talks to his brother Joel on the phone, discussing the matter of Joel's job in architecture and a contractor, though the conversation is cut short when Joel hangs up. In the early hours of the morning the next day, Sarah finds Joel's cell phone, finding a concerned text message from Tommy asking "where the hell are you? Call me!" and eight missed calls from him.
He appears in person during the first moments of the Cordyceps Brain Infection outbreak, picking up Joel and Sarah to get them to safety. The three drive through the town with a plan to get to the blockade that the military set up. They witness streets filled with newly infected Runners, people fearfully running through the streets and fires engulfing multiple buildings. After reaching Texas State Highway 71 they encounter a traffic jam which turns into mayhem when Infected starts attacking the car in front of them. They quickly turn around, pursued by several Infected, and attempt a detour. Among the chaos, a vehicle crashes into the side of Tommy's car. They all survive the crash but Sarah's leg is broken, causing Joel to carry her and Tommy to cover them with Joel's revolver. Tommy manages to circle back for Joel and Sarah after being separated at a bar, just in time to save Joel's life from a soldier who preparing to execute him, but Sarah is shot in the abdomen. As Joel tries to apply pressure to Sarah's wound, he looks at Tommy, who responds with an uncertain, nervous stare. Indeed, Sarah dies in front of her uncle, in her father's arms.
In the years following the outbreak, Tommy and Joel made their way to the Boston Quarantine Zone but the actions committed by the brothers in order to survive caused Tommy to suffer "nightmares from those years". Sickened by Joel's growing inhumane activities and the military's tyranny, he decided to join the Fireflies, after being convinced by Marlene. He was filled with hope that the world could get better, which led to an argument between him and Joel which ended with them parting ways, Tommy's last words to Joel being, "I don't ever want to see your goddamned face again."
He spent a long time with the Fireflies, even visiting the group's main research lab in the University of Eastern Colorado. He worked closely with Eugene Linden while stationed in the Denver QZ. While there, they were under the command of a brutal cell leader and regularly bombed military checkpoints, killing many soldiers and even civilians in their skirmishes.
Tommy eventually left the Fireflies after becoming disillusioned with their cause. Before he left, he informed Marlene she could rely on his brother if she was ever in need of assistance. He left a strong impression on her, causing her to remark years later "he was a good man." According to Owen Moore, Tommy left the group sometime around 2028-2029.
Tommy eventually reached Jackson County, where he helped to make it into a safe haven. He married a woman named Maria and they became the de facto leaders of the settlement while trying to get the generator fixed. The hydroelectric plant is under constant attack by bandits. For a few months, Tommy traveled back to the brothers' hometown in Texas - most of their things were long gone, although he retrieved a slightly faded photo of Joel and Sarah at a soccer match.
2033 - 2034
During the Fall of 2033, Joel and Ellie stumble upon a seemingly abandoned power plant in Jackson County, Wyoming while trying to find Tommy. To their surprise, Tommy, Maria, and many of their men were trying to get the power plant up and running again to power their settlement electrically.
Tommy greets his brother with open arms and welcomes him into the plant, introducing him to Maria. After showing Joel around and getting the power back on, Joel gives Tommy the information regarding Ellie's immunity to the CBI, expecting Tommy to heed his order to take over the delivery of Ellie. Due to leaving the Fireflies and their cause behind him and the danger of the journey, Tommy refuses to deliver Ellie to the group, realizing that Joel hasn't changed since he last saw him. An argument ensues, in which Joel indirectly insults Tommy's community and the memories of their dark past resurface, leading to an enraged Joel shoving his brother, but they are interrupted by a bandit attack.
Tommy, with help from Joel and some of his men, fends off the attackers. Tommy reconsiders his decision to take Ellie to the Fireflies' lab after seeing her interactions with Joel. Maria is understandably upset when Tommy tells her this, knowing that she may end up being a widow if Tommy made even one mistake.
Before he can leave with Ellie, she steals a horse and runs away. Joel and Tommy give chase, tracking her on horseback through the woods and arriving at a narrow pass with a couple of cabins before they are ambushed by the Bandits there. Tommy provides covering fire while Joel pushes up the pass towards the cabins and the duo wearily kill their attackers. Following the skirmish, the two continue to follow Ellie's trail and find her at an abandoned ranch.
