An Introductory Guide to UNCHARTED’s World and Characters

After a long road to the screen, a movie adaptation of Uncharted is finally here. Over the course of several games and spinoffs, roguish treasurer hunters Nathan Drake and Victor Sullivan have found lost cities, buried treasures, and thwarted more than a few bad guys. The film first headed towards development way back in 2008, about a year after Uncharted’s first game, Drake’s Fortune, was released. It makes sense, considering how ripe the conceit is for a film. After more than a decade, the Uncharted movie is here, and with it, plenty of content to mine from its now-expansive game franchise. Here’s a quick guide to the adventure we’re embarking on. Let’s meet Uncharted’s world and characters. 

Nathan Drake swings through the air
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What Is the Main Plot of the Uncharted games?

Uncharted follows explorers and treasure hunters Nathan Drake and his partner Victor Sullivan on their expeditions. Throughout the games, they’re on the hunt for the El Dorado treasure, Shambhala, the Cintamani Stone, the lost city of Ubar, and Henry Avery’s treasure. There are four official Uncharted games featuring Drake and his team—Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. In addition, a fifth game, Uncharted: Lost Legacy, a standalone extension of A Thief’s End, features Chloe Frazer as its lead. 

Who Are Uncharted’s Main Characters?

Considering there are four official games (plus Lost Legacy) and a few mobile-based add-ons, the Uncharted franchise boasts a bevy of characters. However, the franchise hinges mainly on a few specific treasure hunters and their allies. 

Sully and Nate, some of the video games' main characters, look at letters in a still from Uncharted
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Who is Nathan Drake?

There is no Uncharted franchise without Nathan Drake. Drake is the affable adventurer and treasure hunter at the center of the games. An alleged descendant of Sir Francis Drake, he has a bit of a mysterious background—which includes a missing, presumed-dead brother Sam. Tom Holland plays Drake in the Uncharted movie.

Who is “Sully,” a.k.a. Victor Sullivan?

Sully is Nathan Drake’s older, wizened partner. He meets Nate—and later Sam—when the treasure hunter is just a teen and needs assistance getting out of a sticky situation. Throughout the games, he serves as a surrogate father and mentor to Nate. In 2018, Nathan Fillon played Sully in the Uncharted – Live Action Fan Film. However, Mark Wahlberg plays Sully in the Uncharted movie.

Who is Chloe Frazer?

Chloe is a fellow treasure hunter who is briefly romantically involved with Nathan Drake. Resourceful and cool, she’s a consummate survivor who often allies with Nate and Sully. However, she’s never afraid to shift gears if things look dicey for her. Chloe leads Uncharted: Lost Legacy, the standalone expansion to Uncharted 4. Sophia Ali plays the character in the Uncharted movie.

Who are Uncharted's Main Characters? Elena and Jeff go with Chloe and Nate in Uncharted: Among Thieves
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Who is Elena Fisher?

Elena is a journalist and Nate’s main love interest throughout the Uncharted games. She first encounters Nate and Sully while filming a documentary about their hunt for El Dorado. She and Nate later marry and have a daughter. As of right now, it doesn’t look like Elena will appear in the big-screen adaptation. However, should there be a sequel to the Uncharted movie, or maybe even an upcoming new franchise, we’d expect to see her in future films.

Who is Sam Drake?

Sam is Nathan’s older brother who doesn’t appear until Uncharted 4. While he’s not mentioned in previous installments, he figures heavily into Nate’s mysterious past and his decision to become a treasure hunter. He’s presumed dead until A Thief’s End, after getting shot during a prison break at a Panamanian jail while looking for treasure in events prior to the first game. Likewise, we haven’t heard any Uncharted movie casting news for Sam. However, we do know that in the upcoming film, Nate’s searching for his missing brother while on the hunt for the Magellan treasure. 

Who Are the Villains in the Uncharted games?

The Uncharted franchise doesn’t have a singular overarching villain. Instead, each installment features its own big bad, dead set on steering Nate and Sully off course—usually via attempted murder, kidnapping, other nefarious means. Drake’s Fortune features the team facing off against archeologist Atoq Navarro, who is trying to find El Dorado first and comes armed with a team of mercenaries. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves pits them against evil Serbian military commander Zoran Lazarević, who is secretly working with Nate’s longtime friend and associate Harry Flynn.

Uncharted's Villains: Navarro and his associates in Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
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Katherine Marlowe, Drake’s Deception’s main villain, is the leader of a secret society called Hermetic Order and a longtime rival to Nate before veering full baddie. (This is a franchise about treasure hunters. It’s only natural one of the bad guys leads a secret society!) Finally, there’s Rafe Adler. A businessman and treasure hunter, Adler is a former friend to the Drake brothers in events before the games before serving as the primary antagonist in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.

Antonio Banderas and Tati Gabrielle play the villains in the movie adaptation of Uncharted, though neither appears to be formally based on a game counterpart. Described as a “ruthless” treasure hunter Moncada (Banderas), it’s not unreasonable to see bits of Navarro and especially Adler in him. And as for Braddock, her counterpart could be Nadine Ross, Adler’s associate.

Which Uncharted Game Is Tom Holland’s Movie Based On?

As Uncharted fans know, Tom Holland is a bit young to play the Nathan Drake from the games. As such, the 2022 Uncharted movie is not based on any of the current Uncharted games. Instead, the upcoming movie is something of a prequel. Most likely, the film will cover at least some aspect of the Drakes’ backstory introduced in A Thief’s End. However, it’s unlikely we’ll get the whole story, just some semblance of how Nate saw it. The full story likely comes later, should the film kick off a franchise. However, it doesn’t look like the film uses the games’ depiction of how Sully and Nate met. In an extended flashback in Drake’s Deception, we learn how the teenage Nate and Sully got acquainted—jump-starting their decades to adventure together. But based on the trailers, the Uncharted movie will give the pair a new origin story.

As to how much of Drake’s Fortune will make it into the film or whether the Uncharted movie fully takes place beforehand, is all up for debate. But at least we’ll learn soon enough.

Uncharted releases in theaters on February 18.

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