The Last of Us season 2: Everything we know so far

Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ellie in The Last of Us
(Image credit: HBO)

The Last of Us season 2 is currently filming, as we get one step closer to seeing Part 2 (or the beginning of it at least) depicted on screen. Over the past few months, we've had loads of insight into what the second season will look like, from casting news to insight from the showrunners. And from what we've learned so far, it seems certain that what Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann are cooking up will be something very special.

So, while it seems like the second season of HBO's heartbreaking game adaptation won't release until 2025, there are plenty of updates to dive into. Among the latest insights are the new directors joining season 2, why your fan theories are probably wrong, and what Bella Ramsey has to say about new cast member Kaitlyn Dever. We've also broken down story details and everything Druckmann and Mazin have teased so far. 

One final thing too – don't worry if you're concerned about The Last of Us Part 2 spoilers, we've made sure to skirt any big plot points...

The Last of Us Season 2 release date is unconfirmed

Bella Ramsey as Ellie in The Last of Us

(Image credit: HBO)

HBO renewed The Last of Us for a second season back in January 2023 – which came as no surprise, given how quickly the show broke HBO viewing records. Despite the success, HBO is yet to confirm a release date for The Last of Us season 2. 

The only official update that we have is that it will be released in 2025. During Max's 'The One to Watch' trailer, it was revealed TLOU season 2 is set to hit the streaming next year. 

Filming is currently taking place on The Last of Us season 2, but we expect that to run for several months more.

The Last of Us season 2 cast will feature new characters 

Bella Ramsey as Ellie and Storm Reid as Riley in The Last of Us

(Image credit: HBO)

We're going to do our best to skip over major The Last of Us: Part 2 spoilers here, but suffice to say that season 2 of the show will feature a host of new characters. Bella Ramsey has already gone on record stating that they are excited for "the Ellie and Dina story" – a budding relationship between the two Jackson residents. 

Speaking on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Ramsey also explained that they are keen to explore "the complexity of her relationship with Joel" and how that gets decidedly... more complex… "I'm looking forward to that, and the violence that ensues is thrilling in a way." 

There are loads of new cast members joining the show as well, check out who's been announced so far below.

Who is playing Abby in The Last of Us?

Kaitlyn Dever

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Kaitlyn Dever has been officially confirmed as Abby Anderson in The Last of Us. Known for her roles in Rosaline, Booksmart, Unforgiveable, and No One Will Save You, the actor had been rumored for a while. Now it's official though!

Druckmann reacted to the news on Twitter, writing: "Welcome to the TLoU fam, @KaitlynDever! Stoked to collaborate with you again!" He wasn't alone either as the game actor Laura Bailey also replied to the news. "Huge congrats, Kaitlyn! So excited to see Abby’s evolution in your performance! Let me know if you want a workout buddy."

For more, check out why our writer thinks Dever is the perfect choice for Abby.

Who is playing Dina in The Last of Us?

The Last of Us Dina

(Image credit: Naughty Dog/Getty)

Isabela Merced is set to portray the role of Dina in The Last of Us season 2. She's described as "a free-wheeling spirit whose devotion to Ellie will be tested by the brutality of the world they inhabit." No spoilers here, but those familiar with the game will know she plays a big part in Ellie's life going forward.

Mecred is best known so far for Dora the Explorer in Dora and the Lost City of Gold, but she has some big projects on the horizon. She'll be in Madame Web and Alien: Romulus in 2024.

Creators Mazin and Druckmann said of her casting: "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."

Who else is joining The Last of Us season 2?

Young Mazino

(Image credit: Netflix)

Beef star Young Mazino has also been cast in the show, where he'll play Jesse. As HBO puts it, the character is "a pillar of his community who puts everyone else’s needs before his own, sometimes at terrible cost."

