The Last of Us will return for season 2, HBO announced Friday. The show adapts the legendary PlayStation video game series from developer Naughty Dog, with the nine-episode season 1 focusing on the initial entry in the franchise.
The show follows grumpy smuggler Joel and his upbeat teen pal Ellie (Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey) as they travel across a ruined US, years after a fungal brain infection transforms most of the world's population into violent cannibals.
The renewal comes after only two episodes aired, but HBO noted that episode 1 has surpassed 22 million viewers domestically since its Jan. 15 premiere and 5.7 million people tuned in to watch episode 2 last Sunday. The third episode airs on HBO and HBO Max this Sunday.
"The collaboration with Craig Mazin, our incredible cast and crew, and HBO exceeded my already high expectations," Neil Druckmann, the show's writer, executive producer and original game developer, said in a statement. "Now we have the absolute pleasure of being able to do it again with season 2! On behalf of everyone at Naughty Dog and PlayStation, thank you!"
Druckmann's fellow writer and executive producer Mazin (also known for creating acclaimed HBO miniseries Chernobyl) expressed his gratitude to Druckmann, HBO and the viewers.
"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," he said in a statement.
It's likely season 2 will retell the harrowing events of The Last of Us Part 2, which came to PS4 in 2020. Mazin told The Playlist it'd be tough to fit Part 2's massive story into a single season, hinting that the writer has plans for seasons beyond the second, the outlet reported Thursday.