The Last Of Us Season 2: What We Know About The Next Installment Of The Post-Apocalyptic Show

Pedro Pascal as Joel in The Last of Us.
(Image credit: HBO)

After years of waiting, The Last of Us  premiered in 2023 with its record breaking first season. With changes that were made from the game’s narrative, its groundbreaking LGBTQ+ stories, and plenty of drama and crazy moments towards its finale, the new HBO show captured the attention of audiences everywhere – so it’s not that surprising that The Last of Us was renewed for a Season 2 not that long after it premiered. 

The first season came to an end, but what do we know about Season 2? There’s already plenty of information out there about what we can expect. Here is what we know so far about The Last of Us Season 2.  

When Is The Last Of Us Season 2 Premiere Date?

Ellie giving Joel water in HBO's The Last of Us

(Image credit: HBO)

At the time of updating this in May 2024, there is no set premiere date for The Last of Us Season 2, however, we do know that HBO is targeting a 2025 release, according to Variety

Originally, I would have predicted we could have gotten the second season as early as late 2024, but due to the 2023 WGA strike and the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strike, filming for Season 2 was delayed for some time.  

The Last Of Us Season 2 Cast

Joel in HBO's The Last of Us

(Image credit: HBO)

There are so many characters that you have to keep an eye out for with The Last of Us Season 2. Here is who you can expect to see:

Pedro Pascal as Joel Miller

Pedro Pascal as Joel Miller in Season 2 of The Last of Us.

(Image credit: HBO)

Pedro Pascal will come back as Joel Miller for Season 2. For fans of the video game, The Last of Us Part II, gamers might know that Joel’s role is lessened significantly to what it was in the original game. While that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it does beg the question – what exactly is going to be Pedro Pascal’s role in Season 2 if they decide to go that route? How much of Joel are we going to see? 

The answer to that is still unclear – to be honest, Bella Ramsey, who plays Ellie, however, spoke about the upcoming season. 

In an interview with and Entertainment Tonight, on The Last of Pods, in February 2023, Ramsey spoke about it, and how excited they are to get started on it – but one key phrase about Pascal might give us a little bit of a hint as to how much we could see him: 

I’m really excited. It still feels surreal to me that it’s going to go again. But also… I don’t want to go into it comparing it to the experience of the first season… Season 1 of The Last of Us was like the best year of my life and it’s not gonna be the same. So I just have to go into it being like, ‘This is Season 2 and I loved Season 1, but this is going to be different.’ I just want to be back in Canada with Craig Mazin, and Pedro [Pascal] for a little bit. It’s gonna be really nice. I’m really excited.

While it’s awesome to hear Ramsey so excited, it’s important to point out that they say ‘a little bit.’ I don’t know if that refers to the amount of filming they’re going to do overall, but it could also be a hint that Pascal’s role might be a “little bit” less in Season 2. Only time will tell. 

Bella Ramsey as Ellie

Bella Ramsey as Ellie in The Last of Us Season 2.

(Image credit: HBO)

It’s also confirmed that Bella Ramsey will come back as Ellie for Season 2 of The Last of Us. Ramsey was cast as Ellie years ago, and people have come to love her version of the beloved video game character. Now, the creator of the game (and creator, writer, and EP of the TV series), Neil Druckmann, has doubled down on the character’s portrayal, saying in a press conference (via IGN) in March 2023 they would only recast the role if Ramsey herself didn’t want to be there: 

We are extremely lucky to have Bella and the stuff you saw throughout this entire season. The only way we would ever, ever consider recasting Bella is if she said, 'I don't want to work with you guys anymore.' Even then, I'm not sure we would grant her that. We might still force her to come back to Season 2.

Ramsey has been a huge promoter of the series, talking about the twists and turns as well as the storylines they’ve been diving deeper into, so it’s awesome to see that the show intends to stick with them. 

The Last Of Us was originally going to audition actors for the new roles in the show right before the Writer's Strike began, according to Variety in May 2023, so it'll be some time before we end up seeing Ellie with all the new characters. 

Kaitlyn Dever as Abby

Abby has been cast, and Deadline confirmed in January 2024 that Kaitlyn Dever will play the character in Season 2 of The Last of Us. She emerged as a frontrunner for the role after the SAG-AFTRA strike, and is now confirmed to play the second playable character in the sequel. 

