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9 Things We Should Expect To See In The Last Of Us Season 2

Thanks to HBO's recent adaptation of the fan-favorite video game franchise, "The Last of Us" has become a smash hit across two different mediums. The show's first season was a bit of a gamble by creators Craig Mazin (of "Chernobyl" fame) and Neil Druckmann considering the troubled history of video game adaptations and the so-called curse surrounding them. Nonetheless, the production team behind "The Last of Us" quickly proved that they meant business by creating HBO's next big hit, with critics and audiences alike showing their support.

"The Last of Us" Season 1 has earned universal acclaim from critics while simultaneously surpassing the ratings on already established IP shows like "House of the Dragon" by the last episode. It's clear that the floodgates have finally opened for turning popular video game stories into high-quality television shows with "The Last of Us," "Halo" from Paramount+, and Amazon's "Fallout" on the way.

If you've watched all nine episodes of "The Last of Us," you'll know that Joel and Ellie's story was left in a pretty complicated place. Having trekked across the post-apocalyptic landscape of an infected America, Joel made decisions that will have dire consequences on his relationship with Ellie — and the world at large. Whether you think he was in the right or not has been a topic of heated debate since the season finale, but fans may be left wondering where the show could go from here. Read on to find out nine things fans should expect to see in "The Last of Us" Season 2.

Consequences for Joel's actions

"Look for the Light" is the final episode of "The Last of Us" Season 1, and it's a doozy. After finally reaching the Fireflies base in Salt Lake City, Marlene reveals to Joel that synthesizing a cure to the Cordyceps infection from Ellie's brain will kill her in the process. Due to the bond that Joel has developed with Ellie, he chooses to fight his way through the base to rescue Ellie from this fate — even at the expense of possibly saving the world. This causes him to kill dozens of Fireflies, including the doctor about to perform the procedure and Marlene herself. The season ends with Joel lying to Ellie about what happened while she was unconscious as a way of protecting her, but she clearly has doubts.

Fans of the game will know this is also how "The Last of Us" ended years ago, with players themselves controlling Joel on his rampage to save Ellie. His choice to doom humanity for the sake of love is a core theme of both the game and the show alike but it seems obvious that his actions will come back to haunt him going forward. 

Hopefully, Season 2 of "The Last of Us" will let audiences see what becomes of the Fireflies after this massacre, find out if Joel ever tells Ellie the truth about what happened, and understand whether Ellie will be upset with his decision to save her life at the expense of finding a cure. While many of these questions are answered in "The Last of Us Part 2" video game, it's unclear if the show will change plot points — as it did in Season 1.

More infected

For a zombie show, there aren't a ton of zombies in "The Last of Us" Season 1. This is a deliberate decision to focus the story more on the characters and their interactions rather than turn it into an undead killing bonanza like "The Walking Dead." Overall this proved to be a positive decision since episodes like "Long, Long Time" took audiences by storm while having their focus entirely on the dynamic between Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett). That said, more action featuring the infected might be warranted going forward.

Now that the show has earned a level of prestige and respect thanks to the high quality of Season 1, this could be the perfect time to ramp up the tension by forcing the characters into mortal danger against infected enemies. The fungal Cordyceps infection is the primary antagonist of the franchise by completely ending the world as we know it, forcing survivors like Joel and Ellie to do things they never would've done otherwise. 

Responding to criticisms about the lack of infected action in Season 1, Neil Druckmann touched on how things may change for the second season during an interview with Variety. He explained, "It's quite possible that there will be a lot more infected later. And perhaps different kinds."

More flashbacks to before the outbreak

One of the fascinating ways that HBO's "The Last of Us" differentiates itself from the gaming franchise it's based on is the addition of scenes that take place before the Cordyceps outbreak. Other than the thrilling and heartbreaking introduction sequence which shows what happens to Joel's daughter Sarah (Nico Parker) and Ellie's exploration of a mall with Riley (Storm Reid), each of these flashback scenes is completely new to the show.

Episode 1 of the season, titled "When You're Lost in the Darkness," begins with one such scene that takes place decades before the events of the main story during a 1960s interview between a television host and two scientists regarding the possibility of infectious diseases running rampant in the future. One of the doctors insists that the actual threat to humanity isn't viral or bacterial but fungal, which proves to be prescient. Another example of these pre-outbreak flashbacks includes the opening of Episode 2, "Infected," which shows a snippet of an Indonesian scientist encountering early infected patients in Jakarta. 

These moments add much-needed flavor to the lore of "The Last of Us," especially for newcomers to the franchise who haven't played the games. We can only hope there are more flashbacks to characters from before the outbreak to help flesh out this interconnected world.

A live-action Abby Anderson

For those that have played "The Last of Us: Part 2," you'll know that there are some important new characters coming to the show with a huge part to play in Joel and Ellie's story. The most important of these newcomers is Abby Anderson, a hardened former Firefly on a quest for vengeance against those who wronged her. Watch out — there will be some big spoilers here for both "The Last of Us: Part 2" and things that could happen in Season 2.

At the end of "The Last of Us," Joel chooses to save Ellie from certain death at the expense of finding a cure for the Cordyceps infection. He massacres countless Fireflies along the way, including a surgical doctor preparing to dissect Ellie on the operating table. This doctor turns out to be a man named Jerry Anderson, Abby's father. In "The Last of Us: Part 2," half of the game is played from Abby's perspective as she seeks out the man who killed her father. 

There's no doubt that Abby Anderson will have a similar role in "The Last of Us" Season 2, but it will be fascinating to see how Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann translate this character to live-action. There have been persistent rumors that Shannon Berry of "The Wilds" may be cast in the role due to her uncanny likeness to the character, with Naughty Dog even tweeting about the resemblance. Nonetheless, no official castings have been announced yet regarding who will play Abby in Season 2.