Realizing that the two likely have some talking to do, Tommy keeps watch downstairs. After a while, he notices more bandits have tracked them to the ranch, so he runs upstairs to alert Joel and Ellie of the incoming danger. They fight their way out of the house, regrouping outside. After offering Ellie help onto her horse, Tommy and the others ride on horseback back to the dam, where Tommy shows them how he has turned Jackson County into a small fortified town, now with electricity, enabling the children to watch television. Joel tells Tommy he will take Ellie and Tommy can go back to Maria proving himself to have changed. Tommy tells them that the Fireflies' lab is at the University of Eastern Colorado. As Joel is about to leave with Ellie, he offers them both sanctuary in his town, saying there is always a place for Joel. Joel doesn't answer, giving the impression of acceptance, and bids Tommy farewell before riding off.
Months later, after Joel rescues Ellie from the Fireflies in Salt Lake City, they return to Jackson County, intending to live in Tommy's settlement. When Joel does return, Tommy accepts them as he promised, giving them a room each and has them working on fortifications while they live there. He introduces Joel to a woman named Esther. Joel believes that his brother intends to have them "hitched."
Events of The Last of Us Part II
Two years later, Tommy helps teach Ellie how to snipe from a distance by clearing out Infected in areas around a ski lodge near Jackson. He remarks to her that the Infected regularly migrate through the area during the winter. He also asks Ellie why she seems uneasy with Joel, but she dodges the question. The two regroup with Joel at the lodge, who reveals the strings on Ellie's guitar need changing. Taking the guitar to play, Tommy suggests Joel and Ellie go searching for strings in a nearby abandoned music store. Despite Ellie's reluctance, Tommy convinces her to go with Joel.
2038 and hunting Abby
By 2038, Tommy is still in Jackson and is present at Seth's family party. When Seth calls Ellie and Dina a pair of "dykes," causing Joel to get physical with him, Tommy steps in with Maria to calm the pair down. The next morning, he and Joel go on patrol to the lodge to clear it of Infected. While there, the pair find and rescue Abby Anderson from a horde of Infected. Unable to hold their position, the trio flees on their horses to the Baldwin hunting-lodge, where Abby's group of Washington Liberation Front soldiers are staying.
Once settled in, Tommy introduces himself to Mel and Owen Moore, and then Joel to the rest of the group, offering to take them back to Jackson with them. However, the group all stare at Joel, who remarks that they seem to recognize the brothers. Abby draws a shotgun and confirms his suspicions by shooting his right knee. Tommy cries out, attempting to attack Abby, only for Jordan and Nick to restrain him, and Nora Harris knocks him out. They leave Tommy unconscious on the ground while Abby tortures Joel with a golf-club.
After Joel's death, Dina and Jesse find Tommy at the lodge, and bring him and a captured Ellie back to Jackson. Sometime later, Tommy comes over to Ellie's house with a box of food. Tommy reveals Maria will not let them form a group to pursue Abby and her group, despite him being confident that they are stationed in Seattle. Ellie insists they should avenge Joel's death, even if alone, believing Joel would already by heading there if the group had killed her or Tommy. Tommy relents and asks Ellie to let him have a day to talk to Maria. He then leaves to let Ellie get some sleep.
That night, Tommy fails to convince Maria. Thinking about Ellie's words, Tommy writes a note to Maria telling her that he has left Jackson County to "put them to justice." He also suggests she take Ellie's guns, lock up the horses, and even lock up Ellie herself to prevent her from following him. Against his wishes, Maria lets Ellie use her horse, and even lets Ellie bring Dina with her to force Tommy to return home.
Tommy makes it to Seattle ahead of the group. While there, he fights through and interrogates several WLF soldiers, his horse getting killed in the process. Ellie and Dina catch up by following the trail of Tommy's victims across Seattle. At the hotel, they find Nick, one of Abby's friends, and another Wolf tortured to death in a way identical to Joel's methods. He later finds Leah at the city's TV station and kills her, but is forced to flee as Seraphites also attack the area.
Following a lead, he eventually reaches the city marina, intent on finding Abby, Owen, and Mel hiding there. However, he is attacked by Manny Alvarez's platoon, who are attempting to reach the boats to launch an invasion of the Seraphites' island. Recognizing Manny, Tommy uses his sniper rifle to fight back, killing all but Manny himself. Abby arrives at the scene and helps Manny advance on Tommy, who shoots near them to attract Infected to their location. Seemingly cornering Tommy in an airport, he sneaks up on the two and kills Manny with a headshot, and viciously attacks Abby on the pier. He gains the upper hand, but is stabbed by Yara and pushed into the ocean.
Jesse, having heard from another WLF patrol about Tommy's attack at the marina, eventually finds him. Jesse reveals Ellie is also in the city, and was heading for Abby and Owen's hideout. The pair find Ellie at the aquarium, shortly after she has killed Owen and Mel. Finding her shaken up, he coaxes her to leave with them, accidentally leaving Ellie's map behind.
