Season 2 of The Last of Us has been confirmed and it might not even be the final series. It seems there will be at least four seasons of the game adaptation in total – which is great as it's one of the best shows around.
Back to season 2 though and, if it's as close to The Last of Us Part II as the first season was to the original, then it's going to make season 1 look like Sesame Street.
Here's what we know so far.
When will The Last of Us Season 2 be released?
Season 2 of The Last of Us will definitely not appear before late 2024, and could even slip into 2025. Apart from the extensive special effects work that is needed and that camera's haven't started to roll yet, there a writer's strike in the US that is playing havoc with all major TV series, The Last of Us included.
"The strike stopped us in our tracks," said showrunner Craig Mazin in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "Things were in process."
Mazin also previously revealed that season 1 took 200 days to film and then many more months in post-production. It therefore took 18 months from the first day of filming to its premiere on HBO Max.
So, even if The Last of Us season 2 were to start filming now (August 2023) the earliest we could expect it is February 2025.
Will Joel and Ellie be back in The Last of Us Season 2?
Joel and Ellie will be back for season 2. However, if you've played the game, you know we can't say any more without the mother of all spoilers. According to Mazin on The Last of Us podcast: "There will be Pedro [Pascal]. There will be Bella [Ramsey]. And there will be blood."
For those who also think they know what'll happen, don't be so sure. Mazin also told The Hollywood Reporter that the plot of the TV show could vary from the The Last of Us Part 2: "Anybody that has played the game and then watched the first season knows that sometimes we do exactly what happened to the game and sometimes we do something wildly different," he said.
"We also don’t necessarily do things in the same order, or at the same time."
We should expect to see Gabriel Luna return as Joel's brother Tommy, though. He plays a much bigger role in the second game – alongside new characters such as Abby, who is a crucial part of Part 2, and fleeing cult members Lev and Yara.
Will The Last of Us Season 2 follow the story of the game sequel?
The second game happens five years after the events of the first (and first season of the show) and shows us that Joel and Ellie still live in the same place, although there are definitely signs of strain in their relationship.
What happens next introduces a terrifying new threat more dangerous than any of the Infected. And, as with the first season and the first game, what's really frightening in The Last of Us Part 2 isn't the infected. It's the people who aren't.
Like Mazin, Neil Druckmann, who wrote the game and helmed the TV adaptation, has hinted that season 2 may experiment more with the form.
In the game there are some perspective shifts, and speaking to The Last of Us Podcast he also confirmed that the show may deviate in some major areas: "The moment-to-moment beats and characters, they might stay the same, they might change. We will do what needs to happen to that story as it transfers from one medium to another."
One rumour I've seen suggests that season 2 and season 3 will each focus on one of the key characters from the game, although we're yet to see any evidence to back that one up.
Where can I stream The Last of Us Season 2?
As with season one, The Last of Us season 2 will be a HBO show, so you'll be able to stream it on Max in the US.
Will The Last of Us season 2 be controversial?
If you haven't seen the first season or played the Left Behind DLC and the second game, you might want to skip this bit.
The second game managed to end up in not one, not two but three different controversies over the inclusion of LGBT+ characters.
The first controversy started long before the game was ever released. Based entirely on a couple of screenshots of new character Abby, people on the internet decided that Abby was a trans woman because she didn't look like a girl from anime. The game was immediately denounced by online haters for its supposed "woke anti-Christian agenda", based on no evidence whatsoever.
The same people then decided that there was more evidence of a woke agenda because Ellie's sexuality is clear in the second game: where the Left Behind DLC left a bit of room for interpretation about who Ellie loves, in Part 2 there's no such doubt.
Thirdly, there was Lev. Lev is a trans boy and many of the horrors he endures are because of that. To the best of our knowledge, Lev is the first trans masculine character with such a high profile in any massive video game, so of course the usual suspects got upset about that too.
Some trans people also expressed concerns, arguing that it'd be nice if we could see trans people whose main characteristic wasn't pain or suffering.
Which, ironically enough, is what The Last of Us on TV delivered. Bella Ramsey, who plays Ellie, is non-binary and has become something of a role model for other non-binary people. And Pedro Pascal is a fierce LGBT+ ally who brought his sister, who is trans, to the 2023 Oscars. So if people are expecting season 2 to drop the "woke" stuff, they're going to be awfully disappointed.
Will there be more seasons of The Last of Us?
Showrunner Craig Mazin has confirmed that there will be between three and five seasons of The Last of Us, although four is the most likely.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, he revealed that the scope of the second game is so larger that it could take two to three seasons to cover it. There could even be an extension to the storyline, specifically for the TV show.
"What I can certainly confirm is that that story does not fit into one season," he said.
"It can end up being three or five. But four seems like a good number. Some seasons, because of the story we’re telling, will need fewer episodes and some will need more. The best news is the audience wants more."