The Last of Us Showrunner Reveals His Epic Plan to Adapt Part II

Good things take time.

The Last of Us

It may be the end of the world, but The Last of Us was just the beginning of the story. Season 1 of HBO’s video game adaptation starred Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey as protagonists Joel and Ellie and covered the events of the first game, with a couple of bonus stories thrown in for good measure. But The Last of Us Part II has a much bigger story, and the showrunners are prepared to stretch the narrative to explore all its possibilities. In doing so, however, Season 2 could be quite different from the freshman outing.

In a conversation with Deadline, The Last of Us co-creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann revealed that while production for The Last of Us Season 2 is underway, it will be shorter than Season 1, with only seven episodes compared to Season 1’s nine. “What we had to do from the start was figure out how to tell that story across seasons,” Mazin said. “When you do that, you look for natural breakpoints, and as we laid it out, this season, the national breakpoint felt like it came after seven episodes.”

Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann may have managed to stretch two games into four seasons.

Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

This doesn’t mean the events of The Last of Us Part II will be rushed. The showrunners had previously revealed the sequel game would be depicted across two seasons, but now it’s looking like the whole show could somehow run for four seasons. “One thing is absolutely for sure, I don’t see how we could tell the story that remains after Season 2 is complete in one more season,” Mazin said.

That implies we’ll see more of what made Season 1 so great: episodes that flesh out characters and stories the game glossed over, and original characters that weren’t in the game at all. In fact, Mazin hints that one episode of Season 2 will be “quite big,” alluding to the 80+ minute episodes of Season 1.

Future seasons of The Last of Us will contain the longer, standalone episodes that made Season 1 memorable.


So while a shorter Season 2 may disappoint fans in the short term, Mazin is spinning it as a good development overall. “We just want to put people’s minds at ease that the idea that this season coming up is a little bit shorter than the first one is not because we’re taking less time to tell the stories,” he said. “It’s because we want to take more time.”

The Last of Us Season 2 has to cover a five-year time jump and introduce Abby, a complicated villain played by Kaitlyn Dever. With all that exposition to handle — and some deep dives into these characters presumably on the horizon — the entire season may only cover the game's first act. If that’s true, then fans should get comfortable in their viewing bunkers and prepare for the long haul.

The Last of Us is streaming on Max.

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