Everything we know about 'The Last of Us' season 2

TLOU 109, The Last of Us season one, episode nine. joel and ellie in the last of us finale. they're standing at a ledge on what seems to be a building roof, looking out over the greenery that's grown there in humanity's absence. joel has a rifle strapped to his back, while ellie looks solemn
Joel and Ellie finally make it to their destination in the season one finale of "The Last of Us."Liane Hentscher/HBO
  • Warning: This post contains spoilers for the second "The Last of Us" game — and potentially season two.

  • Production on the next season of "The Last of Us" began in February.

  • It will cover at least some of 2020's sequel game and will air on HBO in 2025.

In 2023, HBO turned the narrative-driven video game "The Last of Us" into one of the year's biggest television hits.

Starring Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal, the show primarily takes place 20 years after a cordyceps fungus evolves to infect humans, generating hordes of aggressive infected. Joel (Pascal), a smuggler whose daughter died during the initial outbreak, is tasked with escorting Ellie (Ramsey), an orphan who's seemingly immune to the fungus, across the country in hopes of developing a cure.

The show has earned both Pascal and Ramsey nominations at the Golden Globes and Emmy Awards and turned them into household names. It also featured an award-winning performance from Nick Offerman, who stars along with Murray Bartlett in the season's acclaimed third episode "Long, Long Time."

A second season of the HBO hit is on the way, and it's set to adapt at least part of the game "The Last of Us Part II." Here's everything we know about the new season.

'The Last of Us' season 2 will premiere in 2025 and won't cover all of the video game sequel

A sizzle reel released in November confirmed that season two would be released in 2025, and CEO Casey Bloys confirmed at the Warner Bros. Discovery Upfront presentation in May that the series would air on HBO and stream on Max.

Production began in February in Vancouver.

maria, tommy, joel, and allie walking on a snow covered road in the last of us, wiht a sign to the right that reads welcome to jackson
Maria (Rutina Wesley), Tommy (Gabriel Luna), Joel (Pedro Pascal), and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) in Jackson in "The Last of Us" season one.Liane Hentscher/HBO

While "TLOU" season one covered the events of the 2013 game, the second season will not cover all of its 2020 sequel.

Series co-creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, who also created the game series, told GQ in March 2023 that the events of the second game will take place over "more than one season."

There will likely be a time jump from the end of 'The Last of Us' season 1

In an interview with Josh Horowitz on the "Happy Sad Confused" podcast in February 2023, Ramsey said that while they were playing a 14-year-old Ellie in the first season of "The Last of Us," Ellie would be closer to their own age in season two.

"I'll be 20, probably by the time we shoot that, and I'll be playing 19," Ramsey said. "So yeah, I will be closer to my age."

bella ramsey as ellie in the last of us, standing in front of a chain link, heavy fence in episode three
Bella Ramsey as Ellie in "The Last of Us."Liane Hentscher/HBO

Showrunner Craig Mazin also spoke about the possibility of a time jump with Collider, and said that there won't be any recasting as a result.

"Obviously, the time jump is important, to some extent," Mazin said. "It reflects the changing nature of Ellie's relationship with Joel, as she gets older."

Expect to see a few new major characters

side by side of Kaitlyn Dever and Abby in "The Last of Us" video game.
Kaitlyn Dever will play Abby, a controversial character in "The Last of Us" video game franchise.Gilbert Flores/WWD via Getty Images)

In January, HBO announced three major season two castings.

Kaitlyn Dever will play Abby, who is the second protagonist of "The Last of Us Part II" and a playable character in the game. She's a member of the Fireflies, and is driven by her desire for revenge.

Isabela Merced has been cast as Dina, Ellie's love interest and eventual traveling companion who she gets to know in the Jackson settlement.

And Young Mazino, a breakout star of the Netflix limited series "Beef," will play Jesse, Dina's ex and a community leader in Jackson.

left: actor young mazino, in a black coat, silver turtleneck, and with one earring in his left ear; right: jesse in the last of us two, a young man with dirty clothes and a cut on his cheek
Young Mazino will play Jesse in season two of "The Last of Us."Elyse Jankowski/Variety via Getty Images; PlayStation/YouTube

In March, Max announced four new additions to the cast. Danny Ramirez will play Manny, Ariela Barer will play Mel, Tati Gabrielle will play Nora, and Spencer Lord will play Owen. The four characters are friends of Abby's from the Seattle settlement. Catherine O'Hara of "Schitt's Creek" is also set to appear in the new season in an undisclosed guest role.

