Everything we know about The Last of Us season 2

Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey will return as Joel and Ellie

Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey in The Last of Us season 1
Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey star in The Last of Us. (HBO/Sky)

HBO’s The Last of Us — starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey — took a shotgun to the idea that video games can’t make good adaptations, blasted it in the face, and buried it in a shallow grave.

The dream team of Chernobyl’s Craig Mazin and The Last of Us co-creator Neil Druckmann brought the 2013 game to life on the small screen across nine episodes of fungi and farewells.

The mushroom monsters of the Cordyceps infection shuffled back to the grave with season one coming to an end, but with HBO already confirming The Last of Us season two, we know they’ll be spreading their tendrils again soon.

Read more: Ten video game TV shows hoping to repeat the success of The Last Of Us

With this in mind, here’s everything we know about The Last of Us season 2, including its release date, cast and plot.

Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey in The Last of Us season 1
The Last of Us season 2 will likely consist of seven episodes. (HBO/Sky)

The Last of Us season 2 is expected to arrive in 2025, but an exact release date has yet to be confirmed.

After The Last of Us broke HBO viewing records, the network (unsurprisingly) renewed the series for season two in January 2023. Production on the new season began in spring 2024.

It will likely run for seven episodes, according to Mazin, providing a shorter run than the show’s first outing.

Read more: The Last Of Us says game over to the video game curse

“The story material that we got from Part II of the game is way more than the story material that was in the first game,” Mazin told Deadline. “So part of what we had to do from the start was figure out how to tell that story across seasons. When you do that, you look for natural breakpoints, and as we laid it out, this season, the national breakpoint felt like it came after seven episodes.”

Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey in The Last of Us season 1
Joel saved Ellie from the Fireflies in the season 1 finale. (HBO/Sky)

Front and centre, Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal will be back as Ellie and Joel. The Cordyceps-immune slugger and her grizzled travelling companion are the core of this world, and with the finale having Joel save Ellie from the Fireflies, they’ve cemented themselves as adoptive father and daughter.

Despite some backlash toward Ramsey’s casting, Druckmann said they’re “extremely lucky to have Bella” and told a pre-finale press conference (via IGN): “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.”

As for complaints that Ramsey will be “too young” to play Ellie due to a time jump between games, Mazin assured Deadline, “When she joined us, she was 17.

"She’s only, she’s 19 now. Which by the way is the age of Ellie in The Last of Us, Part II. People were like, ‘She doesn’t look like [Ellie]. I’m like, it doesn’t matter. Just watch what happens.”

Gabriel Luna and Pedro Pascal in The Last of Us season 1
Gabriel Luna (left) plays Joel’s younger brother Tommy. (HBO/Alamy)

Following the plot of the games, we can also expect to see more of Gabriel Luna’s Tommy. The younger brother of Joel appeared in the season premiere and returned in episode 6. Here, Tommy had settled in the peaceful community of Jackson and married a woman called Maria (Rutina Wesley).

Speaking at SXSW (via Variety), Luna said he’s been brushing up on Part II and explained how Tommy will be going through a “de-evolution.”

The season finale ended with Ellie and Joel heading back to Jackson, and with the shocking reveal that Maria was pregnant, we’re sure to see more of Wesley.

In terms of big bads, Booksmart star Kaitlyn Dever will play Abby Anderson. The video game version of Abby is originally a major antagonist but becomes the secondary protagonist and a playable character.

Kaitlyn Dever will play Abby in The Last of Us season two. (Getty Images)
Kaitlyn Dever will play Abby in The Last of Us season two. (Getty Images)

Ellie’s love interest, Dina, will be played with Isabela Merced, reteaming with Dever who she co-starred with in the 2022 rom-com Rosaline.

Speaking of the casting, co-creators Mazin and Druckmann said: “Dina is warm, brilliant, wild, funny, moral, dangerous and instantly lovable... You can search forever for an actor who effortlessly embodies all of those things, or you can find Isabela Merced right away. We couldn’t be prouder to have her join our family.”

Described as “a free-wheeling spirit whose devotion to Ellie will be tested by the brutality of the world they inhabit,” Merced will deliver her performance as Dina in between filming roles in a range of exciting upcoming projects including Fede Álvarez’s Alien: Romulus and James Gunn’s Superman in which she’ll play Hawkgirl.

Isabela Merced will play Dina in The Last of Us season two. (Getty Images)
Isabela Merced will play Dina in The Last of Us season two. (Getty Images)

We also know that Beef star Young Mazino will appear as Jesse, a skilled fighter living in the city of Jackson. Jesse first appeared in the second game and is the ex of the character Dina mentioned above.

He's someone who will do anything necessary to survive, with his character labelled a "pillar of his community who puts everyone else’s needs before his own, sometimes at terrible cost".

Jeffrey Pierce as Perry & Melanie Lynskey as Kathleen in The Last Of Us. (HBO/Sky)
Jeffrey Pierce as Perry & Melanie Lynskey as Kathleen in The Last Of Us. (HBO/Sky)

The Last of Us season one was an almost perfect adaptation of the first game, while the season finale neatly lined up with the end of the first game. Assuming we’ll get a similar time jump, season two will pick up four years after Joel’s attack on the Fireflies, with him and Ellie calling Jackson their home.

Speaking of Jackson, it looks like romance is on the cards for Dina and Ellie. Discussing their union, Ramsey told the Happy Sad Confused podcast, "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 the gameplay, like Ellie and Dina’s love story. So I'm excited to play that out."

Despite the acclaimed Episode 3 being review-bombed (currently rated as the worst of season one) and similar pushback about Ellie and Riley’s (Storm Reid) relationship, Ramsey is standing strong against homophobia and championing the introduction of the transgender character called Lev. The star told GQ, "If you don’t want to watch the show because it has gay storylines, because it has a trans character, that’s on you, and you’re missing out. It isn't gonna make me afraid. I think that comes from a place of defiance."

This is where things get complicated. Because Part II is a much bigger game, Druckmann and Mazin have already confirmed its story will span at least two seasons. When GQ asked post-finale about how many seasons it’ll take to adapt Part II, Mazin threw fuel on the fire that there could even be a mythical The Last of Us season three, stating, “You have noted correctly that we will not say how many. But more than one is factually correct.”

We won’t go into spoiler territory too much, but if Part II is being split across two seasons, it would neatly set the season two finale up for a major death from the games.

Mazin warned ComicBook.com, “It will be different. Just as this season was different,” but we expect beats like major character deaths to play out in the same way. Defending differences like the overhaul Bill and Frank story from season one, Mazin added, “It won't be exactly like the game. It will be the show that Neil and I want to make.”

Bella Ramsey as Ellie Williams & Storm Reid as Riley Abel in The Last Of Us. (HBO/Sky)
Bella Ramsey as Ellie Williams & Storm Reid as Riley Abel in The Last Of Us. (HBO/Sky)

Mazin has confirmed plans are already in place for a third and fourth season of The Last of Us.

He told Deadline: “We don’t think that we’re going to be able to tell the story even within two seasons [2 and 3] because we’re taking our time and go down interesting pathways which we did a little bit in season 1 too.

“We feel like it’s almost assuredly going to be the case that — as long as people keep watching and we can keep making more television — season 3 will be significantly larger. And indeed, the story may require season 4.

Neil Druckmann added: “One thing is absolutely for sure, I don’t see how we could tell the story that remains after season 2 is complete in one more season.”

In a separate chat with The Hollywood Reporter, where Mazin suggested that “four seems like a good number” when it came to additional seasons.

The Last of Us season 2 will be released in 2025