“The Last of Us” Season 1 won’t be the last of HBO’s acclaimed new series. The post-apocalyptic drama has been renewed for Season 2 at HBO, the premium cable channel announced Friday.
The news comes as no surprise after the series debuted to extremely strong ratings with its first two episodes. Episode 1 drew 4.7 million viewers during its first day of availability, making it the second-biggest HBO premiere of the decade after “Game of Thrones” prequel “House of the Dragon” last year, and has since reached 22 million viewers in the domestic United States. The most recent second episode went up 22 percent for a 5.7 million viewership debut, the largest Week 2 audience increase for a drama series in HBO’s history. The show’s first season consists of nine episodes, with the finale scheduled for March 12.
“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 and crew, and HBO exceeded my already high expectations,” co-showrunner Neil Druckmann said in a statement. “Now we have the absolute pleasure of being able to do it again with season two! On behalf of everyone at Naughty Dog and 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,” Druckmann’s co-showrunner Craig Mazin added. “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.”
Based on the 2013 video game created by Druckmann and developed by Naughty Dog for Playstation 3, “The Last of Us” stars former “Game of Thrones” cast members Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey as Joel and Ellie, the main player characters of the original video game. Set in a post-apocalyptic United States where the world has been ravaged by a fungal infection outbreak, the story follows Joel, a smuggler working in Boston, as he is tasked with protecting 14-year-old Ellie on a trip across the country. Bitter after the death of his young daughter, Joel slowly grows protective of his new charge, and his morals are tested as he attempts to keep her safe across their difficult journey.
Recurring actors in Season 1 include Gabriel Luna, Anna Torv, Murray Bartlett, Melanie Lynskey, Nick Offerman, Storm Reid, Jeffrey Pierce, Lamar Johnson, Graham Greene, Elaine Miles, Nico Parker, and Keivonn Woodard. Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker, the voice and motion capture actors behind Ellie and Joel in the original games, also appear in the series as new characters.
Mazin and Druckmann executive produce the series for HBO with Carolyn Strauss, Evan Wells, Asad Qizilbash, Carter Swan, and Rose Lam. Sony Pictures Television co-produces the series with HBO, while PlayStation Productions, Word Games, The Mighty Mint, and Naughty Dog serve as additional production companies.
Since its premiere, “The Last of Us” has received critical acclaim, with praise for Pascal and Ramsey’s performances and the show’s production. In his review, IndieWire TV critic Ben Travers called the series an “astounding survival story.”
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