The Last of Us Season 3 Gets Surprising Development Update from Producer

By Aeron Mer Eclarinal Updated:
The Last of Us HBO Ellie Joel

While fans are highly anticipating the release of The Last of Us Season 2, a surprising update from its producer about Season 3 has emerged.

The Last of Us had a stellar first-season run on HBO. The show was filled with game-accurate moments and incredible performances from its lead stars, Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey

As a result, Season 2 is on the horizon. However, given the expansive story of Naughty Dog's The Last of Us Part II, original Tommy voice actor Jeffrey Pierce pointed out that Season 3 needs to happen to properly adapt the second game in live action. 

The Last of Us Season 3 Is Further Along Than We Thought

The Last of Us, Joel

In an interview with Kinda Funny, The Last of Us director Neil Druckmann talked about a potential Season 3 ahead of the show's much-talked-about sophomore run on HBO. 

Druckmann first reflected on developing a video game's story, explaining how the team can "go back in time" and make adjustments early before figuring out where the rest of the story goes:

“As we’re writing [the game], we can kind of like go back in time, and adjust things early on, and then jump around. So, once we know where the story’s going, we could work backwards from there, and lay a lot of setups, and track towards that ending, but we can only do it so much, because we don’t know where the story goes afterwards. So then we make '[The] Last of Us Part II,' and we try the best we can to make it all consistent, and to say, ‘Okay, here are things that felt like setup, so we could pay off later in the story.'"

The Naughty Dog co-president then shared what it was like developing the series, with Druckmann confirming that he and director Craig Mazin already figured out "a lot" of the plan for Season 3's story, a surprising revelation considering Season 2 has yet to enter pre-production: 

"Because we’re making the show, we know Left Behind, we know Last of Us Part II, so there are things, like we could have Marlene talk about Riley early on, because we have a better understanding of who Riley is, because Left Behind has already come out. We know where a lot of Season 2 and 3 will go, so we could start laying things in earlier."

When asked if there are things that they wanted to do that ended up not making it in the video game, Druckmann said that they wanted to further explore Jackson and he's happy that they achieved it in the show's first season: 

"And to Tim, I think this was your question earlier, like are there things that we wanted to do that end up not making it in the game? One of the things we wanted to do in the game and just couldn’t do it, because we ran out of time and money is we wanted to go into Jackson, so if you look at The Last of Us 1 art book, there’s all this concept art of the inside of Jackson, because that’s where we originally wanted to do, and then we couldn’t pull it off. So it felt like the show gave us this other opportunity."

The Last of Us producer also explained why they showed Jackson's community, with him even hinting at the appearance of Dina from the first season: 

"It’s like, ‘Well, it actually makes more sense to go into Jackson, instead of the dam to show this thriving society, and here’s this thing that you could come back to.’ And once we’re already inside, well, it makes sense to show Shimmer or it makes sense to show like some of their locations from 'Last of Us Part II,' or this cameo that might or might not be this character that everybody thinks it is.”

Speaking with Deadline, The Last of Us co-creator, executive producer, writer, and director Craig Mazin pointed out that there remains "quite a bit of story to tell" in Season 2 and beyond, noting that they "should be around for a while:"

“Our plan is to do it not just for one more season. We should be around for a while.”

What Is The Last of Us Season 3’s Story?

Splitting the story of Naughty Dog's The Last of Us Part II into two seasons makes sense due to the game's massive story. Druckmann's confirmation that plans have already been laid out for The Last of Us Seasons 2 and 3 is a promising sign, considering it's tricky to adapt such a vast storyline. 

Season 2 may end up further fleshing out Joel and Ellie's time in Jackson, showcasing their return from Salt Lake City and forging relationships with the community as well as introducing key characters like Dina, Jessie, and even Eugene. 

The show's sophomore run could also introduce Abby right away, mainly focusing on her backstory and her transition from being a Firefly to becoming a member of the Washington Liberation Front or the WLF. 

As a result, Season 2 could either end with Joel's death (spoiler alert) or Ellie and Abby's confrontation inside the theater in Seattle where the latter almost killed the former and Dina. 

Meanwhile, Season 3 could then explore the conflict between the WLF and the Scars (another dangerous cult that is at war with Abby's group for control of Seattle), Ellie and Dina's retirement, and Ellie's final quest for revenge against Abby in Santa Barbara. 

Hopefully, Seasons 2 and 3 will emulate Season 1's success. 

The Last of Us Season 1 is streaming on HBO Max.

- In This Article: The Last of Us
Release Date
January 15, 2023
- About The Author: Aeron Mer Eclarinal
Aeron is a news/features writer and Content Lead for The Direct who has been working for the site since March 2020. From writing about the inter-connectivity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to having an extended knowledge about DC TV's Arrowverse, Aeron's expertise has since expanded into the realm of reality TV, K-drama, animated, and live-action shows from Netflix,  Disney+, Prime Video, MGM+, Peacock, Paramount+, and Max. When he isn't writing and watching all things MCU, Aeron is heavily invested with the NBA (go Celtics!) and occasionally watches thrilling matches in the WWE.