‘The Last Of Us’ Season 2 Updates: New Cast Members, Premiere Date News & More Details

'The Last of Us' will return for season 2, and HBO has revealed the stars who have been cast in key roles. Here are all the latest season 2 updates.

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The Last of Us was one of the biggest shows of 2023. The hit HBO series, based on the Naughty Dog game, became a rating juggernaut for the network. The season finale reached a series high of 8.2 million viewers despite airing on the same night as the Oscars. The show earned several Golden Globe nominations, including Best Television Series, Drama. It’s been a year since the show premiere, and The Last of Us is finally revealing major tidbits about season 2. Get ready for Abby and Dina!

The season 1 finale set the stage for what’s to come in season 2. Joel and Ellie finally made it to the Fireflies, but their journey didn’t end as they were expecting. Ellie was going to have to die in hopes of finding a cure, and Joel refused to let that happen. He went on a hospital massacre to save Ellie and eventually killed Marlene to protect her. When Ellie asked Joel for the truth about what happened, he lied to her face. Joel’s shocking actions showcased the depths people will go to for those they love.

So, what do we know about The Last of Us season 2? When is season 2 going to be released? Who is playing Abby? Hollywood Life has rounded up all the latest news about the second season.

‘The Last Of Us’ Season 2 Release Date

HBO has not announced a release date for the second season of The Last of Us. According to multiple outlets, season 2 will air in 2025.

Pedro Pascal
Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey as Joel and Ellie. (HBO)

The hit show was renewed for season 2 on January 27, 2023. “I’m humbled, honored, and frankly overwhelmed that so many people have tuned in and connected with our retelling of Joel and Ellie’s journey. The collaboration with Craig Mazin, our incredible cast & crew, and HBO exceeded my already high expectations,” executive producer Neil Druckmann said in a statement. “Now we have the absolute pleasure of being able to do it again with season two! On behalf of everyone at Naughty Dog & PlayStation, thank you!”

Fellow EP Craig Mazin also said, “I’m so grateful to Neil Druckmann and HBO for our partnership, and I’m even more grateful to the millions of people who have joined us on this journey. The audience has given us the chance to continue, and as a fan of the characters and world Neil and Naughty Dog created, I couldn’t be more ready to dive back in.”

‘The Last Of Us’ Season 2 Cast

The Last of Us wouldn’t be The Last of Us without Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey. Since Joel and Ellie were traveling back to Tommy’s settlement in Jackson, Wyoming, at the end of season 1, you can expect Gabriel Luna and Rutina Wesley to return as Tommy and Maria. At the start of 2024, HBO announced the cast members who will be playing pivotal roles in season 2.

Kaitlyn Dever
Kaitlyn Dever will play Abby. (Image Press Agency/NurPhoto/Shutterstock)

The role of Abby will be a major one in The Last of Us, and the season 1 finale actually set up her introduction. When Joel went on his killing rampage at the hospital to save Ellie, he killed a doctor who was about to perform surgery on Ellie to try and find a cure for the cordyceps infection. In The Last of Us Part II, that doctor is Jerry Anderson, Abby’s father. Abby vows to avenge her father’s death and what she does to do that will make her one of TV’s most controversial characters.

Kaitlyn Dever will play Abby in The Last of Us season 2. For months leading up to Kaitlyn’s announcement, fans became convinced that The Wilds alum Shannon Berry would play Abby. And it wasn’t just because Shannon and Abby look similar. Neil Druckmann followed Shannon on Instagram, according to Forbes, and Shannon followed Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsey, Neil, and The Last of Us Instagram accounts.

Isabela Merced
Isabela Merced will played Dina. (Image Press Agency/NurPhoto/Shutterstock)

The character of Dina, one of Ellie’s closest friends, will be played by Isabela Merced. The actress is known for her roles in Dora and the Lost City of Gold and the upcoming Superman: Legacy and Madame Web. “Dina is warm, brilliant, wild, funny, moral, dangerous and instantly lovable,” series co-creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann said in a statement, according to Variety. “You can search forever for an actor who effortlessly embodies all of those things, or you can find Isabela Merced right away. We couldn’t be prouder to have her join our family.”

Beef star Young Mazino will play Jesse in season 2. Jesse is described as “a pillar of his community who puts everyone else’s needs before his own, sometimes at terrible cost,” Variety noted. The Last of Us co-creators released the following statement about the actor. “Young is one of those rare actors who is immediately undeniable the moment you see him. We’re so lucky to have him, and we can’t wait for the audience to see Young shine in our show.”

Will Ellie Be Recast?

There’s been speculation online that the role of Ellie could be recast because The Last of Us Part II, which will play out in season 2, jumps 5 years ahead after Part I. Ellie matures a lot during that time jump, which is shown in the game. Some fans have been thinking that Bella Ramsey could be replaced with an older actor.

