The Last of Us HBO: 8 questions we have for season 2 and things we would like to see

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Biggest questions ahead of season 2 of HBO show and how it will adapt The Last of Us Part II

The Last of Us has come to a dramatic conclusion as Joel rescued Ellie from the Fireflies and potentially doomed humanity.

HBO’s hit series, which had its second biggest debut in 13 years, will be returning for a second series. The showrunners Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann have said that future seasons would adapt the 2020 sequel.

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The Last of Us Part II takes place four years after Joel’s (Pedro Pascal) rampage through the hospital in Salt Lake City in a bid to save Ellie’s (Bella Ramsey) life. However it dashes any hopes of a vaccine against the cordyceps pandemic.

The sequel explores the fallout from Joel’s decision and his lie to Ellie afterwards as the pair make a home in the peaceful settlement of Jackson, Wyoming. But Ellie soon finds herself on a new quest across the ruins of post-apocalyptic America.

Here are 8 questions we have for season two and things we would like to see:

When can we expect season two?

One of the big questions as the credits rolled on The Last of Us season finale is how long will the hit HBO series be away from our screens? Pedro Pascal hinted earlier in March that filming could take place later in 2023.

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Filming for the first season of The Last of Us began in July 2021 and wrapped in June 2022. The series then debuted in Jauary 2023.

If the show starts filming in autum of this year, it is probably unlikely we will see the second series before 2025.

How will HBO adapt Part II’s structure?

The Last of Us was told in a straightforward episodic style, making it primed perfectly to be adapted for television. However the sequel is a very different beast and features a more complex structure.

Slight spoilers ahead.

In Part II, the game is split between the perspectives of Ellie and Abby. Players experience three days from first Ellie’s side of the story. Just as the story is building towards an apparent climax, the game shifts perspective and players repeat the same three days but from Abby’s point of view.

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One of the major questions for season two of The Last of Us is how the HBO series will adapt this structure. Will it follow the same pattern as the game, focusing soley on Ellie’s journey before shifting to Abby’s perspective? Or will it jump between the characters from the off.

The Last of Us Part II also features a number of flashbacks filling out the four year gap between the end of the original game and the sequel.

Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ellie in The Last of Us, in black and white against an edited yellow background (Credit: HBO/NationalWorld Graphics)Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ellie in The Last of Us, in black and white against an edited yellow background (Credit: HBO/NationalWorld Graphics)
Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ellie in The Last of Us, in black and white against an edited yellow background (Credit: HBO/NationalWorld Graphics) | HBO/NationalWorld Graphics

Deeper exploration of Seattle’s factions

In the first series of HBO’s hit show, Mazin and Druckmann used the advantages of TV to explore perspectives outside of just Joel and Ellie - a stand out being the Bill and Frank episode. It is something we would like to see more of in the future.

The Last of Us Part II’s setting of Seattle provides ripe ground for deeper exploration. In particular the two warring factions in the city - the Washington Liberation Front (WLF) and Seraphites.

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The Seraphites are a religious group who reject modernity - such as guns, vehicles, etc - and follow the teachings of The Prophet. The mysterious teacher is depicted in paintings and murals around the game, but she is killed prior to the beginning of the story, during the group’s conflict with the WLF.

The TV show could be a fantastic opportunity to expand on the Prophet and the Seraphites as well as the wider conflict between the two factions.

The WLF’s leader Isaac could also be a character who could be expanded on in the series - as we only see him referenced in Ellie’s half of the game and encounter him a couple of times in Abby’s section.

Will the series still use Future Days?

Fans who have played The Last of Us Part II will know how much of a key role the Pearl Jam track Future Days plays in the story. It is first performed by Joel at the start of the game and recurs throughout.

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The lyrics “if I ever where to lose you, I’d surely lose myself” also echo the themes of the story. However due to the change in the timeline for the HBO series, it raises questions around whether Future Days will still feature.

In Naughty Dog’s original game, the outbreak takes place in September 2013 and then jumps to the 2030s. For the HBO series, it began in 2003 before jumping to 2023.

Future Days featured on Pearl Jam’s 2013 album Lightning Bolt, which actually came out in October of that year - meaning it never released in the world of The Last of Us. Neil Druckmann has explained that Joel learned it from a YouTube video of the band performing the track earlier that year.

The showrunners could find a way to explain the inclusion of Future Days in the HBO series - or will they find another song to use instead?

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Who will play Abby?

The second game introduces a number of new, major characters, but the most important will be Abby. The antagonist/ deuteragonist of Part II, she is the main driver of action throughout the story.

It will be a casting decision the show will have to get right. Abby was played by Laura Bailey in the video game, however the release of The Last of Us sequel was marred by out of context leaks which resulted in Bailey receiving death threats.

Abby will likely remain a divisive figure in the HBO series due to her role in the inciting incident in the story. But the character also recieved critical acclaim from critics for her deep and complex arc.

Fans have speculated that The Wilds’ actor Shannon Berry could be set to step into the role. Internet sleuths discovered that Berry is following Neil Druckmann, Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsey and the official Last of Us HBO account on Instagram.

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The eager investigators also note that Berry is followed by Druckmann. Following the release of The Last of Us Part Two in 2020, Berry even tweeted: “ok I’ve seen too many people now say I look like Abby from the last of us and wow they’re kind of right.”

Will Lev and Yara feature in series 2?

Yara and her brother Lev are key characters in Abby’s half of the story. The siblings are part of the Seraphites but are forced to flee the group due to prejudice against Lev, who is a Trans Man.

Depending on how Mazin and Druckmann adapt the story from Part II, it will be interesting to see if they are introduced in series two or saved for the third season. The siblings could prove ripe for a standalone episode focusing on their experience in the Seraphite community.

Major spoilers below - do not read this section unless you have played The Last of Us Part II

Have you clicked away yet? This is your last chance to click away from the story!

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How much will Pedro Pascal feature?

Abby’s killing of Joel is the inciting incident for the story of the sequel. It is a safe bet that he will be killed in the first episode of season two.

However due to the game’s unique structure and use of flashbacks, Joel still appears throughout the story as the gap between the end of The Last of Us and the start of Part II is filled in. It will be interesting to see how often Pedro Pascal will feature in the second season.

Will the second season follow Tommy in Seattle?

Ellie is not the only character from Jackson who travels to Seattle in a bid get revenge for the killing of Joel. She is joined by Dina, with Jesse following not far behind.

However Tommy is the first one to arrive in Seattle but does not reunite with Ellie until the mid-point of the game. He is also seen from Abby’s point of view in an intriguing boss battle in which players have to avoid his sniper before trying to take him down.

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The HBO series ability to feature multiple perspectives, gives an opportunity for his time in Seattle to be expanded upon. It will also be interesting to see how having a child impacts on his decisions - as this was not a factor in the game.

Where will season two end?

The first series of The Last of Us adapted the full story of the original game, including its iconic ending. However Mazin and Druckmann have talked about how Part II may need to be adapted over two seasons, due to it having a larger scope - lasting over 20 hours compared to the original’s 10.

But where the showrunners will decide to split the game makes for an interesting decision. The confrontation at the theatre offers a posibility if the show remains focused on Ellie’s perspective for the second series, but it would mean not introducing Abby, Lev and Yara properly until season three - and then barely featuring Bella Ramsey in that.

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