A few hours later, regrouping with Dina at the city's theater, Tommy and Jesse begin planning how to return to Jackson. Ellie approaches them on the stage, revealing she still wishes to kill Abby. Tommy convinces Ellie to forget about Abby, and focus on taking the pregnant Dina back to Jackson. To lighten the mood, he reveals he found a golden necklace, hoping to use it as a bribe to win Maria back once he returns to Jackson. Jesse and Ellie doubt it is real, so he goes to collect it from the front hall.
While there, he is sneaked up on by Abby and Lev, who used Ellie's map to locate them. He complies with her demands, but mocks that she is a coward if she shoots him in the back. Enraged, Abby viciously beats Tommy to the floor, attracting Jesse and Ellie to race into the room. Abby kills Jesse with a headshot, and uses Tommy to make Ellie surrender, despite his pleas for Ellie not to. Ellie attempts to convince Abby to take her away and spare Tommy, but Abby, disappointed that the pair wasted the fact she spared them in Jackson, aims to shoot Ellie dead. Tommy jumps up, grabbing Abby, and wrestles for her gun, but Lev shoots him in the leg, enabling Abby to knock him down and shoot him in the head. However, the angle he is shot at means the bullet merely grazed the orbital plate-temple of Tommy's head, resulting in him only losing an eye and some mobility. Sometime later, a battered Ellie and Dina return, and help him make the trip back to Jackson. On the day they return, Ellie promises Tommy she would one day kill Abby to avenge what she did to them.
Now struggling to walk and blind in one eye, the events in Seattle have left Tommy bitter and guilty, and he and Maria decide to spend some time apart. Months later, he goes to Ellie and Dina's farm, where the pair have chosen to recover after the ordeal against Abby, with Dina's child JJ. He reveals a new member in Jackson who knows that Abby and Lev were heading to Santa Barbara, and tries to convince Ellie to go kill them in his place, now being too weak to do it himself. Ellie refuses, leading Tommy to remind her about her promise before storming out. Dina angrily berates him for trying to get Ellie to go after Abby, but he ignores her and rides off on his horse, disappointed.
Tommy's visit eventually proves successful, as Ellie, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and believing that killing Abby will give her closure, decides to leave Dina and pursue Abby one last time.
Tommy was with Joel for the initial years after the outbreak and aided him in ambushes and raids. It is also very likely that Tommy himself had killed innocent people, as he claims to still suffer nightmares from the years he spent with Joel and all the horrible things they did. Tommy has been seeking redemption for his past crimes by helping Maria build safe havens and communities throughout Wyoming. He cares about those under his charge and puts their well-being before his own.
Like Joel, Tommy has a short temper, but his is much quicker to diffuse than that of his brother, due to him being generally more sympathetic. His sympathy is shown early on when he tries to stop to help a family during the outbreak but stops when Joel insists they don't; Tommy likely yielding due to a 'big brother knows best' view. Tommy also takes the time to scavenge a photo of Joel and Sarah from what remains of their home, being especially sympathetic to his brother through such.
Tommy becomes frustrated when Joel brings up his past and blames him for most of it, indicating that Joel may have led a lot of their activities. However, he is surprisingly quick to forgive his brother when they meet again after many years, and despite being more averse to violence, he is capable of violence when he has to be and still loves and cares for his brother Joel.
Tommy, in contrast to Joel, tends to be reasonably optimistic, believing he can make things better with cautious hard work, and thus is not plagued with the same unrelenting pessimism and apathy that his brother harbors. This was his impetus for joining the Fireflies at one point, as well as why he left them to build a new life. He prioritizes his family, declining Joel's offer to take the profit from Ellie's delivery in favor of his new family with Maria. It's rather symbolic that he married the leader Maria, emphasizing how he views the community just as (if not more) important than his brother Joel. However, after seeing his brother care for Ellie's safety, he sympathizes with the man and changes his mind, wanting to spare Joel the pain he suffered years before.
Further, Tommy is trusting of strangers, offering Mel and her friends to join the Jackson community despite only knowing them for a few minutes. This is indicative of his desire to give people the benefit of the doubt, displaying hope that trust with strangers can also be restored as were many more things in Jackson from times before the apocalypse.
In The Last of Us Part II, after Joel is killed, Tommy begins to display a more aggressive side, hunting down Abby and her group in retaliation. He went as far as torturing WLF soldiers using the same methods Joel did, as well as killing any WLF soldiers he came across using brutal means. Despite this, Tommy still demonstrates levels of concern for Jesse, Ellie, and Dina and despite his mission, he took the time to think of ways to earn his wife's forgiveness by getting her a piece of gold jewelry.
