Renewed for the second season before the finale aired on HBO, The Last of Us is HBO’s highly-anticipated adaptation of the favorite and acclaimed Naughty Dog game. An American post-apocalyptic drama television series that was released on HBO Max on January 15th, 2023, The Last of Us is fully star-studded with Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey as Joel and Ellie.
Garnering the reputation of being one of the biggest new television shows of 2023, it is also touted as one of the greatest video game adaptations of all time. No matter where you are in this world, you surely can’t miss watching such a smash hit.
In the wake of its final episode, episode 9, being aired on HBO on March 12, 2023, in the US, fans are confounded about the arrival of season 2 and when the series hit the Netflix library. Unfortunately, we don’t seem to be nearing the release date of The Last of Us season 2 owing to the writers’ and actors’ strikes that have shut down the production schedules of some of the most popular shows.
Here’s what one of the most prominent actors of the series has to say about the same.
When can we expect The Last of Us season 2 to air on HBO?
The first season finale of The Last of Us aired on March 12, 2023, in the US and March 13th, 2023, in the UK. Although the second season is confirmed to air, HBO has not revealed its exact release date. We suspect that it will take quite some time before the second season begins airing.
In conversation with The Washington Post, executive producer of the show Craig Mazin revealed that it took them approximately 200 days to film the first season in Canada, not to mention the additional months for post-production. Digital Spy states, “In total, it took 18 months from the date when the first scene was shot to the launch of season one on January 15th, 2023.”
Based on this above-mentioned information, we can make an educated guess for determining the release schedule for season 2. However, we also need to take into consideration that the scripts need to be written, and the cast and crew need to be put in place. So, presuming the work begins by the end of 2023, we cannot expect the second season to air on HBO before the second quarter of 2025, provided that the strikes cease to continue and a fair deal is reached.
Actress Bella Ramsey confirmed the release window of The Last of Us season 2, saying:
“It will be a while. I think we’ll probably shoot at the end of this year, beginning of next. So it’ll probably be the end of 2024, early 2025.”
This was confirmed by the Head of HBO, Francesca Orci, who told Deadline that the second season is currently scheduled to air in 2025. However, owing to the current production status, this release schedule can also be pushed further.
But, owing to the failed negotiations between the writers and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the productions of a lot of high-grossing series and movies have been put on hold, including The Last of Us.
What is the production status of The Last of Us Season 2?
As mentioned previously, the production of this critically-acclaimed live-action adaptation of the video game has been put on hold owing to the two looming strikes and their failed negotiation with AMPTP.
Per Variety, the show had begun with the cast auditions in May but soon had to put the work on pause. As of now, no scripting is done, and it won’t even start until the writers’ strike ceases to continue.
As per the reports, The Last of Us Season 2 was supposed to start filming in early 2024, but given the current status, it doesn’t seem to materialize into reality anytime soon.
The Last of Us Season 2: What does Gabriel Luna have to say about the strikes?
Recently, in a conversation with Metro, Gabriel Luna, who plays Tommy in the series, commented about the current status of strikes and its impact on the series. Luna said:
‘I think it’s important for us to operate in the same way that we have [already]. We have to love it first, the way we did in that first season. And if we do that, and take great care, and commit to attention to detail in the way that we did, then one can only hope we will be able to maintain that quality.
‘We set a very high bar but we all are excited to clear it and raise it and continue to raise it.’
What can we expect to happen in The Last of Us Season 2?
In season 1, episode 8, ‘When we Are in Need’, a series of things ensure that make us question the state of humanity. While Ellie is hunting to get food, she encounters David and James, who offers her medicines in exchange for her captured meat. The next day, David and his men capture Ellie and take her to their place, where the former reveals his cavernous secrets. He reveals his cannibalistic inclination, which was completely satisfied in the dark. Ellie breaks his finger when he explains that she, too, like him, has a violent heart.
With the help of medicines, Joel is able to recover faster and soon begins his search for Ellie. Later, the viewers catch a glimpse of Joel torturing David’s men so that they can give him his whereabouts. In an interesting turn of events, Ellie murders James in self-defense, and now David is chasing her. To protect herself, Ellie murders David, too, with a butcher knife. Finally, Joel finds Ellie, and they both embrace each other in the wilderness, with the former appeasing the latter’s unstable emotional state.
After leaving things with so much tension, the season finale brings some fruition to this duo. From Ellie’s capture to David’s cannibalistic inclination, the eighth episode showcased a darker side of humanity that remains indelible in our minds. In the ninth episode, “Look for the Light”, the show underscores Joel and Ellie’s relationship as they depend upon each other more than ever as they survive in the wilderness.
Based on the above-mentioned information, we can suspect what can happen in the second season. As mentioned previously, the second season will presumably be based on The Last of Us Part II. Digital Spy contends, “It could be that the second season of the show will focus mainly on Ellie, Dina, Abby and possibly Tommy, with Joel appearing only in early episodes before he’s killed off or in flashbacks later on…”
Digital Spy’s contentions run parallel with the emphasis of The Last of Part II on Abby and Dina. Talking about Abby, Mazin said to Collider, “Anytime you talk about Abby, you start to excite certain corners of the internet. All I can say is that Neil and I will be adapting the story to television, as best we see fit. It seems likely that main characters that are crucial to the storyline would be portrayed, but no, right now, it’s too early for me to commit to anything in print, let’s put it that way.”