HBO also announced in May that Jeffrey Wright ("American Fiction") would reprise his role from the games and play Isaac, the leader of the Washington Liberation Front, in season two. Per Entertainment Weekly, HBO describes Isaac as "the quietly powerful leader of a large militia group who sought liberty but instead has become mired in an endless war against a surprisingly resourceful enemy."

Another major character in the sequel game is Lev, a transgender teen who escapes a cult.

In February 2023, Ian Alexander, who voiced and performed the character through motion capture, told Business Insider they would love to reprise their role on the live-action series.

Ian Alexander played Lev (right) in "The Last of Us Part II."
Ian Alexander played Lev (right) in "The Last of Us Part II."Frazer Harrison/Getty Images, Naughty Dog

At the time, Alexander hadn't had any conversations about the role.

HBO hasn't announced casting for the character and it's not yet known if Lev will appear in season two. After the game's initial release in 2020, the game's developer Naughty Dog received some backlash for its handling of Lev's story.

Fans are concerned Joel could die in season 2

joel cracling ellie, clad in a hospital gown, in the season one finale of the last of us
Joel (Pedro Pascal) cradles Ellie (Bella Ramsey) in the season one finale of "The Last of Us."Liane Hentscher/HBO

"The Last of Us Part II" video game is controversial among fans because Joel is unexpectedly and brutally murdered by Abby toward the start of the sequel when his past catches up with him.

In addition to playing as Ellie, gamers are forced to play as Joel's killer leading up to and after his death in the sequel. As a result, some players harassed and threatened the developers, Druckmann, and voice actors for its story.

Will Joel die in 'The Last of Us' season two? It's likely

Joel's fate is the question on every fan's mind, since it's the major jumping-off point of the sequel game. Even Pascal has admitted his character's death is a possibility in season two.

Pedro Pascal as Joel on season one of "The Last of Us."
Pedro Pascal as Joel on season one of "The Last of Us."Liane Hentscher/HBO

"It wouldn't make sense to follow the first game so faithfully only to stray severely from the path," Pascal told Esquire in April 2023.

"If that does take place in the show, I don't know that I'm emotionally ready for it," he added.

However, Mazin told Entertainment Weekly that fans can expect some changes from the sequel game in season two, saying, "It's going to be different, and it will be its own thing. It won't be exactly like the game."

Maybe that means there's a chance Joel could live, or at least make it to the end of season two, due to Pascal's immense popularity.

Since the second game became controversial, it's likely the show may flesh out Abby's character more before killing Joel off, if the show decides to go that route. But it would be difficult to envision season two straying from Joel's death since it's the key motivation for Ellie's path in the sequel game.

There will be more infected

TLOU infected zombie
One of the infected.Liane Hentscher/HBO

In the game, players are constantly outmaneuvering and killing a large number of the people who have been infected and taken over by the cordyceps virus. Though the infected showed up in a few key scenes, they weren't a main fixture of season one, which placed a large emphasis on character relationships and world-building.

"It's quite possible that there will be a lot more infected later. And perhaps different kinds," Mazin said during a press conference for the finale in 2023.

On HBO's "The Last of Us" podcast, Mazin added that season two will likely further explore the idea of the Cordyceps hive mind and how they can be a major threat together.

"I think this next season, the interconnectivity of them, and the risk of stepping on the wrong thing, that stuff is going to be brought forward more for sure," Mazin said.

Joel has a little more hair

HBO released teaser images for season two during Warner Bros. Discovery's Upfront presentation in May. It's just two images for now, but they give us an updated look at Joel and Ellie in the new season.

pedro pascal in the last of us season two as joel. he has a mustache and short beard, and longer hair that goes further down his neck
Pedro Pascal as Joel in season two of "The Last of Us."HBO
bella ramsey as ellie in the last of us season two, wearing a winter coat, a hat, and intently holding a gun
Bella Ramsey as Ellie in "The Last of Us" season two.HBO

For his part, Joel has longer hair than we saw him with previously. Meanwhile, Ellie's bundled up in winter clothing and holding a gun.

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