The Last of Us season 2 will enter production next year, HBO chief confirms

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

We may still have a while to wait to see what horrors are in store for Joel and Ellie. The Last of Us season 2 will enter production in early 2024, HBO and Max content chief Casey Bloys said in a Thursday press conference, Variety reports

Bloys explained that production has been delayed because of the (now-resolved) WGA and (ongoing) SAG-AFTRA strikes. The show's sophomore season also didn't appear on HBO’s slate presentation for 2024, Variety notes, meaning we may not see it debut until 2025 at the earliest.

But that doesn't mean work isn't already well underway. The original Last of Us Game spawned one sequel, The Last of Us: Part II, directed by the show's co-creator Neil Druckmann, and he and showrunner Craig Mazin already have plans to adapt it to the small screen. 

“We’ve outlined all of season 2 and we’re ready to go as soon as the strike ends,” Druckmann told Entertainment Weekly in September. 

“We were able to map out all of season 2,” Mazin said in an August interview with the outlet. “And I also wrote and submitted the script for the first episode and sent it in [to HBO] around 10:30 or 10:40 p.m. right before the midnight the [WGA] strike began." 

"I think it’s becoming essentially a near certainty that we won’t be able to start [filming] when we were hoping to start, which is upsetting," Mazin added. "We are all raring to go.”

(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)

Not much information has been confirmed about season 2 of The Last of Us, but it's almost certain to see Pedro Pascal return as Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ellie, two survivors in a pandemic-ravaged America. Given the time jump between the first and second The Last of Us games, doubts swirled about whether Ramsey would stay on for the next phase of Ellie's adventure. 

But Mazin has since squashed those rumors, telling the press back in March that season 2 "won't be exactly like the game, it will be the show that Neil and I want to make. We are making it with Bella."

Of course, with production delayed by the strikes, that could all be rendered moot if season 2 is given longer to cook. Additionally, The Last of Us: Part II is quite a lot messier than its predecessor in terms of story and pacing, and that's before we even get into the backlash from players over certain narrative decisions. 

Given how big a hit the first season was, it should go without saying that HBO is likely to give Mazin and Druckmann the creative freedom to tell this story how they see fit. But given the particular challenges season 2 faces compared to season 1, it feels like the more time in the oven it can spend the better. 

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Alyse Stanley
News Editor

Alyse Stanley is a news editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing weekend coverage and writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment. Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, Alyse worked as an editor for the Washington Post’s sunsetted video game section, Launcher. She previously led Gizmodo’s weekend news desk, where she covered breaking tech news — everything from the latest spec rumors and gadget launches to social media policy and cybersecurity threats.  She has also written game reviews and features as a freelance reporter for outlets like Polygon, Unwinnable, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. She’s a big fan of horror movies, cartoons, and miniature painting.