Attention, The Last of Us fans! Ellie’s love interest for season two has been cast.
Back in 2023, the HBO adaptation of the popular game franchise became an instant hit with TV enthusiasts for its stellar storytelling and showstopping acting performances from Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey.
Due to its popularity and universal acclaim – boasting a 97% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes – the show was renewed for a second season weeks before its season one finale.
At the time, Neil Druckmann, executive producer, celebrated the news in a statement: “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! On behalf of everyone at Naughty Dog & PlayStation, thank you!”
Over the last few months, new information about the forthcoming season has slowly started to come out, including the casting of Ellie’s love interest Dina.
On 11 January, it was revealed that Isabela Merced had joined the show as the beloved and free-spirited character, per Variety.
Dina was first introduced in The Last of Us Part II video game and played a significant role in Ellie’s multi-layered storyline.
In a statement, series creators Craig Mazin and Druckman gave insight into their casting decision and why Merced was perfect for the role.
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“Dina is warm, brilliant, wild, funny, moral, dangerous and instantly lovable,” they said.
“You can search forever for an actor who effortlessly embodies all of those things, or you can find Isabela Merced right away. We couldn’t be prouder to have her join our family.”
Before joining the post-apocalyptic series, Merced starred in an array of blockbuster films, including Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Transformers: The Last Knight and Instant Family.
She is also gearing up to appear in Sony’s new superhero film Madame Web, which features Fifty Shades of Grey’s Dakota Johnson, Euphoria star Sydney Sweeney and Ghostbusters: Afterlife’s Celeste O’Connor.
Merced’s casting news came shortly after Booksmart star Kaitlyn Dever joined the series as the controversial character Abby Anderson.
“Our casting process for season two has been identical to season one: we look for world-class actors who embody the souls of the characters in the source material,” Mazin and Druckmann explained in another joint press release.
“Nothing matters more than talent, and we’re thrilled to have an acclaimed performer like Kaitlyn join Pedro, Bella and the rest of our family.”
Lastly, in addition to Merced and Dever, Beef star Young Mazino is set to star in The Last of Us season two as Jesse, Dina’s ex-boyfriend and Ellie’s close ally.
Stay tuned for more news surrounding the highly anticipated season of The Last of Us.