After rave reviews from critics and fans alike and strong viewership for its initial episodes, HBO’s live-action television adaptation of “The Last of Us” has scored a renewal for a second season. But while fans of the video games might assume Season 2 would adapt “The Last of Us: Part II” and that would be the end of the story, showrunner Craig Mazin says there’s potentially more than two seasons worth of story in the complete “Last of Us” saga on HBO.
While Season 1 has focused on the events of the first game, the show’s co-creator Craig Mazin suggested to the TheWrap during an interview that the story of “Part II” is so big, it could extend beyond one season.
“Obviously there’s a lot more story to tell that exists. The second game is much bigger than the first, the amount of story there is much larger,” Mazin said. “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, Mazin emphasized that he and Naughty Dog co-president Neil 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.“
An HBO spokesperson declined to comment.
“The Last of Us: Part II” video game was released in 2020 and picks up where the first game left off, but — without getting into spoilers — it does expand the story quite significantly.
“The Last of Us” takes place 20 years after modern civilization has been destroyed. Joel (Pedro Pascal), a hardened survivor, is hired to smuggle a 14-year-old girl named Ellie (Bella Ramsey) out of an oppressive quarantine zone. What starts as a small job soon becomes a brutal, heartbreaking journey, as they both must traverse the U.S. and depend on each other for survival.
In addition to Pascal and Ramsey, the main cast of season 1 includes Gabriel Luna (“True Detective”), who plays Joel’s younger brother and former soldier Tommy, Anna Torv (“Fringe”), who plays a smuggler and fellow hardened survivor Tess and Merle Dandrige (“The Flight Attendant”), who reprises her role from the video game as resistance leader Marlene.
Guest stars in the first season include Nico Parker (“The Third Day”) as Joel’s daughter Sarah; Murray Bartlett (“The White Lotus”) and Nick Offerman (“Parks and Recreation”) as Frank and Bill, two post-pandemic survivalists living alone in their own isolated town; Storm Reid (“Euphoria”) as Riley, an orphan in Boston; and Jeffrey Pierce ( “The Last of Us” video games) as Perry, a rebel in a quarantine zone.
The series is a co-production with Sony Pictures Television. In addition to Mazin and Druckmann, other executive producers on the show include Carolyn Strauss, Evan Wells, Asad Qizilbash, Carter Swan and Rose Lam.
“The Last of Us” airs Sundays at 9 PM ET on HBO and is streaming on HBO Max.