In a scene from 'The Last of Us,' Joel (Pedro Pascal) stands alone with a pensive expression on his face. His hair and beard are graying to convey how much time has passed since the start of the outbreak.

‘The Last of Us’ Just Cast Another Major Role for Season 2

In 2013, Naughty Dog released a game that took over the world, and now, thanks to creator Neil Druckmann and his television counterpart and co-creator Craig Mazin, fans can’t stop talking about The Last of Us. Production is underway on the second season of the HBO series, and the casting announcements keep rolling in.

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In a very unsurprising twist, HBO had already announced last year that the journey would continue with another season of the hit series starring Pedro Pascal as Joel Miller and Bella Ramsey as Ellie Williams.

Following the announcement, the news instantly made its way around the fandom, leaving everyone screaming for joy. We’re excited to see where the story goes in season 2 and how—or if—it differs from the game. Since there is a bit of a time jump between the two parts of the game, it’ll be interesting to see what the show chooses to do for its second season.

Season 2 casting begins

News has broken that Kaitlyn Dever will be playing Abby, a character fans of the game will instantly know. Dever had been rumored to join the cast and now the rumors are confirmed! “Our casting process for season 2 has been identical to season one: we look for world-class actors who embody the souls of the characters in the source material,” said series co-creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann of Dever’s casting. “Nothing matters more than talent, and we’re thrilled to have an acclaimed performer like Kaitlyn join Pedro, Bella and the rest of our family.”

As one of two playable protagonists in the series’ second game, Abby is a huge addition to the cast and should be a major player in the TV series going forward. Joining Dever in season 2 is Beef‘s Young Mazino, who will be playing Jesse! The Hollywood Reporter broke the news, and spoke with Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann about his casting.

“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,” they said. But even Mazino is not the last casting update for the series!

It has also been revealed that Isabela Merced will be bringing Dina to life in season 2. In the game, Dina is Ellie’s partner and an important player in Ellie’s storyline. Merced is known for playing Dora in Dora and the Lost City of Gold as well as starring in the upcoming Madame Web movie. The cast is slowly filling out with some great additions.

“Dina is warm, brilliant, wild, funny, moral, dangerous and instantly lovable,” Mazin and Druckmann told Deadline. “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.”

Pedro Pascal as Joel Miller in the second episode of 'The Last of Us.'
(HBO)

Before we get into spoiler territory, let’s talk about what we know about season 2 so far and what we can likely expect.

When can we expect season 2?

Given that the first season took about a year to complete in total, we probably won’t see season 2 until 2025. And with filming delayed due to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, it was revealed by HBO boss Casey Bloys at a press conference that the series won’t even head back into production until early 2024. We might be waiting a while to see what happens and that’s okay. It just gives us plenty of time to keep rewatching the first season once all the episodes have been released.

Recently at A Night in the Writers Room panel, Craig Mazin said that production will begin in February of 2024. What that means for the release window is unclear.

Which characters will return for season 2?

In a scene from 'The Last of Us,' Ellie (Bella Ramsey) sits alone in a mostly empty room, her ankle shackled to a radiator.
(HBO)

Well, we know from the game that Joel and Ellie are probably safe. Unless something majorly changes, the two are in Part II. As for the rest of the cast, that is up in the air. There’s a time jump between the first and second games, and Part II starts in Wyoming, where Joel and Ellie are living with Tommy Miller. So we could see Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsey, and Gabriel Luna return, but that depends on where the show takes us and what the plans are for season 2.

Part II does have some big changes that the HBO series might want to hold off on … So let’s talk about what happens in the game and how I think that they could maybe keep the show going for a bit before getting to the events of The Last of Us: Part II.

Spoilers ahead!

What happens in The Last of Us: Part II?

Joel Miller (Pedro Pascal) stands in a dark room, holding a flashlight in a still from 'The Last of Us'
(HBO)

In the game, Joel Miller is older and there is a five-year time jump. Ellie is 19 years old, Joel is 57. Already the show is a bit different because Joel is older in the television show, so if they did season 2 exactly like Part II, Joel would be in his 60s. But the main thing is that Joel Miller dies; he is beaten to death, leading Ellie to seek answers.

Now, Ramsey is already the same age as Ellie in Part II, but she looks younger. So maybe, to space the story out and also give us more time with Pedro Pascal’s Joel, we’ll have a second season that takes place in between those five years. I’d like that, and I think that everyone else who’s obsessed with Joel would, too. But until we know more, the news is bittersweet for fans who know what happens to Joel in the game.

The Last of Us still has a lot of story to tell and we can’t wait to see the rest of the first season. But man, it is going to hurt if they go right into The Last of Us: Part II.

(featured image: HBO)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.