The Last of Us season 2 leak just calmed my biggest fear — here’s why

Pedro Pascal as Joel in HBO's The Last of Us
(Image credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO)

The Last of Us season 2 is my most anticipated upcoming TV show. I’m a super fan of the gaming franchise and loved HBO’s adaptation of the first game. But I’ve been pretty skeptical about its sophomore season for a while because The Last of Us Part 2 is extremely divisive.

I’m in the camp that believes the second Last of Us game is a masterpiece, but there’s an extremely vocal group of players who were incredibly disappointed with the 2020 follow-up. I have no desire to further fuel a social media firestorm that’s been raging for the best part of four years, but let’s just say a lot of people have strong opinions about Last of Us Part 2, and aren't afraid to shout about them. 

As Part 2 generated such "passionate" feelings in some players, I feared that The Last of Us showrunners Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann (The latter also served as a co-director on both Last of Us games), may look to make structural or narrative changes to the story to placate disgruntled gamers and to avoid similarly toxic conversations on social media a second time around. 

However, the latest The Last of Us season 2 leak appears to have assuaged my biggest fear and could be an indication that Mazin and Druckmann are fully committed to adapting The Last of Us Part 2 with the same accuracy and authenticity as they did when bringing the first game to television. And that’s got me ready to abandon my current concerns and embrace the hype.   

Before diving into the leak, it’s only right that I give a spoiler warning. Below I’m going to delve into major spoilers for The Last of Us Part 2 video game, and by extension likely spoilers for The Last of Us season 2 show. You have been warned.... 

An image indicating spoilers are ahead.

The Last of Us Part 2 just got a big production update 

According to industry insider Daniel Richtman, Pedro Pascal, who plays hardened survivor Joel Miller in The Last of Us show, has wrapped filming for season 2. 

This is especially significant as the show reportedly only began production in February of this year, which would suggest that Pascal’s role in the second season is reduced compared to his leading turn in the show's first collection of episodes.   

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Of course, anybody who has played The Last of Us Part 2 on PS4 (or via the recent remastered version on PS5) will know that Joel is brutally murdered within the game’s opening act, and the game then follows his adopted daughter Ellie on a mission of revenge as she hunts down those responsible across the rain-swept city of Seattle, Washington. 

Joel is a beloved character, so his death brought about no small amount of controversy. And with Pedro Pascal’s star only rising — he’s recently been cast as Reed Richards in the MCU’s upcoming Fantastic Four movie — there had been speculation that the HBO show may work the game’s story to keep Pascal’s Joel around for longer. That would be a mistake. 

Fortunately, if Pascal has indeed wrapped his work on The Last of Us Part 2 already, then we can assume that Joel will probably meet a similar fate in the show as his video game counterpart does. Watching that harrowing scene in digital form is heartbreaking enough, seeing it in live action will be horrible, but it’s absolutely vital to Part 2’s story as kickstarts Ellie's self-destructive quest for vengeance. 

However, much as I want this new to be accurate, be sure to note that this is currently just a rumor. There’s been no official word from Pascal or HBO that the actor has finished filming, so take this with a grain of salt for now. 

Concrete details on The Last of Us season 2 are pretty thin, but we do know that Bella Ramsey is returning as Ellie and that Kaitlyn Dever is joining the cast as Abby, a key figure in The Last of Us Part 2. Naturally, there are no release date details yet, but we expect the show to return sometime in 2025.  

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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.