By the end of the game, Tommy still displays desire for revenge against Abby, causing him to be bitter and impatient. This is evident when he became frustrated and displeased with Ellie and Dina when both informed him that they were done with that lifestyle and insulted them for living a comfy life while Joel's killer still lived. In the end, Tommy became a shell of his former self as he lost everything he loved.
Skills and abilities
Tommy appears to be quite skilled with handguns even before the outbreak, as he kills many Infected during the family's escape from Austin with Joel's revolver and killed a soldier with a bullet to the head. He was also skilled in physical combat, able to kill a Runner by hitting it with a brick and even kicked one to the floor despite it grappling Joel. Tommy also displayed great strength, being able to force a door shut despite several Runners pushing against it.
Twenty years later, he appears proficient with a hunting rifle against bandits and could ride a horse at great speed and repair its hooves when injured. He also possesses good leadership abilities, as he helps create and drive a new, less-violent community forward, being very respected within this group, while proceeding with enough caution to keep the place in order. This also affords him protection as the settlers would protect him from anyone with hostile intent, even Joel.
Five years after the first game, Tommy is still a capable survivor. With his scoped hunting rifle, he regularly kills Infected from a far distance. He has also patrolled the surrounding areas in Jackson, typically with Joel, and killed many more Infected and Hunters over the years. The two proved an effective team, with both being able to fight their way through Infected to save Abby Anderson at one of the nearby lodges and then, with her help, fought their way through the horde to then escape.
While hunting Joel's killers in Seattle, Tommy displays exceptional combat skills and stealth. Despite facing them alone, Tommy fights his way through several soldiers from the Washington Liberation Front and Seraphites, even catching and torturing several of them for intel. Much like his brother, he displays skill in interrogation, using similar tactics to make them talk.
However, unlike Joel, Tommy appears to prefer more distant combat, with many of his kills coming from shooting enemies with his scoped hunting rifle and a bow and arrow. His sniping prowess is best demonstrated in how he killed all of Manny Alvarez's squad at the marina, and eventually Manny himself, from a long distance. He was also rather tactical, shooting vehicles nearby Manny to draw Infected to his location in the hopes they would kill him. Tommy also displays skill in stealth, sneaking through the city undetected for at least two days and managed to surprise attack Abby on the Seattle pier.
However, Abby was able to overpower him in a struggle, albeit with Yara's help. He was also knocked down and shot by Abby later, though it was because Yara had stabbed him earlier that day.
By the end of the game, Tommy's physical abilities have deteriorated. After being shot in the head, Tommy struggles to walk and is half-blind. He admitted himself that he can no longer risk wandering far from Jackson, given he would likely die if he got into a fight with others without support.
Tommy and Joel, being brothers, were deeply close to one another but had their moments of ruptures in their relationship. Having been cared for by Joel during their childhood, Tommy's first priority during the outbreak was to reach his brother.
Tommy protected his brother during the outbreak, even using Joel's own gun to save his life when a soldier attempted to shoot him. He also helped Joel as best he could when Sarah died, staying with the man for most of the post-apocalyptic years. Evidently Tommy put great stock in Joel's way of thinking, the elder brother leading Tommy during the apocalyptic years given how Joel states "[Tommy] survived because of [him]".
However, Tommy grew to hate Joel, mentally scarred by the actions the two committed in the name of survival. As Joel stated, "[Tommy] saw the world one way. [Joel] saw it another". Tommy eventually chose to try to save humanity over his own brother, abandoning him to join the Fireflies. Even after he "grew tired of that too," Tommy didn't return to Joel but left for Wyoming, not desiring to see his brother's "goddamed face again".
Despite their relationship having been strained to the breaking point, their time apart mended most of the wounds. Upon seeing his older brother again years later, Tommy welcomed him with open arms, the hostilities buried. However, there still were some outbursts, the pair arguing heavily when left alone in Tommy's room, almost resulting in a fight. He also threatens Joel's life during their conflict, despite years earlier saving him from certain death.
Tommy soon forgave his brother, willingly agreeing to look after Ellie in his place, likely to avoid the damage losing her would do to him. This even leads to him choosing his brother over his wife, Maria, despite her being his new family.
When Joel and Ellie left his settlement to continue their journey to the Fireflies, Tommy understood Joel and offered him a place should he ever return, displaying their relationship was repaired despite all of the things they had done over the years.
By 2038, Tommy and Joel are on good terms and patrol together frequently. In the prologue, Joel tells Tommy the truth about The Fireflies in Salt Lake City in saving Ellie, displaying deep trust in Tommy as the only one he confided in about his controversial decision. He is enraged at Joel's death at the hands of Abby and her group, leading to Tommy hunting down Abby to both avenge Joel and to keep Ellie from doing it herself.
