Following nine weeks of mutated, zombified creatures, one of the most poignant queer romances ever put to screen and outrage from miserable right-wingers (woo!), The Last of Us has come to an end. Good news incoming: season two is confirmed!
Widely hailed as the best live-action adaptation of a video game in history, HBO’s action-adventure series takes place 20 years after a mass fungal infection sparks a global (here’s that word…) pandemic (sorry). The Mandalorian’s Pedro Pascal stars as Joel, a hard-faced smuggler tasked with escorting chirpy teenager Ellie (Bella Ramsey) – who is immune to the virus and may be the key to creating a vaccine – out of a quarantine zone across a post-apocalyptic wasteland in the United States.
Created by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, The Last of Us received universal critical acclaim for its faithfulness to the source material, the chemistry between Pascal and Ramsey and the high production value. The third episode – titled Long Long Time – was particularly lauded; shifting focus from Joel and Ellie to chronicle the love story between paranoid survivalist Bill (Nick Offerman) and his partner Frank (Murray Bartlett), it has since been hailed as one of the best episodes of television ever broadcast.
Following its renewal, Druckmann stated: “I’m humbled, honored, and frankly overwhelmed that so many people have tuned in and connected with our retelling of Joel and Ellie’s journey. The collaboration with Craig Mazin, our incredible cast & crew, and HBO exceeded my already high expectations. Now we have the absolute pleasure of being able to do it again with season two!”
Mazin continued: “I’m so grateful to Neil Druckmann and HBO for our partnership, and I’m even more grateful to the millions of people who have joined us on this journey. The audience has given us the chance to continue, and as a fan of the characters and world Neil and Naughty Dog created, I couldn’t be more ready to dive back in.”
From potential plot points to the cast, read ahead for everything you need to know about season two.
When will it be released?
This is HBO we’re talking about here, so don’t expect a show with big-budget action sequences, A-List stars and the aforementioned gnarly creatures to premiere within the next year, at least.
Take Euphoria for example: season one aired in June 2019, and we were forced – FORCED! – to wait until January 2022 for the follow-up. (Season three, when?) Of course, Euphoria is just one of many shows on HBO, but the network is known for taking time in-between seasons. Quality over quantity, all of that. Essentially, we don’t want to get our hopes up. By predicting a 2025 release, we’re simply protecting ourselves from the inevitable. (We’ll accept 2024, however.)
What is the plot of season 2?
While the first season of The Last of Us closely mirrored the main events of the first game in the series, the second game will reportedly take “more than one season”. In a recent interview with British GQ, showrunners Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann were asked if the second season will “span the entire course” of Part II, to which Mazin swiftly responded: “No. No way.” He refused to reveal how many seasons it would take, but did share that “more than one is factually correct”.
Druckmann added: “Some of the stuff I’m most excited for [in Part 2] are the changes we’ve discussed and seeing the story come to life again in this other version. And I think it’s exciting because it leans into those feelings you had from the game, really heavily, in a new way.”
GQ also questioned the creators on backlash from fans, who took issue with the lack of scenes with the infected as opposed to the game. Mazin explained: “One of my least favourite notes as a screenwriter to receive from a studio is, ‘we really liked this, give us more of it.’ And I always think, well, I’m going to give you more good until you’re like ‘ah it’s too much of it.’
“I learned that lesson as much from watching Game of Thrones as anything else. That series had such a slow and interesting build to the presence of the wights and the white walkers. Every time you saw them, your blood pressure skyrocketed. They were special. Had Game of Thrones been a game first, as opposed to a set of novels, there’s no doubt that in the game, you’d be fighting White Walkers all the time. And som of course you would want more of them [in a TV adaptation].”
However, Mazin has “noted how much [fans] liked those encounters” by “watching the audience watch the show”, adding: “And I think we have some really interesting things coming that will be very satisfying without burying you.”
Good news: Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey will respectively return as series protagonists Joel and Ellie. Bad news: that’s all we know for now.
The second game introduces another major character in the form of Abby (voiced by Laura Bailey), a soldier who seeks to avenge her father’s death by killing Joel. While Abby hasn’t been cast yet, fans have heavily campaigned for Shannon Berry of The Wilds fame to play the (controversial) character because of their physical similarities.
Another significant player we can expect to be cast is Dina (voiced by Shannon Woodward), Ellie’s close friend who ultimately becomes her girlfriend. Upon the release of Part II, Dina was lauded by the fandom and the nonchalant depiction of her bisexuality was hailed as groundbreaking.
We’ll make sure to keep you updated when we know more re cast.
Where can I watch season 2?
As is the case with the first season, The Last of Us will premiere in the U.S. on HBO. For UK viewers, it’s likely that it’ll continue to air on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV.
Will there be a season 3?
It hasn’t been announced, officially, but with Mazin stating that the second game will take “more than one” season, a third is basically confirmed at this point.
The Last of Us season 1 is available on Sky Atlantic and NOW.