First Look: HBO’s ‘The Last Of Us’ Season 2
— 17 May 2024

First Look: HBO’s ‘The Last Of Us’ Season 2

— 17 May 2024
Garry Lu
Garry Lu

Whether you care to admit it or not, The Last of Us season 2 was always inevitable.

Aside from the PlayStation franchise’s monster following and consistently outstanding reception from critics and fans alike, currently, the video game adaptation helmed by Craig Mazin (Chernobyl) and Neil Druckmann (Naughty Dog) is virtually unrivalled when it comes to HBO viewership numbers.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, as of the finale, The Last of Us has surpassed the number of eyeballs attracted by the much-hyped Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon: 30.4 million average viewers per episode versus 29 million average viewers per episode.

RELATED: How Much Does Pedro Pascal Earn For HBO’s ‘The Last Of Us’?

“The Last of Us’ cumulative audience of 30.4 million is the biggest for any HBO series since the final season of Game of Thrones,” explains Rick Porter of THR.

“[Which] averaged better than 44 million viewers over its run in 2019 (its seventh season in 2017 came in at 32.5 million viewers). Thrones concluded a year before HBO Max launched, and its viewership tilted somewhat more toward the cable channel.”

Anyway, here’s everything we know about The Last of Us season 2 so far (first-look images and all).

Everything We Know About The Last Of Us Season 2

HBO's The Last Of Us Season 2

Has The Last of Us season 2 been confirmed by HBO?

Before that masterfully crafted third episode of season 1 featuring Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett (S01E03 — ‘Long, Long Time’) even had a chance to premiere, in light of the aforementioned impressive viewership figures and universal acclaim the series had already garnered, The Last of Us was officially renewed for season 2.

“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,” said HBO series co-creator, video game co-creator, & Naughty Dog President Neil Druckmann.

“The collaboration with Craig Mazin, our incredible cast and 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!”

“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,” said co-creator, executive producer, and showrunner Craig Mazin.

“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.”

But a sophomore instalment might just be the tip of the iceberg…

The Last of Us: Part II needs “more than one” season, says Neil Druckmann

This past week, Druckmann admitted the events of The Last Of Us: Part II game will require a lengthier runtime than the first season

“No. No way. It’s more than one season,” he told GQ when prompted about adapting the sequel into a single season’s worth of television.

While neither Druckmann nor Mazin would disclose the exact plan, the latter did add the following: “You have noted correctly that we will not say how many. But more than one is factually correct.”

So… at least three seasons?

What will the second season of The Last of Us be about?

HBO's The Last Of Us Season 2

[Major Spoilers]

The season 1 finale answered an extremely important question about Ellie (more specifically, about her immunity to the Cordyceps infection). You can get up to speed on all the details here.

“Our doctor, he thinks that the cordyceps in Ellie has grown with her since birth. It produces a kind of chemical messenger. It makes normal Cordyceps think that she’s Cordyceps,” Marlene (Merle Dandridge), leader of the Fireflies resistance movement, told Joel (Pedro Pascal).

“It’s why she’s immune. He’s gonna remove it from her, multiply the cells in a lab, produce those chemical messengers, and then we can give it to everyone.”

Of course, once Joel realises formulating a vaccine to cure the world would kill Ellie in the process, he violently dispatches the entire Fireflies enclave — everyone from your nameless guard, Marlene herself, and a certain surgeon (more on this later).

When Ellie awakens from the anaesthetic, Joel feeds her a lie: the Fireflies had already failed to develop a cure from the biological materials of other immune people.

RELATED: ‘House Of The Dragon’ Season 2 Premieres Next Month — Here’s The Full-Length Trailer

[Final Spoiler Warning]

As game players will gleefully tell you, there are dire consequences to Joel’s actions in the season 1 finale.

Not only does the revelation of the lie create a considerable rift in Joel and Ellie’s relationship, but there’s hell to pay for after executing Fireflies surgeon Jacob Anderson.

The Last of Us: Part II opens with Jacob’s daughter Abby seeking revenge. Joel and Tommy are ambushed by her militia group the Washington Liberation Front (WLF) — comprised of former Fireflies — and Abby beats Joel to death.

Ellie enters the fray just in time to witness the carnage and vows to exact her own vengeance, thus continuing the cycle of violence.

“It will be different just as this season was different [from the first game],” hinted Craig Mazin.

“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.”

HBO's The Last Of Us Season 2

Addressing the (misguided) complaints about the lack of Clickers along with a desire for more action, Mazin and Druckmann have also assured the public it’s on the docket.

“Ultimately, we generally stressed the power of relationships and trying to find significance within moments of action. And so there may be less action than some people wanted because we couldn’t necessarily find significance for quite a bit of it, or [there was] concern that it would be repetitive,” said Mazin.

“After all, you’re not playing it, you’re watching it. And although a lot of people do like to watch gameplay, it needs to be a little more focused and purposeful when we’re putting it on TV.”

IGN has predicted how The Last of Us season 2 will unfold episode by episode:

  • Episode 1 — Jackson Part 1
  • Episode 2 — Jackson Part 2
  • Episode 3 — Goodbye Jackson, Hello Seattle
  • Episode 4 — Eastbrook Elementary & Channel 12 TV Station
  • Episode 5 — The Birthday Gift
  • Episode 6 — Hillcrest & Hospital
  • Episode 7 — Road To The Aquarium & Joel’s Truth Flashback
  • Episode 8 — Abby’s Reveal & Return

RELATED: ‘Euphoria’ Season 3 Delayed Indefinitely As Cast Hits A-List Status

Do we know The Last of Us season 2 cast members?

