The Last of Us season 2 is on the way, but it's not clear just when we'll see the return of Joel and Ellie to our screens. HBO's adaptation of The Last of Us: Part 1 has only just wrapped up, but we're already looking ahead to what the future will bring, even if new episodes might still be a way off yet. There's plenty to keep you busy in the meantime, though, and we've rounded up all there is to know about the hit HBO show's return below.
We've got what's been said by the show's co-creators Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin about the The Last of Us season 2, along with some release window clues from stars Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal. We've also got what you need to know about The Last of Us Part 2, the source material for the upcoming season.
Of course, it goes without saying, but watch out for major spoilers for The Last of Us season 1 below! Turn back now if you're not up to date!
The Last of Us Season 2 release date is unconfirmed
Will there be a season two for The Last of Us? It's a question that many of you are no doubt wondering following the finale of The Last of Us Season 1. Thankfully, HBO renewed The Last of Us for a second season back in January – which came as no surprise, given how quickly the show broke HBO viewing records. Despite the success, HBO is yet to confirm a The Last of Us season 2 release date. Pedro Pascal hinted that The Last of Us Season 2 could begin filming as early as this year, noting in an interview with Collider (opens in new tab) that "there is a chance, yes" when asked whether production could start soon. Bella Ramsey, though, has suggested on The Jonathan Ross Show the series won't return until "end of 2024, early 2025." (H/T The Independent (opens in new tab))
HBO has taken lengthy breaks on its hit TV shows in the past, so it's likely that 2024-2025 will be the earliest that we see season 2 of The Last of Us debut on HBO.
The Last of Us season 1 recap and ending explained
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 article – this spoiler-heavy 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 story details
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 plot of the game?
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 – Craig Mazin and Neil 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. "You have noted correctly that we will not say how many," Mazin told GQ (opens in new tab). "But more than one is factually correct," Druckmann added.
Does The Last of Us season 2 include a time skip?
In The Last of Us: Part 2 video game, there is a five year timeskip. 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 Craig 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?
Though Ellie is five years older in The Last of Us 2, Bella Ramsey isn't going anywhere. The actor is now 19, the same age as Ellie in Part 2. During a press conference attended by Total Film, co-creator Craig 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.'"
The Last of Us season 2 cast will feature new characters
We're going to do our best to skirt 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 (opens in new tab), Ramsey also explained that they are keen to explore "the complexity of her [Ellie's] 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."
It would also appear that The Last of Us season 1 finale has seeded the arrival of a major Part 2 character, with the climactic episode featuring a cameo that will delight fans of the game. In fact, fans have already begun dream-casting Abby, with many speculating that the character could indeed be Shannon Berry from The Wilds – as Mazin and Druckmann have both recently started following her on Instagram. Druckmann has also teased Abby's arrival in the show with a cryptic social media post.
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.