Craig noted that Bella is currently 19 years old, which is Ellie’s age in Part II. He confirmed that Bella will return in season 2 as Ellie. “We are making it with Bella,” he said in a virtual press conference, according to Variety.

Bella Ramsey
Bella Ramsey as Ellie. (HBO)

Neil added, “We are extremely lucky to have Bella and the stuff you saw throughout this entire season. The only way we would ever, ever consider recasting Bella is if she said, ‘I don’t want to work with you guys anymore.’ Even then, I’m not sure we would grant her that. We might still force her to come back to season 2.”

Craig also pointed out that there will continue to be changes from the game to the screen. The show will not be a carbon copy of the game. “People were like, ‘She doesn’t look like the character.’ It doesn’t matter. Just watch what happens,” he said. “I think there is still this anxiety, like, this constant drumbeat of anxiety. All I can say to people is: I have so much anxiety myself, about doing a good job on this. Just know, I am also very anxious. If you’re anxious about something, I’m probably anxious about it, which means we’re talking about it and thinking about it. We will present things, but it will be different, just as this season was different. Sometimes it will be different radically, and sometimes it will be barely different at all, but it’s going to be different. It will be its own thing. It won’t be exactly like the game. It will be the show that Neil and I want to make.”

What Will Happen In Season 2?

The official synopsis from PlayStation for The Last of Us Part II reads, “Five years after their dangerous journey across the post-pandemic United States, Ellie and Joel have settled down in Jackson, Wyoming. Living amongst a thriving community of survivors has allowed them peace and stability, despite the constant threat of the infected and other, more desperate survivors. When a violent event disrupts that peace, Ellie embarks on a relentless journey to carry out justice and find closure. As she hunts those responsible one by one, she is confronted with the devastating physical and emotional repercussions of her actions.”

If you’ve played the game or looked up spoilers, you know that something monumental happens to Joel in Part II. Pedro addressed the game-changing twist in his interview with Esquire. “It wouldn’t make sense to follow the first game so faithfully only to stray severely from the path… So, yeah, that’s my honest answer,” he said.

Craig is being cryptic about The Last of Us season 2’s trajectory regarding Joel. “This should be fairly obvious to anyone by now, but I don’t fear killing characters,” he told Esquire. “But the important thing to note is that neither Neil [Druckmann] nor I feel constrained by the source material.”

Bella, who identifies as nonbinary and uses any pronouns, revealed on the Happy Sad Confused podcast that she’s “really excited” to watch the Ellie and Dina story unfold. “I’ve watched a cut together, someone’s made a phenomenal – I don’t know how they do it – like an amazing edit of just like the gameplay, like Ellie and Dina’s love story. So I’m excited to play that out,” she said.

The Last of Us
The doctors about to perform a deadly surgery on Ellie. (HBO)

The actor is also looking forward to exploring Ellie’s “complexity of her relationship with Joel and how that gets decidedly more complex… And the violence that ensues is thrilling in a way, to get to maybe explore that in a really safe environment. It will be cool. But I am nervous about it too. Like I’m nervous about, because I know what happens in the second game and I’m nervous about being potentially without Pedro for a while. It’s gonna be really sad.”

In a November 2023 interview, Bella elaborated on what they’re excited for in season 2. “I’m excited for the really intense stuff, because I did a bit of that in season 1 obviously, but to do that. And actually more physical scenes because Ellie is obviously more physically fit in season 2. I love stunt stuff, and like waking up with bruises the next day, and finding myself with a black eye, just because it feels like so good to have done it,” the actor told Collider.

Bella added, “So I’m looking forward to doing that stuff, and also the Dina storyline. Because obviously, I had the one episode in season 1 with Ellie and Riley, but to have it as a storyline throughout the whole of the second game in terms of Ellie and Dina is really exciting.”

Will There Be A Season 3?

HBO has not revealed exactly how many seasons The Last of Us will have. There is no The Last of Us Part III game, but the showrunners could extend the Part II storyline over several seasons.

“I remember, early on, I asked Craig and HBO, ‘How many episodes does this season need to be?’ And the answer was, ‘As many as the story requires, and no more.’ And likewise, that would be our approach for future seasons to say, ‘Okay, this will be as many seasons as required to reach that ending, and no more,'” Neil told Collider.

In a post-finale interview, Neil told GQ that it will take “more than one season” to fully cover the second game. When asked if it will take two or three seasons to explore the second game in its entirety, Craig said, “You have noted correctly that we will not say how many. But more than one is factually correct.”

Neil added, “Some of the stuff I’m most excited for [in Part 2] are the changes we’ve discussed and seeing the story come to life again in this other version. And I think it’s exciting because it leans into those feelings you had from the game, really heavily, in a new way.” HollywoodLife will keep you updated on the latest The Last of Us season 2 news.