The Last of Us was renewed for a second season shortly after the first season premiere. While fans can rest assured that a second season will eventually come, it could be the last.
Showrunners Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann have openly addressed the future of HBO's The Last of Us following the first season's release. Both have pointed out that adapting the second game - The Last of Us Part II - will require more time and money since it’s so much bigger than the first game. The two have also discussed a willingness to take more than one season to adapt the events of The Last of Us Part II, with Mazin explicitly stating that they plan to keep the show going for more than one more season.
According to HBO's head of drama Francesca Orsi, those statements shouldn’t be taken as confirmation. In an interview with Deadline, Orsi clarified that there’s no assurance The Last of Us story will extend to a third season. "I think Craig and Neil are still figuring out where they’re going to come to an end," she said. "We have loosely heard that there will be a Season 3 idea for the series, but at this point, we’re taking it one season at a time. There’s no guarantee at this point that we’ll have a Season 3 but I know that they both have a vision for Season 3. Whether that lends itself to doing more [seasons], I don’t know yet."
Orsi also discussed how The Last of Us season 2 has been facing delays due to the writers’ strike. "And of course, there isn’t much that we can go into on The Last of Us, given that Craig can’t really initiate in any meaningful way from a writing or casting standpoint. But he and Neil have a good sense of what it is that he’s going to be taking on." On a more positive note, she did tease some information about season 2, saying, "All I can say is he’s taking a big swing from both an entertainment standpoint, related to the clickers, but also just the more nuanced, complex character dynamic between our characters, Joel, Ellie and beyond." While her statement regarding Ellie and Joel’s relationship is kept unsurprisingly vague, it shouldn’t be news to fans of The Last of Us Part II, which starts with Joel and Ellie navigating a much more strained relationship due to Joel's decisions at the end of the first game.
Orsi's statements regarding The Last of Us season 3 sound cautionary, with good reason. The writers’ strike has already pushed the release date of season 2 into 2025. Since Mazin and Druckmann can't begin writing anything for the show, the season that’s already been greenlit is facing uncertainty. That means that while The Last of Us season 3 may seem like the logical next step, there hasn't been enough progress on season 2 yet for season 3 to be a priority. Although it would be a big surprise if HBO decided to stop ordering seasons of one of their most successful shows, it’s not outside the realm of possibility. For now, The Last of Us fans will have to hope that Mazin and Druckmann's plans for the show can come to fruition.
The Last of Us season 1 is available to stream now on Max.