Spoiler Alert: This post contains discussions of plot developments from the video game “The Last of Us Part II,” which are expected to serve as inspiration for Season 2 of the HBO adaptation.
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Fans of the video game were already aware not to become too attached to Pedro Pascal’s character, Joel, while watching the first season of HBO’s adaptation of “The Last of Us” (though it was nearly impossible not to, thanks to Pascal’s acclaimed performance). In the video game’s sequel, “The Last of Us Part II,” Joel meets a shocking demise in the early stages of the game at the hands of Abby, the daughter of the Firefly surgeon Joel had killed to save Ellie. Joel’s death triggers Ellie’s quest for revenge against Abby.
When HBO confirmed the renewal of “The Last of Us” for Season 2 at the end of January, video game enthusiasts were well aware that it likely meant Pedro Pascal’s character was headed for a dramatic turn. But would HBO truly permit the show’s most beloved and high-profile star to meet such a fate?
Pascal recently spoke to Esquire magazine, stating, “It wouldn’t make sense to closely follow the first game’s narrative only to diverge significantly from it. So, yes, that’s my honest response.”
Bella Ramsey, who portrays Ellie in the HBO series adaptation, added, “If that storyline unfolds in the show, I’m not sure if I’m emotionally prepared for it.”
Showrunner Craig Mazin weighed in on the matter, stating, “This should be quite evident to everyone by now, but I’m not afraid of killing off characters. However, it’s crucial to emphasize that neither Neil [Druckmann, the co-creator and executive producer of the series alongside Mazin] nor I feel restricted by the source material.”
Mazin and Druckmann introduced minor changes to the narrative of the first “The Last of Us” video game when translating it into the inaugural season of the HBO series. However, Joel’s death is such a fundamental cornerstone of the “The Last of Us Part II” storyline that it would be surprising for the HBO adaptation not to adhere to it. Nonetheless, the creative team has plans to experiment with the show’s timeline, implying that Pascal’s character is unlikely to meet his end in the first episode of Season 2.
When asked whether Season 2 would encompass the entirety of the “Part II” storyline, Druckmann had previously told GQ magazine, “No. No way. It’s more than one season.”
Mazin added, “You are indeed correct that we won’t disclose how many seasons will cover ‘Part II,’ but it is a fact that it will span more than a single season.”
What this extended adaptation of “Part II” means for Pascal’s role on the show remains to be unveiled. The first season of “The Last of Us” is now available for streaming in its entirety on HBO Max.