After a near-fifteen-year journey to get Y: The Last Man to the screen, FX on Hulu's adaptation of Brian K. Vaughan's comic book series is finally here. The rabid anticipation from the books' fans has seen it through rumors and abandoned projects to a promising series with an accomplished and exciting cast. Here's who playing who, and where you may have seen them before:
The "Y" at the center of Y: The Last Man is Yorick Brown, who survives a mysterious apocalyptic calamity that eliminates every mammal on the planet with a Y chromosome. The question becomes why, and also how to navigate a completely changed world. He's played by actor Ben Schnetzer, best known for his roles as an outspoken gay activist in the 2014 movie Pride and as a CIA surveillance tech in Oliver Stone's Snowden. He also played the grown-up version of Jacob Tremblay's character in the Xavier Dolan film The Death and Life of John F. Donovan.
Academy Award-nominated actress Diane Lane plays Yorick's mother, Jennifer Brown. In the comic books, Jennifer was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and when the Y apocalypse happens, she's elevated to the office of President of the United States. Which means she's in charge of a whole lot of difficult decisions when it comes to pulling the remnants of the country together. Lane has been working in film and television for over 40 years, with her best known roles coming in films like Unfaithful, Under the Tuscan Sun, and The Perfect Storm. She's most recently played the role of Martha Kent in Zack Snyder's Superman/Justice League films.
Hero is Yorick's sister, who is working as a paramedic in New York City when the apocalypse comes, forcing her to experience the mass death of the male population terrifyingly up close. She's described as sharp-edged but also covering up a lot of disappointment and shame, which will make her susceptible to recruitment by a dangerous group of women in the post-apocalyptic landscape. She's played by Olivia Thirlby, who's best known for playing the title character's best friend in the Best Picture nominated film Juno.
If you can't already tell by her moniker, Agent 355 is a very secret agent of a very secret government organization. She's a member of the Culper Ring, a shadowy government organization that dates back as far as George Washington. She's a badass and incredibly adept at combat, and she's tasked with seeking out Yorick and keeping him safe. She'ls played by Ashley Romans, whose screen credits include an arc on Shameless in 2018 and a main role as Tabitha Hutter on the AMC series NOS4A2.
Amber Tamblyn is probably most recognized for her role as the title character in the CBS series Joan of Arcadia, where she played a teenage girl who talks to God. But she's also been in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movies, played a crucial role in The Ring, and has had stints on House and Two and a Half Men. She plays the role of Kimberly Cunningham, the daughter of the President of the United States as the series opens, and a conservative pundit who's made a brand out of her idenity as a mom. This sets her up nicely as a political antagonist for Jennifer.
Dr. Allison Mann is an expert geneticist who takes a keen interest in Yorick as the lone survivor, calling him "reproductively interesting." She's played by Diana Bang, an actress and sketch comedian whose best known film role came opposite Seth Rogen and James Franco in The Interview. More recently appeared on the Hilary Swank astronaut series Away and as Claudia's mom on The Baby-Sitters Club.
Deeply smart and pragmatic, Nora Brady opens the series as an advisor to the President, as well as a wife and mother. When the apocalyptic event destroys her world, she'll need to call upon her resolve to get through it. She's played by Marin Ireland, known for her roles in TV series like Sneaky Pete and The Umbrella Academy, and films like The Irishman and The Empty Man.
When Y: The Last Man was adapted for television, one of the major changes was an emphasis on the fact that just because all but one person with a Y chromosome are wiped out in the event doesn't mean that all men were. Trans men survived the plague, and the showrunners added the new character of Sam Jordan to represent this facet of the post-event world. Sam is Hero's best friend, a performance artist who finds himself adrift in this new and scary world. Sam is played by Elliot Fletcher, who's previously appeared in major arcs on Shameless and The Fosters.
Beth is Yorick's girlfriend, although she's already beginning to seek out new things — including a professional opportunity in Australia — as the series begins. She's played by Juliana Canfield, best known for her recurring role as Kendall Roy's assistant on Succession.
The first three episodes of Y: The Last Man premiere September 13th on FX on Hulu. New episodes will release Mondays through November 1.
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Joe Reid is the Managing Editor at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.