*Warning: This article contains spoilers*
Following its release in January of last year, HBO’s adaptation of the award-winning PlayStation game, The Last Of Us, firmly became one of 2023’s must-see shows.
Taking place in a post-apocalyptic America, 20 years after civilisation has been ravaged by a mutant fungus, the show follows the story of Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey), as the former attempts to smuggle her out of the quarantine zone to save humanity.
The adaptation of the video game quickly became HBO’s second largest debut, falling only behind Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon in viewership. The show was such a word-of-mouth hit that it also experienced a 22% increase in viewership from its first episode to its second, which is the biggest increase for an HBO original drama in history.
A year after the show’s launch, if you’re still reeling from that cliff-hanger ending, you’re not alone – we are too. Luckily, however, we have quite a bit of intel about what might go down in season two. Here’s everything we know so far…
Has The Last Of Us season 2 been confirmed?
Yes! The Last Of Us was so popular when it premiered on HBO in January 2023 that it was renewed for a second season before its third episode had even aired. Now that’s what we call a hit show.
Per Variety, executive producer Neil Druckmann – who was also the writer and creative director of the original PlayStation game – was understandably delighted with the show’s success, saying: ‘I’m humbled, honoured, 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!’
What will be the plot of The Last Of Us season 2?
Following the shock ending of season one, the fate of Joel, Ellie and humanity at large hangs in the balance – but for fans of the original game, it didn’t come as a surprise at all. The Last Of Us stayed incredibly faithful to the first PlayStation game, even recreating certain scenes down to the smallest detail.
The show’s co-creator Craig Mazin has strongly suggested he will follow suit with season two – meaning the plot is likely replicate that of the game’s Part II, which takes place five years later and centres around the now-19-year-old Ellie who is living with Joel in Jackson, Wyoming.
If you’re seriously set on ruining the entire (potential) plot for yourself, then here is a brief overview of what happens in The Last Of Us Part II. In the game, we follow Ellie on a mission of revenge after Joel is gruesomely murdered in front of her by a woman named Abby. Once their paths finally cross and Ellie meets her target, the timeline begins again – but this time, from Abby’s perspective. Part II plays with flashbacks and backstories, blurring the lines between which side is ‘good’ and ‘bad’, as Ellie struggles with losing herself to this mission of vengeance.
It’s not all bad news, however, as Mazin has also stated season two ‘will be different’ from the game’s Part II. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Mazin said: ‘Sometimes it will be different radically, and sometimes it will be [barely] different at all. But it’s going to be different and it will be its own thing. It won’t be exactly like the game.’
This will come as a relief for fans who were worried about having to say goodbye to Joel so soon. For what would The Last Of Us be without the glorious Pedro Pascal to wonder at? Here’s hoping his survival is one of the ‘radical differences’ Mazin was talking about.
Speaking recently with GQ, showrunner Neil Druckmann also seemed to confirm that the events of Part II will extend over ‘more than one’ season – meaning there will hopefully be plenty more episodes of The Last Of Us on the horizon.
Season two scripts are also yet to actually be completed, given that both Mazin and Druckmann had to pause their work on the show in adherence with the WGA writers strike guidelines. Speaking at a NAB panel in Las Vegas, Mazin confirmed that the second season is still in its script stage, but given the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, it seems unlikely that actors will be able to resume work on projects anytime soon.
Who will make up the cast of The Last Of Us season 2?
Let’s be honest, here: the main question is, will we be treated to more hours of gazing at Pedro Pascal in season two? Luckily, the answer is yes. Though, as mentioned before, we’re not sure for quite how long…
Bella Ramsey is also set to return as Ellie, as far as we know – largely due to comments made by Druckmann when speaking with Entertainment Weekly. ‘The only way we would ever, ever consider re-casting Bella is if she said “I don’t want to work with you guys anymore”’, he said. ‘And even then, we’re not sure we would grant her that. We might still force her to come back to season two.’
Booksmart actress Kaitlyn Dever is also confirmed to be joining season two as vengeful soldier Abby who, in the video game sequel The Last Of Us Part II, comes into deadly conflict with Ellie. In a press release accompanying the news of Dever’s casting, Mazin and Druckmann said: ‘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. 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.’
Is there a release date for The Last Of Us season 2?
Speaking at a recent press event in New York, HBO executive Casey Bloys, confirmed that the WGA writers strike had impacted production on the show, whose release date has as a result been moved back a year, according to Variety.
Ramsey told The Jonathan Ross Show earlier this year that filming hasn’t yet begun for season two, and so the show likely won’t premiere until ‘the end of 2024, early 2025’. Eek! In the meantime, we’ll be scouring the internet for clues of what to expect – and crossing our fingers that filming wraps miraculously ahead of schedule.
Is there a trailer for The Last Of Us season two?
Not yet, but watch this space.
Katie O’Malley is the Site Director on ELLE UK. On a daily basis you’ll find Katie managing all digital workflow, editing site, video and newsletter content, liaising with commercial and sales teams on new partnerships and deals (eg Nike, Tiffany & Co., Cartier etc), implementing new digital strategies and compiling in-depth data traffic, SEO and ecomm reports. In addition to appearing on the radio and on TV, as well as interviewing everyone from Oprah Winfrey to Rishi Sunak PM, Katie enjoys writing about lifestyle, culture, wellness, fitness, fashion, and more.