"Young is one of those rare actors who is immediately undeniable the moment you see him," co-creators Mazin and Druckmann said in a joint statement of his casting. "We’re so lucky to have him, and we can’t wait for the audience to see Young shine in our show."

In terms of the other characters, Captain America: Brave New World actor Danny Ramirez will play Manny, Runaways star Ariela Barer will play Mel, Uncharted star Tati Gabrielle is Nora, and Riverdale's Spencer Lord is Owen.

The Last of Us season 1 recap and ending explained

Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ellie in The Last of Us

(Image credit: HBO)

As GamesRadar+ explained in its The Last of Us Episode 9 review, the HBO show "signs off with a finale that is equal parts crushing and cathartic." If you're in need of a little reminder as to how the show wrapped, you'll want to read our The Last of Us season 1 ending explained, which recaps the events of the show, details the Fireflies' plan, explores how Ellie is immune to the Cordyceps infection, and sets up what's next for the duo. 

Oh, and if you're wondering how closely the original ending aligns with that seen in the show, here's the biggest changes between The Last of Us episode 9 and The Last of Us: Part 1's finale

The Last of Us season 2 plot details

The Last of Us - Fireflies slogan

(Image credit: HBO)

Should The Last of Us season 2 follow the same trajectory as season 1 – loosely following the contours of the video game it is based on to bring shape to the pacing and story of the show – then you will want to begin mentally preparing yourself for a far darker story. As we noted in our The Last of Us 2 review, the video game very much deals with the cyclical nature of hatred and revenge – to say anything else would wade into spoiler territory, although we do have a The Last of Us 2 ending explained article, should you be unable to manage the wait for season 2 to start. 

Will The Last of Us season 2 follow the same story as the game? 

Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ellie in The Last of Us

(Image credit: HBO)

It looks exceedingly likely that The Last of Us season 2 won't cover the entirety of The Last of Us: Part 2. In fact, the show's co-creators – Mazin and Druckmann – have already signalled that the events of Part 2 will require multiple seasons to properly bring the ambitious storyline of the second game to life. As for how many seasons The Last of Us will need to tell the next part of Joel and Ellie's adventure, well, that remains to be seen. Although Mazin has teased that "four seems like a good number".

Will The Last of Us season 2 include a time skip? 

Bella Ramsey as Ellie and Pedro Pascal as Joel in The Last of Us

(Image credit: HBO)

In The Last of Us: Part 2 video game, there is a five-year time skip. We shift from the climactic conclusion of The Last of Us: Part 1 to find an older Joel and Ellie settled into life in Jackson, Wyoming. 

In a global press conference attended by Total Film, co-creator Mazin stated: "We're being very careful about how we talk about part two, but The Last of Us Part 2 takes place multiple years after the story of the original game. We'll be looking to directly adapt Part 2." So you should expect the show to feature the time skip, even if other parts of the story are "radically" different from the game.

Will Bella Ramsey be recast as Ellie for The Last of Us season 2?

The Last of Us episode 6

(Image credit: HBO)

Though Ellie is five years older in The Last of Us: Part 2, Bella Ramsey isn't going anywhere. The actor is now 19, the same age as Ellie in the second game. During a press conference attended by Total Film, co-creator Mazin says: "We know what we're going to do in terms of costume and makeup and hair, but more importantly, we also know the soul and spirit of the actor… It will be the show that Neil and I wanna make, and we are making it with Bella. The only way we would ever, ever consider recasting Bella is if they said, 'I don't wanna work with you guys anymore.'"

Want to get caught up on the show ahead of season 2? Here's how to watch The Last of Us TV show online for less.

Lauren Milici
Senior Writer, Tv & Film

Lauren Milici is a Senior Entertainment Writer for GamesRadar+ currently based in the Midwest. She previously reported on breaking news for The Independent's Indy100 and created TV and film listicles for Ranker. Her work has been published in Fandom, Nerdist, Paste Magazine, Vulture, PopSugar, Fangoria, and more.

With contributions from