I can’t wait for The Last of Us season 2 to air but I’m also dreading it — here’s why

The Last of Us HBO
(Image credit: Future/HBO)

In theory, I should be absolutely thrilled that HBO has recently announced that The Last of Us Season 2 will most likely air in 2025. With the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA strikes mercifully over, showrunner Craig Mazin has revealed production on the second season will begin on February 12, 2024. And let me make this clear, despite the headline above, I’m sure of one thing: it will be the definition of must-see appointment viewing.

I’m just absolutely terrified about the prospect of actually watching it.

Spoiler warning: Certain plot details and a key image from the original season of TLoU feature below, so proceed with caution if you've not watched it yet.

I’ve got no doubt both Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey will absolutely smash their roles as Joel and Ellie out of the park once more, nor do I doubt the production values on this Max show will be sky-high. My former colleague Henry T. Casey rightly gave the debut season a 5 star rating in our The Last of Us HBO series review. It’s an astonishing piece of television that builds and improves upon pretty much every aspect of storytelling from one of the all-time great video game tales. 

So my fear factor surrounding the second season has absolutely nothing to do with the quality levels I’m fully expecting Mazin and Neil Druckmann to deliver. 

It’s also not because I’m fretting over Clickers, Bloaters or any other Infected beasties giving me the heebie-jeebies, either. Thanks to a former boss of mine sharing a copy of British psychological horror Kill List with me back in 2011, it’s basically impossible for any form of fiction to scare me now. Although that said, I’m not massively looking forward to watching the show’s version of The Rat King go about its disgusting business.

What really scares me is my ability to emotionally handle this follow-up season’s plot"

No, what really scares me is my ability to emotionally handle this follow-up season’s plot. Within the last week I wrote that I won’t be able to bring myself to play the upcoming The Last of Us 2 Remastered. Again, not because it doesn’t look great, or that the $10 upgrade path for owners of the PS4 original isn’t a sweet deal; it’s just that I simply can’t relive the game’s most upsetting scenes again.

Considering just how effective the original season was at embellishing relatively minor plot points from the first game — that third episode “Long, Long Time” is astounding — I’m both intrigued and terrified about how the showrunners decide to expand upon elements of The Last of Us 2’s already deeply traumitising plot.

I am going to watch the second season of what’s inarguably the best video game adaptation ever developed for the small screen, though. For those who’ve played The Last of Us 2, I’m not going to lie: I’ll 100% be watching THAT scene through my fingers. But there’s no way this TLoU mega-fan is going to skip the show, purely because my inner AV nerd won’t allow it.

Max-ical moments

The Last of Us HBO - giraffe scene

(Image credit: Future/HBO)

Here in Britain, I don’t know how good the first season’s image transfer was on Max when it aired in the States. Yet as you can see above, it looked absolutely sensational on these frigid shores, provided you were watching in 4K through either Sky Stream or Sky Q.

Granted, the photo above is The Last of Us playing on my 77-inch LG G3 OLED, so obviously my viewing experience is going to be elevated compared to someone watching on a 17-year-old CRT.

Also, that’s another reason I’ll ultimately end up watching Ellie and Joel’s continuing apocalyptic adventures: Season one utterly nailed every single major moment from the PS3 masterpiece. That giraffe scene is in the running for being my favorite video game moment of all-time, and HBO did it complete justice.

Hoo-boy am I glad Craig and co. decided to shoot that sequence with a real-life giraffe. If they’d gone down the CG route and not pulled off Jurassic Park-rivalling results, the episode could have been ruined.

My colleague Tom will likely get his wish that we won’t see season 2 of the Last of Us until 2026 thanks to the delays that pushed back production dates. But just like our resident phones guru, I’ll definitely be watching.

Just don’t judge me too harshly when I start blubbering uncontrollably when a certain thing may or may not occur.

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Dave Meikleham
UK Computing Editor

Dave is a computing editor at Tom’s Guide and covers everything from cutting edge laptops to ultrawide monitors. When he’s not worrying about dead pixels, Dave enjoys regularly rebuilding his PC for absolutely no reason at all. In a previous life, he worked as a video game journalist for 15 years, with bylines across GamesRadar+, PC Gamer and TechRadar. Despite owning a graphics card that costs roughly the same as your average used car, he still enjoys gaming on the go and is regularly glued to his Switch. Away from tech, most of Dave’s time is taken up by walking his husky, buying new TVs at an embarrassing rate and obsessing over his beloved Arsenal.