The Last of Us season 2: Everything we know so far

Got cordyceps fever after The Last of Us season 1 finale? Well, prepare yourself for season 2 of the HBO adaptation, because it's bound to be even more of a flashpoint among viewers than the first.

Since the nine-episode first season tackled the main events of 2013's The Last of Us video game and the Left Behind DLC, a 2014 side story players could download separately, season 2 will begin to translate the events of The Last of Us Part II, the sequel that shambled onto the PlayStation in 2020.

The cast and creators have offered some clues about what to expect in The Last of Us season 2. Here's what we know so far.

What is The Last of Us season 2 about?

The Last of Us
The Last of Us

Liane Hentscher/HBO ; Naughty Dog 'The Last of Us' season 2 is bound to introduce Abby, a pivotal character from the video games

Sorry, but we're not telling you. If you've played The Last of Us Part II, then you have some idea. If you haven't, spoilers are too baked into the fabric of the story that even extracting certain plot points runs the risk of letting the whole thing slip. It's the equivalent of knowing about the Red Wedding or the Jon Snow twist on Game of Thrones in advance.

For context, Naughty Dog, the gaming studio that developed The Last of Us, and Sony Interactive Entertainment, which published the games, doctored the trailers for Part II so eager fans wouldn't be able to see the context of certain scenes or which characters were around for the ride.

That said, there are a few tidbits we will note. For example, it's safe to say that Joel's decision at the end of The Last of Us season 1 will have a direct impact on the events of season 2, assuming the material is being adapted faithfully. There's also a time jump in between the games. Four years after the events in the Fireflies hospital, Joel and Ellie are living a comfortable life in the Jackson, Wyo. commune run by Maria.

Because the character's name has already been referenced by The Last of Us showrunner and game co-creator Neil Druckmann, we can say that a new figure, Abby, has a crucial part to play in the events to come. The same goes for a woman named Dina, who may or may not be the unidentified "Staring Girl" listed in the credits of episode 6 of season 1.

Dina and Ellie set out on a scouting mission in 'The Last of Us Part II'
Dina and Ellie set out on a scouting mission in 'The Last of Us Part II'

Naughty Dog/Sony Interactive Entertainment Dina and Ellie set out on a scouting mission in 'The Last of Us Part II'

Since Ramsey has already talked about this somewhat, we can mention that there is a romantic element between Ellie and Dina. "I'm really excited for the Ellie-Dina story," Ramsey said on an episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast. "I've watched a clip. Someone's made a phenomenal, I don't know how they do, an amazing edit of the gameplay, Ellie and Dina's love story. So I'm excited to play that out."

As for the rest of the set-up, we will defer to the official plot description for The Last of Us Part II: "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."

Craig Mazin, the other showrunner on The Last of Us, told reporters during a virtual press conference that season 2 "will be different," just as season 1 remixed the material a bit from the 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," he said. "It won't be exactly like the game. It will be the show that Neil and I want to make."

In a separate conversation on the official The Last of Us podcast, hosted by original Joel actor Troy Baker, Mazin further elaborated. "We will also take advantage of the freedom we have in television that wasn't there in the games, specifically the advantage of changing perspective," he said. "So we will use what we can use in a new medium to tell that story and we will go through the same process of adaptation."

Who will star in the cast of The Last of Us season 2?

The Last of Us Season 1, Episode 9
The Last of Us Season 1, Episode 9

Liane Hentscher/HBO Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) have a rare quiet moment in 'The Last of Us' season 1 finale

Druckmann and Mazin have already confirmed that Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey are returning as Joel and Ellie in season 2. Some fans pointed out the time jump in between the games as a concern for Ramsey's age, but the creatives stated, "We are making it with Bella." Despite what has been said online, Ramsey is now 19 years old, which is the same age as Ellie is at the start of The Last of Us Part II."

"The only way we would ever, ever consider re-casting Bella is if she said, 'I don't want to work with you guys anymore,'" Druckmann added. "And even then, we're not sure we would grant her that. We might still force her to come back to season 2."

