It only took two episodes — the finale is set for March 12 — for HBO to know it didn’t want the latest post-apocalyptic drama to go anywhere.
The Last of Us, from co-creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, has been renewed for a second season. This shouldn’t be too surprising, given that it marks HBO’s second largest debut, behind only House of the Dragon. The first episode — which is now available for free on HBOMax.com — has surpassed 22 million viewers domestically, which is up nearly five times from its premiere night audience. For Episode 2, 5.7 million tuned in across HBO Max and linear telecasts, adding more than 1 million new viewers from the premiere. That 22 percent jump marks the largest week two audience growth for any HBO Original drama series in the network’s history.
“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, HBO Programming, 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.”
Added Druckmann, “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. 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!”
“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 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.”
The Last of Us takes place 20 years after the destruction of modern civilization. Hardened survivor Joel (Pedro Pascal) is hired to smuggle 14-year-old Ellie (Bella Ramsey) out of an oppressive quarantine zone, but 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.
The Season 1 cast also includes 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.
The Last of Us is based on the critically acclaimed video game of the same name developed by Naughty Dog for the PlayStation platforms and written and executive produced by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann. The series is a co-production with Sony Pictures Television and is also executive produced by Carolyn Strauss, Evan Wells, Asad Qizilbash, Carter Swan, and Rose Lam.
The Last of Us, Sundays, 9/8c, HBO and HBO Max