Here’s Everything We Know So Far About The Last of Us Season 2

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Prepare for more of those clicker sounds bouncing around your brain. After setting HBO viewership records, zombie apocalypse thriller The Last of Us is headed for a second season, bringing Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal back as emotionally traumatized psuedo-father-daughter duo Ellie and Joel.

The HBO adaptation is the media giant’s second largest debut, falling only behind Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon in viewership, and having experienced a 22 percent audience jump from its first episode to its second. (That’s the biggest increase for an HBO original drama in history.) Suffice to say folks are invested in the adaptation of the PlayStation series, which itself has sold millions of copies across two games.

Upon HBO’s greenlighting season 2, executive producer and show co-creator Craig Mazin released the following statement: “I’m so grateful to [co-creator and original game developer] 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.”

Throughout its nine episodes, season 1 remained largely faithful to the 2013 game, even re-creating some scenes essentially image for image. But season 2 is more of an enigma, given the source material upon which it’d hypothetically be based: The Last of Us Part II, the sequel set several years after the events of Part I. After bringing the video game’s controversial (and, to be fair, beloved) cliffhanger ending to the screen in the season 1 finale, the showrunners are already jumping into the fray on season 2. Here’s what we know so far.

What will season 2 of The Last of Us be about?

Mazin has made his intentions clear: he wants to adapt Part II, and he wants to do it with Ramsey as Ellie. In an interview with ELLE.com in January, he said, “To get to the end of the story in the time that we need to take to get to the proper end would be awesome. If I got to work on a set with Bella Ramsey every day for the rest of my life, I’d be thrilled.”

Ramsey is also eager to return to the role, telling ELLE.com, “There’s no limits for me. They can do as many games as they like, as many series as they like, and I’ll be here, flying back out to Canada.”

But what exactly that means for season 2 is as yet unclear. Part II takes a multi-year time jump, introducing fans to Ellie at the age of 19. (She was 14 in Part I.) The story follows the now-adult Ellie as she hunts down a stranger known as Abby, following her and her faction across the country to the ruined outskirts of Seattle. The game is viscerally violent, even more so than Part I, though that’s not the only potential issue impacting a sophomore season of the HBO series. Perhaps the most immediate question deals with time. Might season 2 explore the period between Part I and II, and an eventual season 3 adapt Part II directly? Or will the show dive directly into Part II, styling Ramsey to look her own age?

What we do know is that the next season won’t be able to cover the entirety of Part II. When asked how the second game would be adapted for TV, Druckman coyly replied to GQ, “It’s more than one season.” He didn’t share more after that. “You have noted correctly that we will not say how many,” Mazin jokingly added. “But more than one is factually correct.”

Season 2 “will be different” from Part II, Mazin told Entertainment Weekly in a post-finale interview, “just as this season was different [from the first game]. 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. It won’t be exactly like the game.”

Other questions abound, most of them in the spoiler territory (so I’ll keep my speculating vague). Fans found multiple major plot developments in Part II difficult to watch, and transferring those scenes to the screen could prove a particular challenge for Mazin and Druckmann. There’s also an essential perspective shift that takes place midway through Part II, one that forces the player’s empathy to realign with a different character. Replicating that same impact in a live-action adaptation will be tricky, though not impossible, to perfect.

Who will be in the cast? Will Bella Ramsey’s role as Ellie be recast?

On the Happy Sad Confused podcast with Josh Horowitz in February, Ramsey seemed to confirm that the show would take a time jump between seasons 1 and 2—and that she’d be a part of the production. She shared that she will “be 20, probably” by the time season 2 begins production, “and I’ll be playing 19. So yeah, I will be closer to my age.”

In the post-finale interview with Entertainment Weekly, Mazin batted away any ideas of recasting Ellie, and teased a more mature look for Ramsey. “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,” he said.

Ramsey and Pascal, then, seem guaranteed to return to their roles, but the rest of the cast announcements remain completely under wraps. (Even Merle Dandridge is open to the eye of returning to her role as Marlene in a potential flashback. She told ELLE.com, “You never know! That show is so non-linear!”) And a few talented stunt performers and extras will get the chance to embody clickers once again: Mazin teased during a press conference that “it’s quite possible that there will be a lot more infected later” in season 2. “And perhaps different kinds.”

In the meantime, avoid searching out potential cast lists unless you want to endure a lot of spoilers.

When will season 2 of The Last of Us come out?

Unfortunately, we have no idea. The Last of Us season 1 took about a year to film, starting in July 2021, and then took an additional half a year to debut on HBO. If Mazin and Druckmann follow a similar pattern in adapting Part II—and it could easily take much longer—the earliest season 2 would arrive is late 2024 or early 2025. But HBO has yet to confirm.

This story will be updated.

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Culture Writer

Lauren Puckett-Pope is a staff culture writer at ELLE, where she primarily covers film, television and books. She was previously an associate editor at ELLE. 

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