Though there hasn't been an official confirmation from HBO, Gabriel Luna said he already sent some ideas to Mazin and Druckmann about what they could do with Tommy for season 2. Given her role in the game, it also seems fair to say that Rutina Wesley will return as Maria. However, we know she's pregnant in the context of the show, so she may have a child with her if/when she does return for season 2.

Ian Alexander, who plays another crucial video game character in The Last of Us Part II, told Insider, "My fingers are crossed that I get to reprise my role as Lev." The casting has not been confirmed.

Season 1 brought in veteran actors from the video games to play various roles in the live-action show. Merle Dandridge reprised her character of Marlene, leader of the Fireflies; Jeffrey Pierce, the original Tommy, played Perry in episodes 4 and 5; Troy Baker, the original Joel, played James in episode 8; and Ashley Johnson, the original Ellie, played Anna, Ellie's mother, in the season finale.

Druckmann has already signaled that Laura Bailey, who plays Abby in the game, could come back in some alternate cameo or guest arc. (She previously reprised her background role as one of the nurses in the operating room from the game in the season 1 finale.) "Maybe we'll do something else with her in the next season," Druckmann teased.

When does The Last of Us season 2 premiere?

A premiere date has not been announced for The Last of Us season 2.

Pascal told Collider, "Yes, there is a chance" that the show could start filming again before the end of this year.

More Infected

The Last of Us
The Last of Us

HBO The Bloater arrives in 'The Last of Us' season 1, episode 5.

There are a lot of buzzwords floating around season 2.

Mazin referred to the next batch of episodes as "more massive" than season 1 during a press conference. He also teased it's "quite possible that there will be a lot more Infected later, and perhaps different kinds."

Speaking more on that on the show's accompanying podcast, Mazin confirmed they will further explore the cordyceps hive mind that was introduced in episode 2, specifically the idea that the Infected can be summoned en masse if contact is made with a mutant tendril in their vicinity.

"I think this first time around we were learning so much about how to create the Infected and how to televise them in a way that was exciting and didn't seem goofy or weird or artificial," Mazin explained. "I think we've figured that out, and I think this next season the interconnectivity of them and the risk of stepping on the wrong thing, that stuff is gonna be brought forward more for sure."

In a previous interview with EW, Mazin also hinted that the concept of spores could be introduced to the show. In the game, survivors are forced to wear gas masks to protect themselves from the airborne fungal spores that can infect a person just as easily as a bite. The showrunners did not address that in season 1 of HBO's The Last of Us.

"If there were that many spores and they were airborne, that infection's gonna go even faster," Mazin reasoned. "It's hard to imagine how anyone escapes it, and people would probably be wearing masks all the time."

That said, he added, "I don't necessarily think we've eliminated spores from the universe of our show. We just haven't gotten there yet. It's possible that they may come back. We may have a plan, is my point."

How many seasons will The Last of Us have?

PHOTO January 09, 2023 Photograph by Liane Hentscher/HBO Bella Ramsey, Pedro Pascal HBO The Last of Us Season 1 - Episode 3
PHOTO January 09, 2023 Photograph by Liane Hentscher/HBO Bella Ramsey, Pedro Pascal HBO The Last of Us Season 1 - Episode 3

Liane Hentscher/HBO Ellie (Bella Ramsey) and Joel (Pedro Pascal) in 'The Last of Us'

There's no concrete answer to this. However, it'll be at least three, assuming the ratings continue to be just as strong as the first season.

Mazin and Druckmann were firm from the jump that they would only adapt the events of the video games and nothing more. In an interview with GQ U.K., the showrunners confirmed it will take "more than one season" to adapt Part II. They didn't say how many, precisely. All Mazin would say was, "More than one is factually correct."

"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," Druckmann added. "And I think it's exciting because it leans into those feelings you had from the game, really heavily, in a new way."

This article will be updated as new information comes to light.

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