By Gen Terblanche16 January 2024
Next, on The Last of Us Season 2
The Last of Us was the most-watched international series on Showmax in 2023. Now it’s back in the news with details about its next season, following its eight wins at the Creative Arts Emmys including wins for Outstanding Supporting Actor and Actress in a Drama Series (Nick Offerman and Storm Reid). And while The Last of Us Season 1 didn’t pick up any additional awards at the Primetime Emmys on Monday, 15 January – since this was Succession’s year – those 24 Emmy nominations were not to be sneezed at.
The Last of Us, based on the PlayStation video game of the same name, takes place in the United States, 20 years after civilisation has collapsed following a global pandemic caused by a mass fungal infection that turns its human hosts into mushroom-zombie creatures. In the story, a hardened survivor and smuggler named Joel (Pedro Pascal) must protect 14-year-old Ellie (Bella Ramsay), a girl who’s mysteriously immune to the infection (exactly how is explained in the course of Season 1), smuggle her out of the oppressive, military controlled quarantine zone, and take her across the US to (supposed) safety on behalf of a rebel group named the Fireflies.
The Last of Us Season 1 faithfully covered the first part of the game, with the Season 1 finale covering events from the final three chapters of the game: Bus Depot, The Firefly Lab and Jackson. Now game and series fans alike are awaiting the second season – which is set to start production in February 2024 – along with the launch of remastered The Last of Us Part II game on Friday, 19 January 2024.
In the game world, Part II is set four years after the events of Part I. A new major character, a soldier named Abby Anderson, is introduced as she hunts for the man she believes murdered her father, who was one of the surgeons at Salt Lake City Hospital who was looking for a cure to the fungal infection.
While on her mission, Abby makes new friends including a former cult member from the Seraphite group, named Lev. We also meet Ellie’s new girlfriend, Dina, and join them on their cross-country journey as they cross paths with Abby and her friends and allies in a series of lethal encounters. And we meet a major new character, Jesse, who strives to do the right thing to protect his community in a world where moral values are shifting.
Going off the events of the Season 1 finale, there’s Joel’s (Pedro Pascal) shocking lie and violent efforts to protect Ellie to uncover, a quest for revenge, and a question mark over the future of humanity thanks to Joel’s actions. And we’re expecting some major flashbacks that’ll deepen the father-daughter style between Joel and Ellie.
Kaitlyn Dever (Sharryn in Coast Elites and Amy in Booksmart) joins The Last of Us as Abby, “a skilled soldier whose black-and-white view of the world is challenged as she seeks vengeance for those she loved”.
Young Mazino (Emmy nominated for his role in Beef), joins the cast as Jesse, “a pillar of his community who puts everyone else’s needs before his own, sometimes at terrible cost”.
And Isabela Merced (Father of the Bride, and Dora in Dora and the Lost City of Gold) plays Dina, “a free-wheeling spirit whose devotion to Ellie will be tested by the brutality of the world they inhabit”.
Executive producers, co-creators, and co-writer-directors Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann commented, “Our casting process for season two has been identical to season one: we look for world-class actors who embody the souls of the characters in the source material. Nothing matters more than talent.”
As to their three newcomers, Craig and Neil have said, “We’re thrilled to have an acclaimed performer like Kaitlyn join Pedro, Bella and the rest of our family. Young (Mazino) is one of those rare actors who is immediately undeniable the moment you see him. We’re so lucky to have him, and we can’t wait for the audience to see Young shine in our show.” And when it came to Dina, they needed a performer who could come across as “warm, brilliant, wild, funny, moral, dangerous and instantly lovable”. Craig and Neil added, “You can search forever for an actor who effortlessly embodies all of those things, or you can find Isabela Merced right away. We couldn’t be prouder to have her join our family.”
About The Last of Us Season 1
The Last of Us S1 was written and executive produced by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann (co-president of Naughty Dog, creator of the original game), in collaboration with the larger Naughty Dog team, including (and especially) the game’s much-loved voice cast.
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