Actress Natasha Mumba (The Handmaid’s Tale, Rogue) has confirmed via their Instagram page that they are playing Kim Tembo in HBO’s upcoming series based on The Last of Us video game franchise.
Rumors that Mumba joined the show’s cast began to spread prior to the actress posting that information on their own social media profile. However, they don’t seem to offer any additional information regarding the role, and nobody else seems to have uncovered additional information about it as of the time of this writing.
That lack of information has just about everyone familiar with the games asking the question: “Who is Kim Tembo?”
So far as anyone can tell, there is no character named Kim Tembo in any of The Last of Us games, which would seem to suggest that Mumba is playing a character created specifically for the show. We knew that the series was going to deviate from the game’s plot in some ways (it would pretty much have to expand on the plot in order to compensate for interactive elements of the game that can’t easily be translated to another medium), but there’s been quite a bit of speculation regarding just how different the show will ultimately be.
So, when fans hear that an entirely new character has been cast, they naturally start to wonder whether or not that character is going to play a major role in the series that will, in some way, impact one of the significant moments from the game.
That may very well happen at some point, but it doesn’t seem to be the case here. Mumba is listed as a “Guest Star” for The Last of Us on her online resume, which would tend to suggest that this will not be the significant role that some thought it might be. That’s not necessarily a guarantee (there have been times when the guest star title has been applied to long-term recurring characters), but the much more likely possibility is that Mumba is playing a significantly smaller role.
As far as what that role could be…well, that’s a little more difficult to speculate about. I’ve heard some theorize that Kim Tembo could be a Firefly (a group that will likely need to be expanded upon slightly in the show), which is certainly one of the most viable possibilities at this time. The Last of Us crew has also reportedly been filming what would essentially be some of the “settlement” scenes from the game, so they’ll likely need additional characters to help fill out those casts.
We’ll wait and see exactly what comes from all this, but it is certainly fascinating to be reminded how important The Last of Us story is to so many of those who experienced it via the games and how worried some of those fans are that the show (or even the game’s rumored PS5 remake) may alter that story in some notable way. While there’s been no indication that this show will deviate quite that far from its source material, we’re all certainly a little interested to see how “faithful” this series will ultimately be in terms of the major plot points.