“What We Know So Far”
The Last Of Us is the rarest of things – a live action video game adaptation that doesn’t suck.
Released earlier this month, HBO’s The Last Of Us takes place 20 years after modern civilisation has been destroyed. Joel (Pedro Pascal), a hardened survivor, is hired to smuggle Ellie (Bella Ramsey), a 14-year-old girl, out of an oppressive quarantine zone. What starts as a small job soon becomes a brutal and heartbreaking journey as they travel across America and depend on each other for survival.
READ MORE: ‘The Last Of Us’ review: an apocalyptically good video game port
Based on the celebrated PlayStation game of the same name, original series creator Neil Druckmann co-wrote the HBO series and served as executive producer which goes some way to explain The Last Of Us’ monumental success.
The first episode of The Last Of Us became HBO’s second biggest premiere in over a decade after House Of The Dragon, racking up 4.7 million viewers in the US across HBO and streaming service HBO Max.
Viewership of the second episode jumped up to 5.7 million viewers, a 22 per cent increase. But will the show get a second season?
‘The Last Of Us’ season one comprises nine episodes. CREDIT: HBO/Sky
Has The Last Of Us season 2 been confirmed?
A second season of The Last Of Us was announced before the third episode aired.
“I’m humbled, honoured, and frankly overwhelmed that so many people have tuned in and connected with our retelling of Joel and Ellie’s journey,” said co-creator Neil Druckmann. “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!”
The journey continues. #TheLastOfUs will return for another season on @HBOMax. pic.twitter.com/FQNG6vhk1d
— The Last of Us (@TheLastofUsHBO) January 27, 2023
“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,” added Craig Mazin, co-creator on the show. “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.”
Where could The Last Of Us go in season 2?
Less unconditional love, more revenge
With the bulk of the season still to air, there’s a chance HBO’s The Last Of Us could veer drastically off into uncharted territory but so far, the adaptation is sticking fairly faithfully to the source material. It’s been reported that the nine episodes of The Last Of Us cover the entirety of the first game but luckily, there’s another game to pull from.
Released in 2020, The Last Of Us Part 2 picks up five years after the events of the original and sees Ellie off on another adventure alongside newcomer Abby, “a soldier who becomes involved in a conflict between her militia and a religious cult.”
In a 2020 interview with Eurogamer, Druckmann said the first game was about “how far someone is willing to go for someone they love unconditionally” while the sequel is about “how far are you willing to go for love, but when someone has wronged someone you really care about. How far are you willing to go to do right by them, to bring the people responsible to justice and what effect that would have could have on you.”
‘The Last Of Us’ debuts on January 16. CREDIT: HBO/Sky
What have cast and crew said about season 2?
It’s going to be “a lot”
Co-creator Craig Mazin was already thinking about season two of The Last Of Us before the first aired.
Talking to Variety, he said: “There’s an enormous amount of story that Neil created that we would want to dive into. The second game is much bigger than the first one. So we were just starting now to talk about how to kind of break it into a season – seasons. How do we adapt? What do we keep? What do we change? How do we transform? What do we add? All those things we’re just starting to talk about now.”
But he’s promised The Last Of Us won’t go on indefinitely. In an interview with Collider, he explained: “I don’t have much narrative interest in writing a show that is designed to perpetually continue until the network finally puts it out of its misery somewhere. I write to endings. Endings are everything to me.”
“And also, if the show doesn’t have an ending, it means nothing ultimately is truly purposeful. All the stakes become empty because, if the network renews you, everything’s fine, and I don’t know how to do that,” he added.
‘The Last Of Us Part II’. CREDIT: Naughty Dog
He went on to say that the story left to adapt from The Last Of Us Part 2 is “a lot” and will “probably take more than [one] season to tell [but] our ambition is to tell the story that exists, as best as we can, in a different medium.”
Druckmann added: “Yeah, 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’.”
Who will return in The Last Of Us season 2?
Nothing’s official but expect the stars to be back
Neither Pedro Pascal or Bella Ramsey have confirmed if they’ll be making a return, but their characters Joe and Ellie do feature in The Last Of Us Part Two.
And despite the “big time jump”, Mazin has ruled out recasts. “There’s a little bit of interesting flexibility. Wonderful things that makeup can do,” he told Collider. “We don’t get too wrapped up in that stuff. As long as people are absorbed by the story, I think there’s some flexibility there.”
Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey. CREDIT: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic
But what if there’s a The Last Of Us Part Three video game to pull from?
Don’t count on it
Despite the renewed entry in the franchise, Naughty Dog has confirmed that they may never make a sequel to The Last Of Us Part Two.
“I know there’s a bunch of people wondering about The Last Of Us Part 3 and whether that will be a thing or not. All I could say is, at Naughty Dog we’re very, very privileged that our publisher Sony has supported us every step of the way to follow our passions,” Druckmann told Buzzfeed.
He went on to explain that this meant that “just because something is successful, people think there’s all this pressure and we have to make a sequel. That’s not the case.”
“It’s up to us whether we want to continue it or not. If we can come up with a compelling story that has this universal message and statement about love – just like the first and second game did – then we will tell that story. If we can’t come up with something, we have a very strong ending with Part 2 and that will be the end.”
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