After the hit HBO show's debut in 2022, the anticipation surrounding The Last of Us' sophomore run is high, especially after Season 1 so faithfully adapted the events of the first game.
In January 2023, The Last of Us showrunner Neil Druckmann confirmed that they have "no plans to tell any stories beyond adapting the game," strongly indicating that Season 2 will closely adapt the game's second installment.
What to Expect in The Last of Us Season 2
1.) Ellie and Dina’s Relationship (The Pair’s Sex Scene Inside the Weed Farm)
During the early moments of The Last of Us Part II, Ellie and Dina were out on patrol, but a blizzard forced them to take shelter in a house filled with dried cannabis. After the pair smoke and start to feel the effect, Ellie kissed Dina, and the screen cut to black.
The following scene confirmed that the pair had sex, cementing the start of their romantic relationship.
This scene was deemed controversial by some since fans claimed that Ellie and Dina's sex scene was not necessary. However, others pointed out that the intimate scene served as an important part of Ellie's coming-out story in the game.
Given that Part II's LGBTQ+ themes and Bill and Frank's romantic side plot in Season 1 were hated by some fans, highlighting Ellie and Dina's intimate scene in Season 2 could be seen as controversial.
Still, it's possible that The Last of Us Season 2 will end up including Ellie and Dina's sex scene, being adapted similarly to the game.
2.) Abby Killing Joel
The Last of Us Part II shocked everyone when Joel was killed during the game's first few hours, and here's a recap of what happened.
While Joel and Tommy were out on patrol, the pair initially rescued Abby from a hoard of infected, with her ultimately leading them to an abandoned mansion where her peers stayed for the night.
After learning Joel's name, Abby shot him in the leg with a shotgun before striking him multiple times with a golf club. By the time Ellie finds Joel, he is clinging to life and she bore witness to his death after one final blow from Abby.
Abby killed Joel to seek revenge for the death of her father after Joel killed him during his killing spree in St. Mary's Hospital.
This surprising moment led to an intense debate among fans, with Joel's death instantly becoming a trending topic. Some claimed that Joel's demise was unnecessary while others couldn't accept that the character they spent the most time with in Part I was dead already.
In June 2023, The Last of Us showrunner Craig Mazin teased that Joel's death isn't likely to play out in the way it does in the game, noting that adapting the fates of certain characters from the game revolves around "[doing] what [they] want to in a way that is best for the show that [they're] making:"
“So look, when it comes to the fate of characters, no matter who they are, all I can say is, we will do what we want to do in a way that is best for the show that we’re making and we will always be thinking about… I think the two perspectives that we have, which is Neil [Druckmann]’s perspective as a creator, and my perspective as a fan.”
That said, Season 2 could create its own version of Joel's death. It's possible that Abby will be introduced earlier by becoming a member of the Jackson community, befriending Ellie and Joel before ultimately betraying them.
3.) Ellie Kills Mel While She Was Pregnant
During Ellie's quest for revenge against Abby for killing Joel, she tracked down all of Abby's Seattle-based friends. In doing so, Ellie managed to kill most of Abby's friends, but a quite notable demise was Mel.
In the game, Ellie broke into the aquarium where Owen and Mel are hiding. The couple were caught off-guard by Ellie, holding them at gunpoint to try and find Abby. Ellie then shot Owen in the chest after he tried to stop her, leading to Mel's attempt to kill her.
However, Ellie overpowered Mel and stabbed her in the neck, instantly killing her. Ellie then discovered that Mel was pregnant, leading to her horrified realization that she had just killed someone who bears a child.
Killing a pregnant character like Mel was one of Part II's most surprising moments, and the HBO series could ultimately adapt this sequence to up the ante in terms of shock value.
Including this scene could also cement the fact that vengeance really did consume Ellie.
4.) The Shift to Abby’s Perspective
Another shocking development in The Last of Us Part II was the switch to Abby's perspective. In the game, it came after Abby killed Jessie (Ellie's friend) and shot Tommy inside the theater.
Some players expressed disappointment upon discovering the fact that they needed to play as Abby after the intense sequence at the theater. This move was controversial since many implied that the developers want the viewers to sympathize with Abby's decision to kill Joel.
The Last of Us Season 2 could use a similar tactic in showing Abby's perspective.
Interestingly, showrunner Craig Mazin confirmed that he will force the viewers "to not pick sides" in Season 2 as it is poised to introduce a controversial figure like Abby:
"Now, we don’t like to do this. No one likes to do this. We like to be either Christian or Muslim, either a Democrat or a Republican, either a Yankees fan or a Red Sox fan. This is what we like. It’s hard for us to organise our lives if we can’t pick sides. And then what we’re doing here is saying we need you to not pick sides, in fact, we’re going to force you to not pick sides."
It's possible that a huge chunk of the show's sophomore run (probably three to four episodes) will spend a good amount of time exploring Abby's backstory and her other side adventures that tackles her time with the Fireflies, Washington Liberation Front (WLF), and the Seraphites.
Doing this would allow fans to fully understand Abby as a character and not just as Joel's killer.
5.) Lev Discussing Why He and Yara Left the Seraphites
The Last of Us Part II introduced a new group known as the Seraphites, a post-apocalyptic religious cult that believed the cordyceps infection was punishment sent from above due to the sins of mankind.
Lev and his sister Yara grew up as part of the Seraphites. However, Lev (whose known as Lily in the cult) shaved his head to cement his gender identity. As expected, the cultists (even Lev and Yara's own mother) were not happy, with them calling Lev an apostate and forcing him to flee for his life.
Yara then left the cult to look for Lev, resulting in her being called an apostate as well.
Lev's depiction in the game drew controversy from both sides.
LGBTQ+ groups criticized the use of Lev's deadname at one point in the game.
For the uninitiated, deadnaming, as defined by GLAAD Director of Transgender Representation Nick Adams, is "to reveal a transgender person’s birth name without their explicit permission.”
During an intense clash with some Seraphites, some of the Scars refer to Lev as his deadname, prompting the character to ask Abby if she heard what they called him. Abby didn't mind, with her only saying that he can open up if he wants to, but Lev respectfully declined.
Some claimed that Part II's execution mistreated and abused the trans community due to deadnaming and not properly addressing Lev's reaction toward it. Some even called it bad writing and not a proper way of representation.
As for the other side of the equation, there were players who criticized Lev's inclusion due to him being part of the LGBTQ+ community.
The Last of Us Season 2 has a tall task ahead with regard to Lev's live-action portrayal, but there's an appropriate way of addressing this concern.
Instead of Lev declining Abby's offer about listening to her thoughts, the character could still open up about her decision to leave the Seraphites and what it means to be transgender.
The conversation could also center between Lev and Yara instead to further cement their bond as siblings.
The Last of Us Season 1 is streaming on Max.