During an appearance on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Bella Ramsey expressed her excitement over exploring Ellie and Dina’s love story in season 2, including the impact it will have on Ellie’s relationship with Joel. She said, “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 the gameplay, like Ellie and Dina’s love story. So I’m excited to play that out.”
She further added, “[I’m excited by] the complexity of her relationship with Joel and how that gets decidedly more complex, and I’m looking forward to that. And the violence that ensues is thrilling, in a way. To get to maybe explore that in a really safe environment will be cool. But I am nervous about it, too.”
Interestingly, the creators of the show have hinted at a different Ellie who could emerge in season 2. In a conversation with Variety, Mazin stated, “We know what we’re going to do in terms of her costume and makeup and hair. But more importantly, we know the spirit and soul of the actor. She’s 19 now, which is the same age as Ellie in The Last of Us Part II… it will be different. It will be different just as this season was different. Sometimes it will be different radically… it won’t be exactly like the game. It will be the show that Neil and I want to make.”
The upcoming installment will reportedly dive deeper into the plot of the game, dealing with the exorbitant ramifications for those who are aware of what exactly happens between Joel and Ellie. In a conversation with Esquire, Bella Ramsey says, “If that does take place in the show I don’t know that I’m emotionally ready for it.”
As Esquire mentions, The Last of Us Part II is “more polarizing for audiences,”, especially for those who conform to Joel’s actions. In conversation with L’Officiel, Ramsey said, “It’s like the trolley problem. I don’t really know what I’d do. It depends on who the person was and it depends on how messed up humanity is, but I can see why Joel did what he did. Me as Bella, I’m not mad about it or mad at him, but Ellie is mad obviously because [being the cure] was her purpose. That’s what she was. She felt like she actually mattered and, ironically, Joel took away that purpose from her because she mattered so much to him.”
Who are the cast members of The Last of Us Season 2?
It’s a little tricky to determine the arrival of new characters, not only because of the paucity of information but also owing to the plot of the first game, as a majority of the first season was dependent on that. Speaking to Consequence, Mazin stated, “The first season is the events of the first game. And if you have played the game, you can tell from watching the marketing materials that we’re also covering the events of the Left Behind DLC.”
Considering that the first season has included a majority of the events played in the first game, we speculate that the second season will be based on the groundwork laid by The Last of Us Part II. The second game features both Joel and Ellie, leading us to conclude the return of Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey. The second part of the game begins with a five-year time-lapse, which would suggest the arrival of grizzled hair for Pascal. This also means that Bella Ramsey would get the chance to play the role closer to her own age than she did in season one.
We suspect Joel’s brother Tommy, played by Gabriel Luna to also reprise his role in the second season. The Last of Us Part II also introduces a new lead called Abby Anderson and Ellie’s girlfriend, Dina. Their roles remain to be cast, along with the following characters (courtesy of Digital Spy):
- Jesse (Dina’s ex-boyfriend)
- Owen (Abby’s ex-boyfriend)
- Lev and Yara (siblings who have been denounced by the Seraphite cult and who team up with Abby)
While talking about the upcoming installment of The Last of Us and whether it runs parallel to the video game’s sequel installment, which underscores Joel’s demise, Pascal says, “I don’t know. I think Part Two has more leeway. It seemed to be a different immersive experience, while things must happen for the central narrative to occur. It seems it’s a little bit more open. That means I don’t…know.” (Variety)
When was The Last of Us officially renewed for a second season?
Before the finale of the first season aired, creator Neil Druckmann wrote on Twitter that “Season 2 is already on its way! Endure or survive” Along with the news, Druckmann also shared a picture of a jacked forearm holding a hammer over the fire. Any guesses who that jacked forearm belongs to?
No TLoU on HBO tonight. But Season 2 is already on its way! Endure & survive! pic.twitter.com/87bKKCDBeO
— Neil Druckmann (@Neil_Druckmann) March 19, 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. 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!”
Along with Druckmann, executive producer and series Craig Mazin is also set to resume his duties for the second season. Expressing his endearment on second season renewal, Mazin 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.”
Speaking to Deadline after the finale, showrunner Craig Mazin shares his insights regarding the future of The Last of Us and says, “Even though we were green lit for a season of television, Neil and I felt like we couldn’t just make a season of television without considering what would come after. There is more The Last of Us to come.”
Will there be The Last of Us Season 3?
As per the series plans disclosed by Pedro Pascal, the plot of The Last of Us season 2 will follow the plot exactly delineated by the game. Resultantly, the question of running out of content for the series arises. Per Deadline, co-showrunner Craig Mazin revealed their future plans regarding the series to a panel in Las Vegas, saying, “Our plan is to do it not just for one more season. We should be around for a while.”
Not only that, but earlier, he had also revealed to IndieWire, “Even though we were greenlit for a season of television, Neil and I felt like we can’t just make a season of television without considering what would come after. There is more The Last of Us to come. And I think the balance is not always just about within an episode or even episode to episode but season a season.”
Based on these responses, we can conclude that the fate of the show is not sealed by the second season. There is indeed more of The Last of Us that could be potentially based on the original stories in other stories that are beyond the material provided in the game. The showrunners could actually create a whole other world of Last of Us stories.
For more release date updates on The Last of Us Season 2, stay tuned to Web News Observer!