What Happens in ‘The Last of Us’ Season 2? Here’s the Plot of the Next Game

We’ve got a spoiler-lite rundown of the acclaimed video game sequel

Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey as Joel and Ellie in "The Last of Us" (Credit: HBO)

“The Last of Us” Season 1 officially concluded on Sunday. But luckily for fans, a second season was greenlit in January that will be based (at least in part) on the 2013 action adventure video game’s sequel.

“The Last of Us Part II” was released on the PlayStation 4 on June 19, 2020. The game has sold through 10 million units globally as of Spring 2022, won over 300 Game of the Year awards and currently holds a Metacritic score of 93 indicating “universal acclaim” – though fans remain divided on the sequel’s story.

So if you’re wondering what “The Last of Us” Season 2 might be about, some hints can be derived from the plot of the sequel game. Here’s what you need to know, without getting too spoilery.

“The Last of Us: Part II” follows Ellie and Joel five years after their dangerous journey across the post-pandemic United States, where the pair has settled down in Jackson, Wyoming. So yes, there’s a big time jump. And yes, Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal are expected to return.

“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,” PlayStation’s description of the game states. “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.”

In addition to Ellie and Joel, Tommy and his wife Maria return in the sequel. The game also introduces a series of new characters, including Ellie’s friends Dina and Jessie, Washington Liberation Front members Abby, Owen, Manny, Nora and Mel; and Yara and Lev, two former members of a primitivist cult at war with the WLF known as the Seraphites.

Craig Mazin, the co-creator of HBO’s adaptation of “The Last of Us,” teased that the second season of the post-apocalyptic drama will make deviations from its source material.

“Sometimes it will be different radically and sometimes it will be barely different at all, but it’s going to be different and it will be its own thing,” he told reporters last week. “It won’t be exactly like the game. It will be the show that Neil [Druckmann] and I want to make.”

One aspect that will stay the same from the previous season is Bella Ramsey as Ellie. The “Game of Thrones” actress has faced criticism from some trolls and toxic fans online since being cast in the role, with the latest complaint being that she’s too young to play Ellie during the events of the “The Last of Us: Part II.” But co-creator Craig Mazin pointed out that she is currently 19 — Ellie’s exact age during the game.

“We are extremely lucky to have Bella…and the only way we would ever consider recasting Bella is if she said, ‘I don’t want to work with you guys anymore’,” Druckmann added. “And even then we’re not sure we would grant her that. We might force her to come back this season.”

In comparison to the first game, “The Last of Us” Part II” is much more massive in scope. Though it is unknown if “The Last of Us” will be renewed for additional seasons in the future, Mazin previously suggested to TheWrap that the story of the second game is large enough to be broken up into more than one season.

“The second game is much bigger than the first, the amount of story there is much larger,” Mazin said at the time. “So the positive thing is it’s not like, oh, there’s just one more season. I think that there is more than one more season to do.”

At the same time, he emphasized that he and Druckmann are “pretty committed to not making “The Last of Us” an open-ended, ongoing drama.” 

“That’s just not what we do. We’re here to tell the story and we’re here to reach an end. The end helps us understand why we’re doing anything and the fact that there is an end that is baked in and definite means that the things you watch and experience as a viewer matter,” he added. “It is not simply a question of restarting everything next season because the real idea is to just keep the show going forever. So we won’t. We will take up as much time as we need to finish telling the story the way we want to tell it best.“

Season 1 of “The Last of Us” is streaming now on HBO Max