HBO has renewed “The Last of Us” for Season 2 faster than a deadly fungus can spread.
The premium cabler has ordered a second season of the series version of the PlayStation video game of the same name after only two episodes have aired, with the third set to run this Sunday on HBO and HBO Max.
“I’m humbled, honored, and frankly overwhelmed that so many people have tuned in and connected with our retelling of Joel and Ellie’s journey. The collaboration with Craig Mazin, our incredible cast & crew, and HBO exceeded my already high expectations,” said executive producer Neil Druckmann, who was also the writer and creative director of the game. “Now we have the absolute pleasure of being able to do it again with season two! On behalf of everyone at Naughty Dog & PlayStation, thank you!”
The move to renew the series comes as little surprise, as it has been a hit with both critics and audiences. In addition to strong reviews to the tune of a 97% critical approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, episode two reached 5.7 million viewers across HBO and HBO Max in the U.S. this past Sunday. That represents a 22% jump over the 4.7 million who tuned into the first episode, marking the largest week two audience growth for any HBO drama series in the history of the network. Furthermore, HBO now says that episode one has reach 22 million viewers domestically since it debuted on Jan. 15.
“I’m so grateful to Neil Druckmann and HBO for our partnership, and I’m even more grateful to the millions of people who have joined us on this journey,” said executive producer and showrunner Craig Mazin. “The audience has given us the chance to continue, and as a fan of the characters and world Neil and Naughty Dog created, I couldn’t be more ready to dive back in.”
Per the official logline, the series “takes place 20 years after modern civilization has been destroyed. Joel (Pedro Pascal), a hardened survivor, is hired to smuggle Ellie (Bella Ramsey), a 14-year-old girl, out of an oppressive quarantine zone. What starts as a small job soon becomes a brutal and heartbreaking journey as they both must traverse the U.S. and depend on each other for survival.”
In addition to Pascal and Ramsey, Season 1 also stars Gabriel Luna as Tommy, Anna Torv as Tess, Nico Parker as Sarah, Murray Bartlett as Frank, Nick Offerman as Bill, Melanie Lynskey as Kathleen, Storm Reid as Riley, Merle Dandridge as Marlene, Jeffrey Pierce as Perry, Lamar Johnson as Henry, Keivonn Woodard as Sam, Graham Greene as Marlon, and Elaine Miles as Florence. Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker also star.
Mazin and Druckmann co-created the series version of “The Last Of Us,” with both serving as executive producers. Carolyn Strauss and Evan Wells, president of game development studio Naughty Dog, executive produce with PlayStation Productions’ Asad Qizilbash and Carter Swan as well as Rose Lam. The series is a co-production between HBO and Sony Pictures Television. PlayStation Productions, Word Games, The Mighty Mint, and Naughty Dog produce.
“Craig and Neil, alongside EP Carolyn Strauss, and the rest of our phenomenal cast and crew, have defined a genre with their masterful debut season of ‘The Last of Us,’” said Francesca Orsi, executive vice president of HBO Programming and head of HBO Drama Series and Films. “After pulling off this unforgettable first season, I can’t wait to watch this team outshine themselves again with season two.”
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