Video game adaptations have failed to live up to the expectations of gamers for decades. That’s why it’s so refreshing that HBO’s The Last of Us not only captures the spirit of the game that inspired it, but the show also stands as a work of art in its own right. This series has completely redefined what a video game adaptation can be, thanks in large part to the showrunners, Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann. Mazin previously created the critically acclaimed Chernobyl miniseries for HBO, while Druckmann co-created The Last of Us video game franchise.
Fans are going to have to wait at least another year for The Last of Us season 2 to arrive. But now that the show is inching closer to restarting production, we’re able to share everything we know about The Last of Us season 2. Next season, the series continues the story of Joel and Ellie while also introducing some important characters from the second game, The Last of Us Part II.
Who’s coming back for The Last of Us season 2?
Series stars Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey will return as Joel and Ellie. Gabriel Luna will also reprise his role as Joel’s brother, Tommy. There may be more returning cast members, but these are the three who are confirmed for now.
Who’s joining the cast in The Last of Us season 2?
So far, three major cast additions have been announced for the second season. The most prominent newcomer is Kaitlyn Dever, who will portray Abby Anderson, one of the major characters from The Last of Us Part II. Abby is a co-lead character in the sequel, and she is a divisive figure among fans for certain actions that she takes during the game. Abby has a deadly grudge against Joel, and in turn, Ellie has very good reasons to hate Abby. The show’s official casting breakdown describes Abby as “a skilled soldier whose black-and-white view of the world is challenged as she seeks vengeance for those she loved.”
Ironically, Dever was considered for the role of Ellie before she aged out of it. As a younger actress, Dever wowed viewers of FX’s Justified with her performance as Loretta McCready in season 2, and during her sporadic appearances afterwards. Dever also landed a supporting role in Tim Allen’s sitcom Last Man Standing before she took a more dramatic role in Hulu’s Dopesick. Dever has also had leading roles in Booksmart, Rosaline, and Hulu’s well-reviewed sci-fi horror film No One Will Save You.
Isabela Merced has also been cast as Dina, a young woman who forms a romantic bond with Ellie. Like Dever, Merced is a former child actress who has transitioned to more mature roles. Merced headlined Nickelodeon’s 100 Things to Do Before High School series before landing roles in Sweet Girl (pictured above), Transformers: The Last Knight, Instant Family, and Sicario: Day of the Soldado.
Merced was also involved in the Dora the Explorer franchise as the voice of Kate in Dora and Friends: Into the City! before portraying Dora in the live-action film Dora and the Lost City of Gold. Merced’s upcoming films include Madame Web and Alien: Romulus.
Beef co-star Young Mazino has been cast as Dina’s ex-boyfriend, Jesse. The casting announcement calls Jesse “a pillar of his community who puts everyone else’s needs before his own, sometimes at terrible cost.” Beef was Mazino’s most prominent part to date, and it earned him an Emmy nomination for his portrayal of Paul. Prior to that Mazino primarily had guest-starring roles in New Amsterdam, Blue Bloods, and Prodigal Son.
Will The Last of Us season 2 cover the events of the second game?
Unsurprisingly, the second season will be directly based on The Last of Us Part II. However, unlike the first season, multiple seasons will be used to adapt the long narrative of Part II. In March 2023, Druckmann told GQ that “some of the stuff I’m most excited for [in Part II] are the changes we’ve discussed and seeing the story come to life again in this other version. And I think it’s exciting because it leans into those feelings you had from the game, really heavily, in a new way.”
Earlier in 2023, Mazin told Gizmodo, “I think that the amount of story that remains that we have not covered would be more than a season of television. So assuming we can keep going forward, the idea would be to do more than just one more season. But this isn’t the kind of show that is going to be seven seasons.”
If Naughty Dog produces The Last of Us Part III, this series will presumably adapt that game as well. Although the sales of Part II make The Last of Us Part III a no-brainer, it’s been four years since the first sequel was released and yet there’s been no official word about a follow up game yet.
When will The Last of Us season 2 begin filming?
Very soon. While the official start date of production is February 12 in British Columbia and Vancouver, many of the cast members are already in Canada. A Vancouver restaurant called Zarak recently shared an image of Ramsey, Mazino, and Merced with The Last of Us executive producers Mazin and Jacqueline Lesko, alongside two of Zarak’s employees.
Pedro Pascal was recently seen with his arm in a sling at the Emmy Awards due to a shoulder injury. That may be why he isn’t present in the picture above. However, Pascal’s injury is not expected to derail production of the second season, which will run through September 9.
Who is directing The Last of Us season 2?
Mazin and Druckmann will once again direct episodes in season 2, and so will returning director Peter Hoar. Via Deadline, this season’s new directors include Mark Mylod, who recently won an Emmy for HBO’s Succession. Two other HBO veteran directors have also joined up for The Last of Us season 2: Nina Lopez-Corrado (Perry Mason) and Stephen Williams (Watchmen). The final director, Kate Herron, helmed episodes of Marvel’s Loki series.
When will The Last of Us season 2 premiere?
The Last of Us season 2 will premiere on HBO in 2025. We don’t have a specific date yet.