Everything you need to know about The Last of Us season 2

Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal in The Last of Us.

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, largely thanks 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 will 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 can 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?

Gabriel Luna as Tommy in The Last of Us.

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 confirmed for now.

Who’s joining the cast in The Last of Us season 2?

Kaitlyn Dever in No One Will Save You and Abby from The Last of Us Part II.
20th Century Studios/Sony

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 afterward. 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 BooksmartRosaline, and Hulu’s well-reviewed sci-fi horror film No One Will Save You.

Isabela Merced in Sweet Girl.

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, Sicario: Day of the Soldado, and Madame Web.

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 next film role will be in Alien: Romulus.

Young Mazino in Paul.

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.

On February 2, Entertainment Weekly published a scoop that Schitt’s Creek and Home Alone actress Catherine O’Hara has joined the cast of The Last of Us season 2. In an interview on Andy Cohen’s What What Happens Live show, O’Hara revealed that her son is a set dresser on the show. The Bravo host then got the actress to confess that she’s in talks to join the cast, which was later confirmed by HBO.

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It’s not yet known who she will play, but rest assured, with her in the cast, the show will be better with her in it.

Via Variety, another member of the season 2 cast has been revealed. Jeffrey Wright is set to play Isaac, the leader of a militia group who is described as “quietly powerful” who initially “sought liberty, but instead has become mired in an endless war against a surprisingly resourceful enemy.” Wright originated the character in The Last of Us Part II, and now becomes the second cast member on the show to reprise their role from the games. Merle Dandridge previously reprised her role as Marlene in the first season of The Last of Us.

Will The Last of Us season 2 cover the events of the second game?

Two characters restrain Joel in The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered.
Naughty Dog

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] is 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.”

A screenshot from The Last of Us Part 2 of Ellie and Dina slow dancing with one another.
Sony / Digital Trends/Naughty Dog

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.

How many episodes will be in The Last of Us season 2?

Via Deadline, The Last of Us season 2 will be shorter than the first season. Showrunners Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann made the decision to only make seven episodes in season 2. However, the potential third season would have a “significantly larger” number of episodes.

“The story material that we got from Part II of the game is way more than the story material that was in the first game, so part of what we had to do from the start was figure out how to tell that story across seasons,” Mazin said. “When you do that, you look for natural breakpoints, and as we laid it out, this season, the national breakpoint felt like it came after seven episodes.”

Mazin and Druckmann also cast doubt that they would be able to adapt all of The Last of Us Part II into two seasons, which may require a fourth season to potentially finish that story.

“We don’t think that we’re going to be able to tell the story even within two seasons [2 and 3] because we’re taking our time and go down interesting pathways which we did a little bit in season 1 too,” Mazin said. “We feel like it’s almost assuredly going to be the case that — as long as people keep watching and we can keep making more television — season 3 will be significantly larger. And indeed, the story may require season 4.”

When will The Last of Us season 2 begin filming?

The cast of Last of Us season 2 pose for a group photo.

Production is currently underway in British Columbia and Vancouver. 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. Though Pedro Pascal had reportedly finished filming his scenes recently, those claims have since been debunked by HBO.

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, but insider Daniel Richtman claims that the second season will premiere in March or April 2025. Since Richtman was the one who said Pascal had finished filming his scenes, it would be wise for readers not to get their hopes up just yet.