HBO’s The Last of Us – starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey – took a shotgun blast at the idea that video games can’t make good adaptations, blasted it in the face and buried it in a shallow grave.
The dream team of Chernobyl’s Craig Mazin and The Last of Us co-creator Neil Druckmann brought the 2013 game to life on the small screen in nine episodes of mushrooming and goodbyes.
The fungal monsters of Cordyceps infection shuffled back to their graves as Season 1 drew to a close, but with HBO already confirming The Last of Us season 2, we know they’ll be spreading their tendrils again soon.
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With that in mind, here’s everything we know about the cast, plot, release date, and more of The Last of Us season 2
The cast of The Last of Us Season 2
Front and center will be Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal back as Ellie and Joel. The Cordyceps-immune bully and her graying-haired traveling companion are the core of this world, and with the finale, in which Joel saves Ellie from the fireflies, they’ve solidified themselves as adoptive father and daughter.
Despite some backlash over Ramsey’s casting, Druckmann said they were “extremely happy to have Bella,” saying at a press conference ahead of the finale (via IGN), “The only way we would ever consider recasting Bella would be when she said, ‘I don’t want to work with you guys anymore.’
“Even then, I’m not sure we would allow her that. We could still force them to come back for Season 2.”
As for complaints that Ramsey will be “too young” to play Ellie due to a time jump between games, Mazin assured Deadline, “She was 17 when she came to us.
“She’s only, she’s 19 now. Which, by the way, is Ellie’s age in The Last of Us, Part II. People said, ‘She doesn’t look like it [Ellie]. I think it doesn’t matter. Just watch what happens.”
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Following the games plot, we can also expect to see more of Gabriel Luna’s Tommy. Joel’s younger brother appeared in the season premiere and returned in Episode 6. Here Tommy had settled in the peaceful community of Jackson and married a woman named Maria (Rutina Wesley).
In a speech at SXSW (via Variety), Luna said he refreshed Part II and explained how Toomy will undergo a “de-evolution.”
The season finale ended with Ellie and Joel returning to Jackson, and with the shocking revelation that Maria was pregnant, we’re sure to see more of Wesley. Eagle-eyed fans also noticed a wink you’ll miss, from a girl they think could be Ellie’s love interest, Dina. After Druckmann had a cryptic insinuation that this was the case Diana on Twittersleuths discovered that she was being played by a relatively unknown actress named Paolina van Kleef.
In terms of the major villains, Abby Anderson’s cast is the most important. The video game version of Abby is originally a main antagonist but becomes a secondary protagonist and a playable character. Although there was a fan campaign for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Florence Pugh to play the muscular menace, Druckmann followed suit Shannon Berry from the wild It caused quite a stir on Instagram that she was cast to play Abby.
The story of the second season of The Last of Us
The first season of The Last of Us was an almost perfect adaptation of the first game, while the season finale timed right after the end of the first game. Assuming we get a similar time jump, season two will begin four years after Joel’s attack on the Fireflies, with him and Ellie Jackson calling home.
Speaking of Jackson, it looks like Dina and Ellie are on the verge of romance. Speaking of their union, Ramsey told the Happy Sad Confused podcast, “To be honest I’m really excited about the Ellie/Dina story Do It – like an amazing edit of just the gameplay, like Ellie and Dina’s love story. So I’m looking forward to playing that.
Despite the acclaimed Episode 3 being bombarded by critics (currently ranked as season one’s worst) and similar backlash over Ellie and Riley’s (Storm Reid) relationship, Ramsey takes a strong stand against homophobia and champions the introduction of transgender character named Lev. The star told GQ: “If you don’t want to watch the show because it has gay storylines, because it has a trans character, that’s on you and you’re missing out. It won’t scare me. I think that comes from a place of defiance.”
This is where it gets complicated. Since Part II is a much larger game, Druckmann and Mazin have already confirmed that its storyline will span at least two seasons. When GQ asked after the finale how many seasons it would take to adapt Part II, Mazin threw fuel on the fire that there could even be a mythical third season of The Last of Us, saying, “You rightly pointed out that we will not say how many. But more than one is factually correct.”
We’re not going to go too much into spoiler territory, but if Part II were split across two seasons, it would properly set the Season 2 finale up for a grand death from the games.
Mazin warned ComicBook.com, “It will be different. Just like this season was different,” but we expect beats like the deaths of key characters to play out the same way. Mazin defended differences like Bill and Frank’s revised story from season one, adding, “It’s not going to be exactly like the game. It’s going to be the show that Neil and I want to do.”
The Last of Us season 2 release date
If you look at the history of prestige HBO shows, the time frame of seasons one to two is usually between 1.5 and 2 years. Mazin confirmed to the Washington Post that filming took 200 days and said it had a “feature-film-like production schedule,” while post-production meant it took 18 months from filming scene one to the series debut.
After The Last of Us broke HBO viewership records, the network (unsurprisingly) renewed the series for its second season in January 2023. Giving Collider a glimmer of hope that filming could begin in 2023, Pascal simply said, “Yes, there is a chance. Yes.”
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As HBO shows like Game of Thrones have proven, there can sometimes be long waits between seasons, and to be honest, we wouldn’t expect The Last of Us season 2 until mid-2024…if not 2025.
Keep in mind that season one has been pushed back to 2023 from its expected 2022 release. However, rest assured that the next batch of Episodes in the Dark will grow like a harvest of dormant infected.
The Last Of Us S1 is streaming NOW with an Entertainment membership. Watch a clip below.