HBO's The Last Of Us Season 2

Given both Joel and Ellie are featured in the second game, one far more prominently than the other, Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey are obviously set to return. You can also expect Gabriel Luna to reprise his role as Joel’s brother Tommy, Rutina Wesley as Tommy’s pregnant wife Maria, and Catherine O’Hara in an undisclosed guest role.

Despite the five-year time jump between the first game and second game, which they’ll adhere to for the two seasons, Bella Ramsey won’t be recast.

In fact, by the time season 2 rolls around, she’ll finally be playing her own age for the older iteration of Ellie (20 years old). Meaning they can ditch the chest binder for good.

“Let’s put this thing to rest,” Neil Druckmann said during a press conference (via Entertainment Weekly).

“One of the things about the casting process that’s tough is that we invite people to join us on this process, and we know everything [about the secrets of the production] and nobody else knows anything except what they know, which is the game,” explained Craig Mazin.

“We know what we’re gonna do in terms of costume and makeup and hair, but more importantly, we also know the spirit and soul of the actor.”

Mazin added: “It won’t be exactly like the game. It will be the show that Neil and I want to make. But we are making it with Bella.”

“When we made the game, I felt we were incredibly lucky. It was like lightning in the bottle that we found Ashley Johnson and I can’t imagine that version of Ellie being anybody else. And then somehow we got lightning in the bottle again with Bella,” said Neil Druckmann.

“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. And even then, we’re not sure we would grant her that. We might still force her to come back to season 2.”

The Last of Us season 2 cast will also have to include actors for the following key characters:

  • Abby (the major villain/adversary)
  • Dina (Ellie’s girlfriend) — a role since assigned to Isabela Merced of Madam Web fame
  • Jesse (Dina’s ex-boyfriend) — a role since assigned to Young Mazino of Netflix’s BEEF fame
  • Owen (Abby’s ex-boyfriend)
  • Lev & Yara (siblings denounced by the Seraphite cult who eventually ally themselves with Abby)

And as of January 2024, we know who’s landed the role of Abby.

UPDATE [17/4/2024]: Danny Ramirez has been cast as Manny, a loyal soldier who fears failing his friends; Ariela Barer as Mel, a doctor committed to her role while struggling with the realities of war; Tati Gabrielle as Nora, a military medic who has difficulty accepting her past behaviour; and Spencer Lord as Owen, a gentle person whose physical strength forces him to fight enemies he does not hate.

It’s all about Abby

Over the past year, fans have already pitched potential actresses to portray Abby: namely Katy O’Brian (Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantamania, Love Lies Bleeding) and Shannon Berry (The Wilds).

Berry was the closest thing we have to a frontrunner for screen Abby, and not just because of her uncanny resemblance. Eagle-eyed netizens have noticed Neil Druckmann followed her on Instagram. What’s more, Berry herself followed Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal.

In August 2023, during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Craig Mazin — who began blushing when prompted about the matter — hinted that Abby had officially been cast.

“Maybe [Laughs.]… The strike stopped us in our tracks. Things were in process,” he said.

“Look, Abby was the first role that we wanted to tackle. We’ve got a pretty good track record of making major cast announcements and people going, Really?’ which will probably continue. So people may disagree.”

“But I think we got it right so far and the audience seems to feel we got it right and the Academy seems to feel we got it right.” 

Now, we can confirm the recent rumours that Kaitlyn Dever has been cast in the role of Abby.

Incidentally, this won’t be the first time the actress of Booksmart, Unbelievable, and Dopesick fame has come into contact with Naughty Dog. Dever previously provided the voice and motion capture performance for Cassie Drake in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.

Now, all that’s left to do for Ms Dever is to hit the gym and bulk up.

When is The Last of Us season 2 release date?

During an earlier interview with Collider, Pedro Pascal hinted at the possibility of cameras rolling for season 2 before the end of 2023:

“Yes, there is a chance. Yes.”

The now-resolved Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA strikes, however, ensured that the aforementioned “chance” dropped to zero.

During a press conference, HBO boss Casey Bloys announced The Last of Us season 2 would enter production in early 2024 (i.e. now).

Season 1 was filmed across 200 days with around 18–19 days per episode (amounting to 2–3 pages of script per day). Assuming they follow the same pace/production timeline, early-to-mid 2025 is the earliest season 2 will arrive.

We’ll keep you updated on news regarding The Last of Us season 2 release date as soon as we hear something.

Do we have The Last of Us season 2 trailer yet?

At this stage, similar to the release date, we don’t have an official trailer for The Last of Us season 2. But we do have first-look images of Pascal’s Joel and Ramsey’s Ellie in the forthcoming episodes (see: above and below).

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Garry Lu
After stretching his legs with companies such as The Motley Fool and the odd marketing agency, Garry joined Boss Hunting in 2019 as a fully-fledged Content Specialist. In 2021, he was promoted to News Editor. Garry proudly retains a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, black bruises from Muay Thai, as well as a black belt in all things pop culture. Drop him a line at [email protected]


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