Good news for fans of The Last of Us! Now that the SAG-AFTRA strike has ended, productions are starting back up. And that includes The Last of Us Season 2. Filming on the second season is supposed to begin on January 8 and continue through July 31, 2024 in Vancouver.
When The Last of Us premiered earlier this year, fans quickly became invested in Joel and Ellie’s journey. As the show is based on a popular video game series, some fans have an inkling of what’s to come. However, others are eagerly awaiting the surprises the second season might bring.
While this year’s Hollywood strikes have impacted the original schedule for the series, Neil Druckmann, the video game’s creator and co-showrunner, confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that the second season has already been outlined, and they were ready to proceed once circumstances allow. Additionally, HBO had also announced that the series would be a priority as soon as the SAG-AFTRA strike was resolved. And now that the strike has ended, The Last of Us is expected to be put ahead of all new development projects for the network.
So, with production for a second schedule, here’s what we know about The Last of Us Season 2. Watch out, there may be spoilers ahead from season one.
Warner Bros. Confirms The Last of Us Season 2
With a show that’s so popular, it’s not hard to see why Warner Bros. gave the go signal for season two. The studio greenlit The Last of Us Season 2 after two episodes of the first season aired. The show, based on a popular video game, received a record high in viewers with 8.2 million people tuning in to watch.
Executive Producer Neil Druckmann expressed thanks for the reception of the show in a statement. “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 and crew, and HBO exceeded my already very 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 and PlayStation, thank you!” said Druckmann.
The record-high viewership wasn’t the only thing The Last of Us received upon its premiere. It also received 24 Emmy nominations for the 2023 Emmy Awards. The show is even up for Best Drama Series at the Emmys.
Who Will Be in The Last of Us Season 2?
Aside from Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, Gabriel Luna as Tommy, and Rutina Wesley as Maria are expected to be back for season two. As for the new characters, such as Abby and Dina, casting is currently paused due to the ongoing strikes. However, The Last of Us is faced with a challenge for season two because of the time jump. The time jump in question will see a much older Ellie.
The showrunners described Ramsey’s casting as “lightning in a bottle” and there was no question regarding her reprising of Ellie. Mazin also said that Ramsey’s now Ellie’s age in The Last of Us Part II.
“The only way we would ever, ever consider recasting Bella is if she said, ‘I don’t want to work with you guys anymore,’” said Druckmann, according to IGN. “Even then, I’m not sure we would grant her that. We might still force her to come back to season two.”
Ramsey also confirmed that she’s coming back as Ellie for The Last of Us Season 2. Ramsey shared the excitement for the second season in a post on X (formerly Twitter).
What’s In Store for Season 2?
Fans should prepare for quite an emotional ride following the events of season one. In The Last of Us Part I, there was a focus on love and hope. As for Part II, it’s expected to be focused on the fallout that surrounds Joel’s actions, with revenge and hatred as a central theme.
Ramsey also mentioned the concept in an interview with Variety about the second season.
“It’s darker. It’s really a story about revenge and a continuation from the first season about the dangers of unconditional love,” Ramsey told Variety.
The Last of Us Part II
The Last of Us Part II takes place a few years after the first game. With that in mind, it’s likely that HBO will stick with the time jump. But the game includes flashbacks from the previous years so it remains to be seen how the story is going to be adapted.
There’s no official announcement from HBO on whether the show will move past season two. But Mazin and Druckmann hinted there would be more action and more zombies to come.
Separately, Mazin told Deadline that prior to the strike, the script for episode one of The Last of Us Season 2 was already finished.
“We know what the whole season is, and I was actually able to get to write and submit the first episode right before the deadline hit,” said Mazin. “So now, I’m just walking around kind of brain-writing, I guess, which I don’t think is scabbing. I take walks, and I think through the scenes because when the bell rings and this is over because the companies have finally come to their senses, I’m going to have basically shoot myself out of a cannon because we really want to try and get this show on the air when it’s supposed to be on the air.”
Would Season 2 Mark the End for The Last of Us?
The popular video game the show is based on is a two-parter. However, that doesn’t mean that the show will also stick to two seasons.
Speaking with GQ, Mazin, and Druckmann were asked if the second season is adapting the whole of The Last of Us Part II. Druckmann stressed that it will be more than one season. Mazin also stressed that it wasn’t and the two co-creators wouldn’t say how many seasons either.
“You have noted correctly that we will not say how many. But more than one is factually correct,” Mazin told GQ.
The Last of Us Season 2 Release Date Speculation
As to when the second season will premiere, it’s hard to say. But it’s likely to be sometime in 2025, as even HBO had previously said it was looking to give Season 2 a 2025 premiere date.
Both the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes effectively halted all productions, including The Last of Us. With those strikes now over, the production on season two will be moving ahead as quickly as possible.
Mazin and Druckmann have expressed their excitement to start working on new episodes prior to the resolution of the WGA strike.
“I can’t wait to get back to work, but unfortunately I have to wait,” Mazin told Entertainment Weekly.
Separately, Mazin also told Deadline that the team “got pretty far actually” prior to the WGA strike.
Production will begin in Vancouver on January 8, 2024 and continue through July 31, 2024, under the working title “MEGA SWORD.”