Tommy cared greatly for Maria, so much that he married her, much to the surprise of his brother Joel, and wanted to protect her people and family. The two formed a strong partnership, Tommy assisting her in fixing the dam and even offered to do her jobs for her, such as surveying the repairs on the generator. He also had a deep sense of trust in her and was weary to part with her, especially when Joel demanded he takes Ellie for him, stating "my cause is my family [Maria] now".
Although he loved her, he was willing to aid his brother after some persuasion despite Maria's protests, informing her he "had to do this."
By 2038, the pair were still together and still ran Jackson effectively. However, Tommy's desire to avenge Joel's death left Maria incredibly worried and vexed as Tommy ended up going against his wife's wishes by going after the WLF in Seattle. Despite this, Tommy still thought of her and managed to find a gold necklace during his travels that he believed would help earn her forgiveness. Ultimately after coming back to Jackson, Tommy revealed to Dina and Ellie that he and Maria decided to take a break from one another for a while, saying it was a mutual decision.
Having been a member of the Fireflies, Tommy met the leader of the group; Marlene. The woman was partly responsible for him leaving Joel, persuading him to join her group despite Joel's pessimistic view of them.
Tommy grew close to her, having a profound effect on the woman. Even when he left the group, he informed Marlene she could count on Joel for help if she was "ever stuck in a jam". Marlene even remarked years later that "he was a good man" despite him abandoning the Fireflies' philosophy.
Tommy seemed to be close with his niece Sarah, going with her and Joel to carnivals and soccer matches over the years before the outbreak. He appeared to support Joel in raising her, since her other parent had left them by that point.
During the outbreak, Tommy was protective of Sarah, using Joel's revolver to protect the pair from Infected. When picking them up in the car, Tommy toned down his language around the girl and affectionately called her "honey". When they were cornered in a room due to oncoming Infected, Tommy forced Joel to run on because he was carrying Sarah, putting the child's life above his own.
He appeared saddened by her death, but more so for Joel due to how much the man cared for her.
Even when he had only known her for a short while, Tommy looked after Ellie due to her association with Joel. He was initially unwilling to "take that girl off of [Joel's] hands" but he agreed to do so after recognizing her importance to his brother.
When at the ranch, he offered to help her up one of his horses and even let her keep the horse when she left the settlement. As with Joel, he promised her a place in his community when she returned.
In the years that followed, Tommy and Ellie became close, with Ellie treating her as a pseudo-uncle. The man teaches her how to use a rifle better by educating her about elevation and bullet drop. Tommy continued to serve as a bridge between the two, helping Ellie reconnect with Joel by making her go with the man to retrieve guitar strings from a music store.
Following Joel's death, Ellie and Tommy bond over their mutual loss. Ellie's words that Joel would already be pursuing the killers if he or Tommy were killed prompts Tommy to travel to Seattle to seeks vengeance.
When finally reunited in Seattle, Tommy convinced Ellie that killing Abby's friends was enough. However, he changed his mind after Abby attacked them and crippled him. Ellie made a promise to kill Abby once they returned to Jackson. Months later, Tommy successfully tracked Abby to Santa Barbara and asked Ellie to kill her for him per the vow she made. Ellie initially refused, causing Tommy to call her a "joke" and angrily storm out. After pondering Tommy's request, Ellie eventually abandoned her idyllic life at the farm to hunt Abby once more, displaying immense loyalty to Tommy.
The Last Of Us
- The name Tommy is a Greek form of the Aramaic name Teoma meaning "twin"
- During the development of Tommy's physical appearance, the developers wanted him to resemble Joel "in stature and rugged toughness" but also display his compassionate approach to the world.
- Upon writing Tommy's character, Neil Druckmann stated that while Tommy shares his brother's 'gritty masculinity', he also bears a gentleness which Joel lacks.
- Originally, Jeffrey Pierce auditioned for the role of Joel which was ultimately given to Troy Baker. When the developers began casting for the role of Tommy, they immediately contacted Pierce and were greatly impressed by his performance. Baker personally felt the chemistry between him and Pierce added a sense of realism in the relationship between Joel and Tommy.
- Tommy's weapon of choice is a scoped hunting rifle.
- Tommy's blue sheepskin jacket resembles the one Sam Drake wore in Naughty Dog's Uncharted 4: A Thief's End.
- Tommy losing his eye after killing Manny with a headshot through the eye symbolically represents his "eye for an eye" mentality; in seeking to avenge Joel's death, he too has inflicted similar suffering to balance out the cycle of violence.