With the success of the first season - and the green-lighting of a Season 2 - of HBO's The Last of Us, star Jeffrey Pierce offered his thoughts on a potential Season 3.
HBO's adaptation of the hit PlayStation franchise has been a resounding success for the network. The series continues to break viewership records and has even had a Season 2 announced, with teases of this next story being planted in Season 1.
The showrunner of the HBO Max series and co-creator/game director of The Last of Us games, Neil Druckmann, revealed that Season 2 will likely be a straight adaptation of The Last of Us Part II, with "no plans to tell any stories beyond adapting the game."
However, being such a massive story, the sequel feels ripe to be split up more so than the first game was.
HBO's The Last of Us Star Teases Season 3
Warning - The rest of this article contains spoilers for The Last of Us Part II
Speaking exclusively with The Direct's Klein Felt, star of HBO's The Last of Us series and both The Last of Us games Jeffrey Pierce revealed his belief that HBO will plan to develop a Season 3 in order to properly adapt The Last of Us Part II.
When asked about the newly-announced Season 2 and plans for an adaptation of Part II, Pierce - who played Perry in the HBO series and Tommy in the games - noted that he thinks they'll have to "stretch [the HBO series] beyond a second season" simply because "there’s just so much story to tell in the second game:”
"Yeah, I can’t wait to see what they do with it. I think they’ll stretch it beyond a second season, because there’s just so much story to tell in the second game.”
He remarked that he cannot wait to see a few select scenes from the second game, pointing to "Tommy coming over to see Ellie after Joel’s death," which he recalled the "magical" experience of performing during the production of The Last of Us Part II:
"I mean, I love the opening. The whole sort of, ‘Jesus Christ, Joel. What did you do?’ I’m sure that will be in the show. Looking forward to seeing that. I’m looking forward to Tommy coming over to see Ellie after Joel’s death. That scene… playing that with Ashley was magical. Yeah, and then the scene at the farm, all that I love– I love so much of what I got to do as Tommy. And… these are like meaty moments when it comes to the farmhouse at the end with Dina, and Ashley, and talks about chasing Abby down."
The Last of Us actor also broke down the acclaimed video game franchise getting the HBO treatment and the failed attempts to adapt the franchise for the big screen.
He remembered "[doing] the table read" for the film version of The Last of Us, adding that the movie "didn’t have the opportunity to breathe the way that the show [does]:"
"Yeah, I’ve mentioned before that I got to go and do the table read. And so that was a great experience. I happened to be in L.A. at the time. And it was a really good read. I mean, like it’s difficult. Table reads are notoriously difficult, but it did not have the same energy that we achieved in the motion capture stage. So, I don’t know if that was… is a good barometer on whether it would have been a successful film or not. But they had to shoehorn a lot of stuff into a two-hour script. And it just didn’t have the opportunity to breathe the way that the show was breathing now.”
Does The Last of Us Need a Season 3?
While 2013's The Last of Us has felt ripe for a single-season TV adaptation since its initial release (even almost becoming an animated series at one point), Jeffrey Pierce may be right in thinking that a Season 3 might be needed just to get through the story of Part II.
Showrunners Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin have both been clear they have no plans on expanding the world of The Last of Us beyond the two games. And with the idea of a third game in the Naughty Dog-developed series seemingly so far off, it feels like once the HBO Max team is done with Part II's story, that will be it (at least, for a good chunk of time).
Season 3 of HBO's The Last of Us does feel inevitable though, and it is almost surprising it was not greenlit alongside Season 2. As Pierce said "there’s just so much story to tell in the second game," and if HBO Max wants to give everything in Part II "the opportunity to breathe," then a Season 2 is almost necessary.
And given that The Last of Us Part II features two different stories that cross paths and eventually converge, splitting it into two would be as natural as turning the first The Last of Us game into a single season of prestige television.
Jeffrey Pierce can be seen in The Last of Us on Sundays at 9 p.m. EST on HBO Max.