‘The Last of Us’ season 2 episode count confirmed — and there’s good and bad news

Pedro Pascal as Joel Miller in The Last of Us season 2
(Image credit: Max)

The wait for “The Last of Us” season 2 is starting to feel tortuous. Until now fans have had to console themselves with casting news and leaked images from the show’s sets, but we now have some firm details on how the season will be structured from its creative team. 

During a lengthy interview with Deadline, Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, “The Last of Us” TV show’s co-showrunners, confirmed that the second season of the hugely popular HBO show will consist of seven episodes. This is a drop from “The Last of Us” season 1, which comprised nine episodes, but the pair notes one Season 2 episode will be “quite big” in length, which will hopefully make up for the drop. 

On the decision to cut down the number of episodes for the show’s sophomore run, Mazin said, “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, 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.”

“The Last of Us” season 2 won’t rush things

A Clicker is visible in the shadows of the background of the new photo if you raise the visibility.

(Image credit: Matt Fowler via Twitter; HBO)

Fans are already widely speculating online how The Last of Us Part 2’s sprawling story will be broken up. The most common theory is that a game of golf will be played in the final episode of “The Last of Us” season 2...I’ll say no more to avoid spoilers. Those who have played the 2020 game will know what that means. 

On the surface, fewer episodes could suggest a more truncated retelling of the game’s story, but fear not Last of Us fans. “We just want to put people’s minds at ease that the idea that this season coming up is a little bit shorter than the first one is not because we’re taking less time to tell the stories, it’s because we want to take more time,” said Mazin. 

The co-showrunner also added, “The story that we’re telling is much bigger than the story of Season 1, there’s just a lot more going on, it’s a lot harder to produce but we want every episode to feel like its own blockbuster to be honest with you.”

“The Last of Us” could run for several more seasons

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

(Image credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO)

While HBO has only renewed “The Last of Us” through season 2 as it stands, Mazin and Druckmann are already looking ahead, and are laying out a roadmap that will cover additional seasons. 

“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,” explained Mazin. “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.” 

In fact, Mazin may have confirmed that The Last of Us Part 2’s story will require three full seasons of television to adapt, as he 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.”

“The Last of Us” TV show won’t go beyond the games

(L to R) Bella Ramsey as Ellie and Pedro Pascal as Joel, navigating a museum, in The Last of Us on HBO

(Image credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO)

In the same interview, Mazin also shot down the idea of the show doing a “Game of Thrones” and covering events beyond the two currently available video games. “There’s no world where I would want our show to go beyond the source material that people have in the world,” said Mazin. 

“Our show as people know it on HBO is going to cover the material from the second game and then quite a bit of material that is relevant to that story but, as I said, wanders down interesting new paths, unseen stories that were told within the context of that games material.”

Neil Druckmann, also head of Last of Us developer Naughty Dog, echoed Mazin’s reassurances: “Our focus is the two games. As Craig mentioned, there’s quite a bit of material there that we’re taking our time with, and we’re looking at each piece individually to make sure it’s got its own arc, its own journey that the characters go on, but there is a grander plan that ties all the seasons together.”

“The Last of Us” season 2 is currently in production, with a premiere date expected in 2025. It will again star Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey as Joel and Ellie, two survivors in a post-apocalyptic world full of mutated infected. New cast members for season 2 will include Kaitlyn Dever, Jeffrey Wright, Young Mazino and Isabela Merced. 

For more details on the show’s eagerly anticipated return check out our dedicated “The Last of Us” season 2 hub. And in the interim, now’s a great time to rewatch the show’s amazing first season on Max, or you could play The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered on PS5

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Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.