'The Last of Us' Season 2: Writing Delays, Release Date Update, Casting and More

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It's official: The Last of Us will return for season 2. HBO announced the renewal on Jan. 27, two weeks after its series premiere became the streamer's second-highest debut ever, behind Game of Thrones. Fans are now clamoring for what comes next. 

"It still feels surreal to me that it's going to go again," Bella Ramsey told ET of the renewal news, adding that "I don't want to go into it comparing it to the experience of the first season." 

The beloved star said The Last of Us season 1 was "the best year of my life," saying she's been most appreciative of the fans who have supported her character's LGBTQ identity (Ramsey herself identifies as non-binary, and uses any pronouns). 

"I have, it's like a gay army," Ramsey said. "That feels nice to just have that army behind me."

Ramsey also added that she's enjoyed hearing from fans of the The Last of Us video game. "I love gamers' reactions to the show," she said. "That's the thing that feels the most validating, is when gamers who are so invested in the game say, 'This is so good and it lives up to all my expectations.' That is the reaction that feels really, really cool." 

Here's everything we know about The Last of Us season 2. 

Does The Last of Us season 2 have a release date?

Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey
Liane Hentscher/HBO

HBO has not yet announced a release date for The Last of Us season 2, but the streamer's Drama Chief, Francesca Orsi, told Deadline in May 2023 that she and her team had set a goal for "some time in 2025." 

How will the writers strike affect The Last of Us season 2? 

Orsi told Deadline it's "too early to tell" exactly how the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike will affect HBO's rollout, but acknowledged her original schedule may have to shift. 

"At this point, those shows that I'm looking to air wouldn't necessarily be ready if this strike last [sic.] six to nine months," she said. "So yes, that's a big question for us, but I think we'll cross that road once we come to it." 

Writing for The Last of Us is currently completely paused until the end of the strike. Estimates on how long the stoppage will last vary widely, but Jonathan Handel, an entertainment lawyer who previously worked for the WGA, recently told Vanity Fair he didn't predict any movement toward a solution "before the end of the summer." Many industry insiders agree, with some predicting the strike will last until Christmas. 

Which The Last of Us stars are returning for season 2? 

A small group of fans during The Last of Us season 1 predicted that show creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann would recast Bella Ramsey's character, Ellie, between the first and second seasons. In the game's first and second installments, the character ages up five years. This is highly unlikely, and HBO has never indicated plans to replace Ramsey. 

Though Ellie in season 1 is only 14, Ramsey will turn 20 this September. As such, fans now seem confident that Ramsey will be able to portray the age jump rather seamlessly (and continue leading the show with her stellar performance). 

Pedro Pascal is also expected to return as Joel for The Last of Us season 2. 

What will The Last of Us season 2 be about? 

The Hollywood Reporter asserted in Jan. that the end of season 1 would align with the entirety of the first The Last of Us video game. Season 2 is expected to cover the game's sequel, The Last of Us Part II, but cannot be described without spoilers.

"Who knows what's going to happen in season 2?" Ramsey told ET. "I actually don't know... I still don't know what they're hatching up." 

In January 2023, Mazin told Collider that the game's second installment would probably "take us more than a season to tell," leaving the door open for more renewals, but both creators have made it clear they will never go beyond the narrative established by the game. 

"Our ambition is to tell the story that exists, as best as we can, in a different medium," he said. Druckmann added, "This will be as many seasons as required to reach that ending, and no more." 


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