So far, it has been noted that the upcoming TV epic will closely follow the events of the first Naughty Dog PlayStation 3 title (with a few minor exceptions), but nothing has been made about if, when Season 1 is said and done, the team will tackle 2020's The Last of Part II in a potential Season 2.
Well, it looks as though the ideas are at least starting to percolate.
Season 2 of HBO's The Last of Us
In a recent feature, HBO's The Last of Us producers Craig Mazin (of Chornobyl fame) and Neil Druckmann (the creative director on the original The Last of Us game) addressed what a Season 2 of the upcoming series could look like.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, the pair hinted that the Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey-starring series could get a second season but did not outright confirm that it would cover the events of The Last of Us Part II for PlayStation 4.
About the idea of the HBO zombie epic continuing past Season 1, Druckmann said they have "no plans to tell any stories beyond adapting the game," specifically calling out how "Part II doesn’t end on a cliffhanger:”
“We have no plans to tell any stories beyond adapting the games. We won’t run into the same issue as Game of Thrones since Part II doesn’t end on a cliffhanger.”
Mazin chimed in in support of Druckmann's statement, remarking that he has "[no] interest in a spinning-plates-go-on-forever show" and that "endings mean everything:"
“I don’t have any interest in a spinning-plates-go-on-forever show. When it becomes a perpetual motion machine, it just can’t help but get kind of … stupid. Endings mean everything to me.”
This is not the first time Part II has been brought up in relation to the HBO adaptation of The Last of Us. Back when the TV series was officially announced to be in development, it was mentioned that the HBO project would cover the events of the original game "with the possibility of additional content based on the upcoming game sequel, The Last of Us Part II."
Seeing as there are only two The Last of Us games up to this point, a two-season arc would make sense for the Mazin and Druckmann-led series. After the cross-country journey of the first game, Part II wraps the story up pretty well.
The second season would likely focus on Ellie's (played by Bella Ramsey in the HBO series) revenge tour, after another survivor, named Abby, brutally murders her pseudo-father, Joel (Pedro Pascal). From there the game jumps between Ellie and Abby, as the player learns that every conflict has two sides, and that - even though it hurt - Abby had her reasons for taking out a beloved character like Joel.
The non-cliffhanger ending Druckmann is referring to sees Ellie lose everything on her quest to kill Joel's murderer. It's a downer of an ending but one that perfectly compliments the entire story (both Part I and Part II) up to that point, ending the cycle of violence that gets the series' protagonist up to this point.
Will The Last of Us Season 2 Happen?
Even though the first season of HBO's The Last of Us has yet to even air a single episode, it is feeling like plans are starting to fall into place for a sophomore effort for the series.
However, while the first The Last of Us game makes sense for an adaptation, Part II will be a little harder to make the jump from a console game to TV series. The way Part II is structured has gamers taking control of two different characters, getting two totally different - yet intrinsically connected - stories.
Yet, The Last of Us sequel does not jump back and forth between these two protagonists every couple of hours, but instead tells one whole story with Ellie, one whole story with Abby, and then wraps things up back with Ellie.
This means if Season 2 were to be a straight adaptation, viewers would go weeks without seeing Ellie, a character they fell in love with in Season 1, and one who would be pitched as the main focus of the sequel.
An adaptation could be done; however, it would require significant pacing and structural changes for Druckmann and Mazin to make it happen.
HBO's The Last of Us kicks off on Sunday, January 15, with an 85-minute premiere.