After airing only two episodes, HBO has renewed the post-apocalyptic thriller for another season. Already a staple in the video game community for over a decade, The Last of Us made its big screen debut during an otherwise sleepy January. Nine episodes and too many deaths later, Ellie and Joel’s journey has finally come to an end…for now.
After airing only two episodes, HBO renewed the post-apocalyptic thriller for a second season. While the initial season explored all of the original game (plus its “Left Behind” DLC chapter), The Last of Us still has plenty of source material to explore thanks to its sprawling sequel.
What can we expect from season two–and when can it be released? Here is what we know so far. Beware: major spoilers for the video game lie ahead.
When will season two air?
Let’s review our history: HBO first announced their plans to adapt The Last of Us in March 2020, setting their fictional pandemic apocalypse during an actual pandemic. Nearly three years later, the show finally made it onto screens.
Production on The Last of Us season one took place from July 2021 through June 2022, with additional photography taking place as late as October 2022. If we assume that season two begins filming today with a similar timeline to season one, then we could expect an airdate for The Last of Us season two in late 2024 or slightly later than that.
Star Pedro Pascal recently hinted at a possible spring production start, suggesting it’s not unrealistic to expect season two of True Detective to premiere on HBO in January 2025, two years after its first season premiere.
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What can we expect from season two?
Remember how Season one ended with an intense moral conflict? Well, prepare yourself for that tone to continue into season two and beyond.
In 2013, The Last of Us video game debuted. Seven years later, The Last of Us Part II hit PlayStation 4 during the early days of COVID. Both worlds seemed to have come full circle – this sequel presents players with an equally grim storyline that makes Joel’s most life-altering decision from Part I seem almost pedestrian by comparison.
Just how bleak is this story going to get? To put it another way: The Last of Us Part II was so devastating that some fans sent death threats to its developers at Naughty Dog. Creator Neil Druckmann not only stands by what happened in Part II, but has indicated that it will serve as the spine for season two; furthermore, there are no plans to tell stories other than what’s included within the games. Therefore, unless Naughty Dog has another Part III planned, next season could mark the final chapter for The Last of Us as we know it today.
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What happens in The Last of Us Part II, with minimal spoilers?
In short: plenty. The Last of Us Part II is an expansive game, approximately 10 hours longer than its predecessor. Given this scope, HBO may decide to divide the story into two seasons – for now at least, this appears to be our best shot at getting a TV series that lasts beyond two seasons.
Let us begin with this: The Last of Us season one already hinted at what might come in season two. In the final moments of season one, Joel and Ellie stand outside Jackson, eager to reconnect with Tommy, Maria, and other community members. In The Last of Us Part II we see our protagonists fully settled years later – it takes place several years after Season 1.
Episode six, “Kin,” provides a glimpse into Ellie’s future as she meets two characters from the sequel video game: Shimmer, her animal companion; and Dina, an important cast member in Part II who fans believe to be spying on Joel and Ellie while they eat in Jackson mess hall. With such an important role in the game, Dina could potentially return for another season of the show.
Another sure bet: an increased focus on Ellie. In the original video game, players control Joel; however, in its sequel they become Ellie, a young adult at that point in the story. Fans who have played both games often tout Ellie as its true protagonist – which could certainly be confirmed if HBO sticks to its source material script.
What will happen in The Last of Us Part II, with maximum spoilers?
Do you really care? There are some major twists in The Last of Us Part II that will likely be featured on the show. Even if HBO divides The Last of Us Part II into two seasons, one particularly contentious twist from the game will most likely make an appearance during its second year. You can research it yourself if you wish, though we recommend playing through the game yourself or waiting for its return before doing any research.
If you’re still reading, then obviously you want to hear all about it right now. So with that being said, let me reiterate with feeling:
Warning! Large spoilers lie ahead. Choose to turn back now or proceed at your own risk.
No surprise here that Joel’s decision to wipe out the Fireflies will dominate the story’s next phase, yet it will come as a huge shock when it ends with Joel’s death. The Last of Us Part II follows two avengers: Abby Anderson (whose father was the doctor Joel killed in Salt Lake City) and Ellie, who watches Abby beat Joel to death. Yes: Pedro Pascal is about to have another shockingly killed HBO hero under his belt (that must be why he wears a helmet on The Mandalorian). It’s like Negan killing Glenn on The Walking Dead–it will be just as painful and divisive to watch!
The game follows not only Ellie’s efforts to seek revenge against Joel, but also Abby’s motives as players take control over both characters at different points in the narrative. When players kill what would otherwise be faceless NPCs in another video game, they are actually killing people close to both playable protagonists – leading to a hollow pursuit of vengeance that makes season one’s grim ending seem positively joyous by comparison. Given all that bloodshed ahead, perhaps waiting until 2025 or later for The Last of Us season two might just be worth waiting until then?