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SYFY WIRE The Last of Us

HBO renews hit sci-fi horror series 'The Last of Us' for Season 2, but will it adapt the second game?

Joel and Ellie will return!

By Josh Weiss
Samuel Hoeksema in The Last of Us Season 1 Episode 2

Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey will return as Joel and Ellie! HBO announced Friday that it has officially picked up The Last of Us for a second season following the success of the post-apocalyptic show's first two episodes.

The premiere alone currently holds the mantle of the network's second-biggest debut after House of the Dragon with 22 million viewers across all platforms. Based on the hit video game franchise developed by Naughty Dog, the project hails from Craig Mazin (Emmy Award-winning writer behind Chernobyl) and Neil Druckmann (Naughty Dog co-president and co-creator of The Last of Us property).

“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,” Francesca Orsi, Executive Vice President, HBO Programming, Head of HBO Drama Series and Films, said in a statement Friday. “After pulling off this unforgettable first season, I can't wait to watch this team outshine themselves again with Season 2.”

RELATED: The greatest video game adaptation ever? Critics hail fungal drama of HBO's 'The Last of Us'

“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,” added Druckmann. “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!”

Mazin said, "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. 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."

Set 20 years after a mutated form of the Cordyceps fungus turned most of humanity into abominable mushroom monsters, the story follows the grizzled Joel as he travels west to find his brother, Tommy (Gabriel Luna). Since he's already headed that way, the cynical smuggler agrees to transport the immune Ellie to a vaccine lab run by the militant rebel organization known as the Fireflies.

As fans likely know, there's already a second video game — The Last of Us Part II — in the franchise that jumps the action forward several years and takes some ambitious, surprising creative swings. At this point, we don't actually know if HBO's The Last of Us will follow that same path and directly adapt the second game, much like Season 1 has adapted the first game, or carve its own path and diverge with an original story set within this world. 

Anna Torv, Nico Parker, Murray Bartlett, Nick Offerman,  Melanie Lynskey, Storm Reid, Merle Dandridge, Jeffrey Pierce, Lamar Johnson, Keivonn Woodard, Graham Greene, Elaine Miles, Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker co-star.

Evan Wells, Asad Qizilbash, Carter Swan, and Rose Lam are executive producers alongside Mazin, Druckmann, and Strauss.

New episodes of The Last of Us premiere on HBO and HBO Max every Sunday at 9 p.m. EST. The show currently boasts a near-perfect score of 97 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Looking for more sci-fi TV? Check out shows like Resident Alien, Brave New World, Project Blue Book, Eureka, Heroes, Intergalactic, and more streaming now on Peacock. Looking ahead, SYFY has the new series — The Ark — from original Stargate film producer Dean Devlin, as well as Stargate SG-1 producer Jonathan Glassner.