More cameos of voice actors from the games

HBO and the production team behind "The Last of Us" have been extremely respectful to the source material throughout Season 1, ensuring that fans of the video games aren't feeling snubbed by the story's new platform. While they chose to bring in bigger A-list acting talent to play many important roles — such as Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsey, Gabriel Luna, and Nick Offerman — they still incorporate the original voice actors from the videogame series in supporting roles.

One of the primary examples of this in Season 1 includes the casting of Merle Dandridge as Marlene, allowing her to reprise her role from the games as the leader of the Fireflies resistance movement. In addition, Tommy's original actor Jeffery Pierce appeared as the Kansas City resistance enforcer Perry, Joel's original actor Troy Baker played the Silver Lake survivor James, and Ellie's original actor Ashley Johnson was cast as Ellie's mother, Anna. 

Going forward, we can only hope that more voice actors from "The Last of Us" and "The Last of Us: Part II" continue getting cast in these significant side roles as an acknowledgment of their huge roles in bringing this franchise to life. Actors such as Laura Bailey (who plays Abby Anderson), Shannon Woodward (who plays Dina), and Stephen Chang (who plays Jerry) are all major performers in the sequel game who deserve representation in Season 2.

Part 2's story spread out over multiple seasons

"The Last of Us" is, first and foremost, an adaptation of the video game, and as a result, it is subject to the story that came before. Adapting stories from one medium to another is not as simple as plugging them in and filming the results. Instead, it requires a careful translation of the structure into something new but familiar. So far, the showrunners have done a fantastic job taking the outline of "The Last of Us" and reworking the material to better fit the episodic nature of television. This will become an even bigger challenge for the more dense and layered storytelling of "The Last of Us: Part 2."

During an interview with Collider, Craig Mazin touched on the various ways the show will spread out the game's story for Season 2 while staying true to its original vision. Mazin said, "We are not doing 'House of the Dragon' leaps. Those were very significant leaps in age, and we don't have that. So, no recasting will occur. Not on my watch. Of course, in the second game, there's a primary shift in time, but there are also moments that you see, that are in between the events of the main storyline of 'The Last of Us Part 2' and the storyline of 'The Last of Us Part 1.'" 

Mazin then added that the game's story will almost certainly have to be broken up across multiple seasons to tell properly, explaining, "Certainly, there's no way to tell the remaining story in one more season. We would need more time than that."

Seeing how Dina comes into the series

Dina is a fan-favorite character from "The Last of Us: Part 2" who is introduced as a community patrolman in Jackson who comes to develop a deep romantic connection with Ellie during the time between the first and second games. It's already been established in the show that Dina exists thanks to her very brief cameo introduction in the sixth episode, "Kin." There, Joel and Ellie finally reach the isolated community of Jackson, Montana where a girl played by Paolina van Kleef is shown staring at Ellie from a distance before sheepishly leaving the scene.

While fans are convinced that this was an early cameo for Dina before her true introduction in Season 2, it has yet to be confirmed. During the official podcast for the show, Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann acknowledge this moment with a fittingly coy conversation. Druckmann asks, "Would you call it an Easter egg?" before Mazin responds with, "Ehh, it's a little ambiguous. I mean, somebody's staring at Ellie. Wonder who that could be, theoretically or not. We'll find out maybe one day." 

Seems pretty clear that even if that isn't the exact actress they'll be using for Dina going forward after the Season 2 time jump, this was likely an intentional nod to what's coming. What remains to be seen is if this moment will be openly referenced in Season 2 once Dina is a truly established character or if they'll find interesting new ways to showcase the history between Ellie and Dina in the time that's passed.

New factions

If video games are good at one thing, it's creating and developing interesting factions to populate their unique worlds. Lore is essential to any good game setting so that players can deeply interact with groups of characters and even join an organization themselves. One of the reasons fans are so excited about Amazon's "Fallout" show is because it exists in a world with countless fascinating post-apocalyptic factions that could show up, such as the Brotherhood of Steel and the New California Republic. Luckily, "The Last of Us" is also known for its compelling organizations that control different remnants of a devastated United States.

HBO's "The Last of Us" has already introduced fans to several essential groups in the post-Cordyceps landscape, such as FEDRA and the Fireflies. FEDRA is the remains of the Federal Disaster Response Agency which quickly became an authoritarian power in each Quarantine Zone, while the Fireflies are a dedicated resistance movement to combat the government. 

In Season 2, fans are excited to see the addition of even more exciting factions from "The Last of Us: Part 2." The main organizations of the sequel game include the paramilitary Washington Liberation Front and their enemies in a group of religious zealots called the Seraphites. These two factions are fighting a brutal war for control over what's left of Seattle after the fall of FEDRA in the area.

Ellie's reaction to the ending of Season 1

The end of "The Last of Us" Season 1 was traumatic for fans of the show and the characters being portrayed. Some think Joel's actions were totally justified, while others believe he was being selfish to choose one individual over the collective good. Regardless of what people watching think, what matters most is how Ellie handles this situation going forward into Season 2. When she asks Joel if he's telling the truth regarding what happened at the hospital, it is clear that she struggles to believe his lies about there being other immune people like her.

Those who have played "The Last of Us: Part 2" know that the truth coming out is a big part of that game's plot, with many flashbacks showing how much Ellie is tormented by her beloved surrogate father figure doing something so terrible and lying about it. The relationship between Joel and Ellie will be deeply strained once she finds out what happened while she was unconscious in Salt Lake City, and it will undoubtedly be a fundamental part of Season 2's story. Audiences will be curious to see how Ellie finds out the truth — not to mention what she decides to do to right Joel's wrongs.