Craig Mazin and Neil Druchmann released a statement on her casting, saying they were “thrilled” to have Dever portraying the character:

Our casting process for season two has been identical to season one: we look for world-class actors who embody the souls of the characters in the source material. Nothing matters more than talent, and we’re thrilled to have an acclaimed performer like Kaitlyn join Pedro, Bella and the rest of our family.

Bella Ramsey, in an interview with GamesRadar+ in January 2024, revealed she even got to meet Dever before the casting at a gala, and they say that Dever is “excellent” and they couldn’t be more excited to get working on Season 2. 

For those who know – you know. Season 2 is going to be a crazy ride.

Isabela Merced as Dina

According to Variety, Isabela Merced will play Dina, Ellie’s companion in the second game. 

The character is extremely important to Ellie in the second game, so it’s exciting to see Merced get the role. Isabela Merced has gained a lot of traction over the last few years thanks to her roles in Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Sicario: Day of Soldado, the Madame Web cast, and her starring role in Turtles All The Way Down.  

Young Mazino as Jessie

Also from Variety, it was announced that Young Mazino will play Jesse, a friend of Ellie’s and Dina’s former boyfriend. Jesse also plays a significant role in the game, and it’s great to see Mazino, as he really does fit the bill. 

Young Mazino gained critical acclaim for his role in the limited series Beef in 2023, which earned him a Primetime Emmy nomination. 

Abby’s Companions

In Part 2 of the game, The Last of Us also features various companions for Abby’s, friends of hers that you can expect to see in the show. All of which were cast in March 2024, according to Variety. These include:

  • Danny Ramirez as Manny
  • Ariela Barer as Mel
  • Tati Gabrielle as Nora
  • Spencer Lord as Owen

All four characters have significant stories with Abby in the second game, and cross paths with Ellie in some way. Ramirez is known for Top Gun: Maverick and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Ariela Barer is known for Runaways. Tati Gabrielle is known for You, The 100, and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Spencer Lord is known for Riverdale.

Catherine O’Hara

Another piece of news that came earlier in the year was that Catherine O’Hara was cast in an undisclosed role for the second season of The Last of Us, according to Variety in February 2024. Whom she will play is still not known, but we have theories on Catherine O’Hara’s character

Returning Cast Members

Aside from the new characters and Joel and Ellie returning, there are a few other characters we know are coming back for The Last of Us Season 2. These include:

  • Gabriel Luna as Tommy
  • Rutina Wesley as Maria

With a cast like this, I am so excited to see what Season 2 is going to have to offer – and to feel the pain all over again. 

Season 2 Is Not Expected To Get Through The Entirety Of Part II Of The Game

Joel and Ellie looking at mass grave in The Last of Us

(Image credit: HBO Max)

Anyone who has played The Last of Us Part II understands that it is a very complex story, so the idea of compressing all of that down into one season is daunting. Well, it seems the creators of the TV show think the same thing. 

The creators confirmed to Variety in March 2023 that the intention for Season 2 (and onward) is that the events of the game will not be condensed for just one season. Instead, it will be spread out over multiple seasons. This means more The Last of Us content – and maybe even some new original story, which was a big question I had after Season 1 of the show. 

This was later confirmed by Deadline in an interview with Craig Mazin in July 2023 that the plan is to split the events of the second game into two seasons as long as the show is still successful.

It’s going to be more than one season. There’s more story, so this show will not end with Season 2 unless people don’t watch it and we’ll get canceled. Barring that, we will be doing some things exactly the way they were in the game. We’re going to do other things that are in the game and we’re gonna do some things that are in the game but we’re gonna do them differently in our own method. No matter if you have played the game or not. You will be surprised as the season unfolds. We have some interesting twists and turns.

Mazin also confirmed that the first episode of the second season was already written before the Writer's Strike began, and that there's a possibility that characters who were killed off in the first season could come back in flashback sequences -- although Bill and Frank are off the table for Season 2.

There’s always a chance for everything. With us you never know, and we obviously don’t confine ourselves by timelines. People who are dead sometimes reappear and sometimes we meet people that we didn’t even know and then we find out that they are somebody. What you won’t see is, for instance, another very special episode with Bill and Frank, we aren’t going to milk it. When we do something that we think is beautiful, we let it be as it is and find other beautiful things to do.

