Production on The Last of Us season 2 has been put on hold, due to the ongoing writers’ strike in Hollywood. As per Variety, the new episodes hadn’t begun filming yet, but the crew had begun the casting process for season 2, with sources suggesting that the actors were asked to read lines directly from The Last of Us Part II game. Scripts for the sophomore run are not ready at the moment, but previous plans suggested that the team would start filming late this year or early 2024. The Last of Us season 2 was greenlit by HBO almost immediately — merely two episodes into the first season — highlighting its demand.
The report mentions that co-creator Craig Mazin was spotted on the picket line with fellow members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA), not participating in any writing or production work for The Last of Us season 2. The guidelines set by WGA state that all writer-producers are barred from participating in any writing or creative-based duties on film and television projects during the strike.
Having actors audition for their roles by reading lines from the video games isn’t necessarily a bad thing either, because a lot of dialogue from the first season was picked word-to-word directly from the original 2013 game. But this does affect the release window for the show, which lead star Bella Ramsey claimed could likely be late 2024 or early 2025.
Mazin was responsible for writing the majority of the nine-episode-long The Last of Us season 1 episodes, with co-creator Neil Druckmann joining in for the series premiere and finale. Druckmann also wrote episode 7 ‘Left Behind‘ solo. Since The Last of Us Part II is a lot longer with brutal action scenes, the creators claimed that it would take more than one season to depict its tale.
The game is mainly centred around a revenge story and the ability to forgive, but presented in a non-linear fashion that jumps between the two lead characters Ellie and Abby to offer different perspectives. It’s unclear how they intend to present it in a TV format, but Mazin said he has it all planned out. “There are going to be things that are going to be different, and there are things that are going to be identical. There are things that are going to be added and enriched,” he said in an interview.
The Last of Us season 2 is confirmed to bring back leads Pedro Pascal and Ramsey as Joel and Ellie, respectively. Gabriel Luna is expected to return as Joel’s brother Tommy, alongside Rutina Wesley as his wife Maria — both of whom have significant roles in The Last of Us Part II. Season 1 opened to glowing reviews from both fans and critics alike, with the series finale drawing a high of 8.2 million viewers in March, despite competing directly with the Oscars, which aired around the same time.
Multiple film and TV productions have been impacted by the writers’ strike, with filming on Stranger Things 5 getting halted. Meanwhile, another HBO series House of the Dragon season 2 will continue production through the strike since scripts were completed long before shooting. Executive producer Ryan J. Condal is reportedly only present on set in a non-writing capacity.