The Last of Us is undoubtedly the biggest show of 2023 so far. The hit HBO series, based on the Naughty Dog game, has become a rating juggernaut for the network. The penultimate episode of season 1 notched 8.1 million viewers, up 74% from its series debut.
The season 1 finale aired on March 12 and set the stage for what’s to come in season 2. Joel and Ellie finally made it to the Fireflies, but their journey didn’t end as they were expecting. Ellie was going to have to die in hopes of finding a cure, and Joel refused to let that happen. He went on a hospital massacre to save Ellie and eventually killed Marlene to protect her. When Ellie asked Joel for the truth about what happened, he lied to her face. Joel’s shocking actions showcased the depths people will go to for those they love.
So, what do we know about The Last of Us season 2? From a possible release date to that Abby rumor, HollywoodLife has rounded up all the latest news about the second season.
The Last Of Us Season 2 Release Date
HBO has not announced a release date for the second season of The Last of Us. As of March 2023, the show has not started filming season 2. Given the time required for filming, it’s likely that The Last of Us season 2 won’t premiere until late 2024 or even 2025. Pedro Pascal told Collider that “there is a chance” that season 2 would start filming in 2023.
The hit show was renewed for season 2 on January 27, 2023. “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,” executive producer Neil Druckmann said in a statement. “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!”
Fellow EP Craig Mazin also said, “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.”
Will Ellie Be Recast?
There’s been speculation online that the role of Ellie could be recast because The Last of Us Part II, which will play out in season 2, jumps 5 years ahead after Part I. Ellie matures a lot during that time jump, which is shown in the game. Some fans have been thinking that Bella Ramsey could be replaced with an older actor.
Craig noted that Bella is currently 19 years old, which is Ellie’s age in Part II. He confirmed that Bella will return in season 2 as Ellie. “We are making it with Bella,” he said in a virtual press conference, according to Variety.
Neil added, “We are extremely lucky to have Bella and the stuff you saw throughout this entire season. The only way we would ever, ever consider recasting Bella is if she said, ‘I don’t want to work with you guys anymore.’ Even then, I’m not sure we would grant her that. We might still force her to come back to season 2.”
Craig also pointed out that there will continue to be changes from the game to the screen. The show will not be a carbon copy of the game. “People were like, ‘She doesn’t look like the character.’ It doesn’t matter. Just watch what happens,” he said. “I think there is still this anxiety, like, this constant drumbeat of anxiety. All I can say to people is: I have so much anxiety myself, about doing a good job on this. Just know, I am also very anxious. If you’re anxious about something, I’m probably anxious about it, which means we’re talking about it and thinking about it. We will present things, but it will be different, just as this season was different. Sometimes it will be different radically, and sometimes it will be barely different at all, but it’s going to be different. It will be its own thing. It won’t be exactly like the game. It will be the show that Neil and I want to make.”
The Last Of Us Season 2 Cast
With Bella returning as Ellie, there’s no doubt that Pedro will be back as Joel. Since Joel and Ellie were traveling back to Tommy’s settlement in Jackson, Wyoming, you can expect Gabriel Luna and Rutina Wesley to return as Tommy and Maria.
Fans assume that the key roles of Abby and Dina will be featured heavily in season 2. Some fans believe that the young girl looking at Ellie when she arrives at Tommy’s settlement in episode 6 is Dina, played by Paolina van Kleef. HBO has not confirmed whether or not that character is Dina or not.
The role of Abby will be a major one in The Last of Us, and the season 1 finale actually set up her introduction. When Joel went on his killing rampage at the hospital to save Ellie, he killed a doctor who was about to perform surgery on Ellie to try and find a cure for the cordyceps infection. In The Last of Us Part II, that doctor is Jerry Anderson, Abby’s father. Abby vows to avenge her father’s death and what she does to do that will make her one of TV’s most controversial characters.
Abby hasn’t officially been cast yet, but fans are convinced that The Wilds alum Shannon Berry will play the character in the HBO series. It’s not just because they’re physically similar. Neil Druckmann has followed Shannon on Instagram, according to Forbes, and Shannon has followed Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsey, Neil, and The Last of Us Instagram accounts.
What Will Happen In Season 2?
We won’t get into major spoiler territory here, but the official synopsis from PlayStation for The Last of Us Part II reads, “Five years after their dangerous journey across the post-pandemic United States, Ellie and Joel have settled down in Jackson, Wyoming. Living amongst a thriving community of survivors has allowed them peace and stability, despite the constant threat of the infected and other, more desperate survivors. When a violent event disrupts that peace, Ellie embarks on a relentless journey to carry out justice and find closure. As she hunts those responsible one by one, she is confronted with the devastating physical and emotional repercussions of her actions.”
Bella, who identifies as nonbinary and uses any pronouns, revealed on the Happy Sad Confused podcast that she’s “really excited” to watch the Ellie and Dina story unfold. “I’ve watched a cut together, someone’s made a phenomenal – I don’t know how they do it – like an amazing edit of just like the gameplay, like Ellie and Dina’s love story. So I’m excited to play that out,” she said.
The actor is also looking forward to exploring Ellie’s “complexity of her relationship with Joel and how that gets decidedly more complex… And the violence that ensues is thrilling in a way, to get to maybe explore that in a really safe environment. It will be cool. But I am nervous about it too. Like I’m nervous about, because I know what happens in the second game and I’m nervous about being potentially without Pedro for a while. It’s gonna be really sad.”
When it comes to the infected, expect more in season 2. “It’s quite possible that there will be a lot more infected later. And perhaps different kinds,” Craig said in the press conference.
Will There Be A Season 3?
HBO has not revealed exactly how many seasons The Last of Us will have. There is no The Last of Us Part III game, but the showrunners could extend the Part II storyline over several seasons.
“I remember, early on, I asked Craig and HBO, ‘How many episodes does this season need to be?’ And the answer was, ‘As many as the story requires, and no more.’ And likewise, that would be our approach for future seasons to say, ‘Okay, this will be as many seasons as required to reach that ending, and no more,’” Neil told Collider. HollywoodLife will keep you updated on the latest The Last of Us season 2 news.