This just makes me that much more curious for Season 2 of the show. 

Bella Ramsey Is Also Excited For A Certain LGBTQ+ Storyline From The Game

Ellie and Dina in The Last of Us Part II.

(Image credit: PlayStation)

Another part of The Last of Us Season 2 that fans might be hoping for is a certain love story that takes place between Ellie and mentioned Jackson resident, Dina, in Part II of the game series. Ramsey expressed their hopes for the story, and how excited they were to bring it to the small screen on the Happy Sad Confused podcast in February 2023: 

I'm really excited, to be honest, for the Ellie/Dina story. I've watched a cut together, someone's made a phenomenal - I don't know how they do it - like an amazing edit of just like the gameplay, like Ellie and Dina's love story. So I'm excited to play that out.

The Last of Us has been making a lot of changes to show further inclusivity for their LGBTQ+ characters from the game, so it’ll be awesome to see this story fleshed out on TV. 

There Will Be A Time Jump – But Nothing Too Crazy

Joel hugging Ellie in the snow in HBO's The Last of Us

(Image credit: HBO)

For those who have played Part II, you’d know that there is a decent time jump in the second game, about five years, so fans would only expect that Season 2 of the show would have a time jump as well. 

Craig Mazin, in an interview with Collider in March 2023, confirmed that a time jump would take place, but it won’t be anything crazy like the time jumps in other HBO shows, such as House of the Dragon. He also confirmed that even if there will be a time jump, there will be “no recasting:”

Of course. I don’t want to pin anything down. Obviously, the time jump is important, to some extent. It reflects the changing nature of Ellie’s relationship with Joel, as she gets older. In the game, as you point out, she goes from 14 to 19, I believe. But no, we are not doing House of the Dragon leaps. Those were very significant leaps in age, and we don’t have that. So, no recasting will occur. Not on my watch. Of course, in the second game, there’s a primary shift in time, but there are also moments that you see, that are in between the events of the main storyline of The Last of Us Part II and the storyline of The Last of Us Part I.

Gosh, can 2025 just get here sooner, please? 

Season 2 Is Going To Have A Lot More Infected

The first bloater in HBO's The Last Of Us

(Image credit: HBO Max)

Something that I’m sure a lot of people noticed with the drama was that it wasn’t nearly as violent as people probably expected it to be, with a lot less infected, and there’s a solid reason why – just to make the show a lot more grounded and realistic. For Season 2, however, the creators have promised there will be more infected. 

In a press conference (via Variety) in March 2023, Craig Mazin, one of the creators, confirmed that there will probably be a lot more infected, so fans don’t need to worry about that:

There is more The Last of Us to come. It’s quite possible that there will be a lot more infected later. And perhaps different kinds.

Bring. It. On!

Production Is Ongoing As Of May 2024

Gabriel Luna in The Last of Us.

(Image credit: HBO)

Thankfully, we can confirm that production of The Last of Us Season 2 is still ongoing as of May 2024. There were even some awesome behind-the-scenes Last of Us pictures that showed the memorable locations from the game in real life. 

There’s also been several set photos that have come out. Unfortunately, the original post that X user DomTheBomb posted has been taken down, but the pictures have appeared elsewhere online and have shown Ellie and Dina together on a horse in Seattle. However, even if the set photos have been taken down, we were given some first look photos (as seen above in the cast section) for The Last of Us Season 2, so that’s exciting to see. 

What are you the most excited for when it comes to The Last of Us Season 2? If you’re a gamer, are you terrified? Or are you curious about what changes they might make? Whatever the case, I’m sure the new season will drive me crazy – like this show always tends to do.   

Alexandra Ramos
Content Producer

A self-proclaimed nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire, Alexandra Ramos is a Content Producer at CinemaBlend. She first started off working in December 2020 as a Freelance Writer after graduating from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Journalism and a minor in English. She primarily works in features for movies, TV, and sometimes video games. (Please don't debate her on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!) She is also the main person who runs both our daily newsletter, The CinemaBlend Daily, and our ReelBlend newsletter.