The entertainment landscape has been shaken by the ongoing Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike, and HBO's post-apocalyptic The Last of Us is the latest impacted by current events.
The highly acclaimed The Last of Us adaptation, starring the phenomenal Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, was the talk of the town earlier in the year. Understandably, HBO is eager to capitalize on its success.
Despite Season 1 only finishing, news has already emerged about Season 3, with The Last of Us co-creator, writer, and executive producer Craig Mazin commenting that "[they] should be around for a while."
Recently, The Last of Us Star Bella Ramsey also revealed a possible release window for the sophomore season, mentioning on a British talk show that the series is likely to return at the "end of 2024, early 2025," with filming to begin toward the end of 2023 at that time.
When Will The Last of Us Season 2 Release?
The cast and crew are all eager to tell more stories in the post-apocalyptic world of The Last of Us. However, HBO's head of drama, Francesca Orsi, hinted that the sequel season will likely be pushed back due to the ongoing WGA strike.
Speaking to Deadline, Francesca Orsi shared that HBO will have to assess the "end of 24 schedule" and what the slate will be for 2025 if a deal can't be struck "sooner [rather] than later."
Should the strike continue for "six to nine months," then HBO's schedule for 2024 could drastically change, with many shows being delayed until 2025 or later:
“While everything at this moment is pencils down, I’m hopeful that we can come to terms sooner than later. Otherwise we will have to assess what is the end of the 24 schedule, what are the shows that are going to be delivered for 2025.”
Orsi shared that HBO was originally eyeing a window for The Last of Us Season 2 in 2025, with a 2024 release date for The White Lotus:
“We were looking at The Last Of Us for some time in 2025. And The White Lotus was ideally looking to go in 2024 but there’s some question about timing of the strike.”
However, this seems increasingly unlikely, with Orsi also noting that it was "too early to tell" how the labor dispute could impact scheduling plans.
“At this point, those shows that I’m looking to air wouldn’t necessarily be ready if this strike last six to nine months. So yes, that’s a big question for us, but I think we’ll cross that road once we come to it.”
Of course, fans were already aware of the delay. A production update from Variety highlighted the fact that auditions had been paused due to the ongoing dispute, and showrunners Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin have also ceased work on the show entirely.
When Could Pre-Production on The Last of Us Resume?
The WGA strike is still ongoing. It cannot be understated how important it is to make sure that the people behind beloved film and television series are treated and paid fairly. And for any strike to be successful, it must be disruptive.
Still, although the strike has shut down production on numerous projects, many will be keen to reach a fair deal and return to the work that they so dearly love.
Some industry insiders are pontificating that the strike could conclude around Labor Day, which isn't until early September. If the strike goes on that long, then almost every film and television series will face serious disruption, The Last of Us included.
Since filming for Season 2 was also likely to begin around that time, it could be early-to-mid 2024 before the cameras start rolling on Season 2, thus delaying any further sequel seasons.
Outside of delays, it seems that schedules aren't the only thing changing with the franchise, as Season 2 is likely to see some major changes just like its predecessor.
One thing is that the show is planning to amend the amount of infected strolling around post-apocalyptic America. Fans complained that there weren't quite enough of the gruesome fungus-infected zombies, but to their delight, showrunner Neil Druckmann has promised that more infected is exactly what the audience will get.
The critically acclaimed first season of The Last of Us is now streaming on Max.