The Last of Us Season 2 Cuts Episode Count on HBO

Series co-creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann say The Last of Us TV show "may require season 4."

You haven't seen the last of Pedro Pascal's Joel and Bella Ramsey's Ellie, but you'll be seeing a little less of them when The Last of Us returns in 2025. Season 2 of the HBO drama will consist of seven episodes, according to Deadline. That's shorter than the nine-episode first season that aired in early 2023, but series co-creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann have teased a "quite big" season 2 episode, as well as a potential third and fourth season of the post-apocalyptic drama based on the Naughty Dog video game.

"The story material that we got from Part II of the game is way more than the story material that was in the first game, so part of what we had to do from the start was figure out how to tell that story across seasons," Mazin told Deadline. "When you do that, you look for natural breakpoints, and as we laid it out, this season, the [natural] breakpoint felt like it came after seven episodes."

The first season adapted material from 2013's The Last of Us, as well as the Last of Us: Left Behind DLC, which revealed how Ellie discovered she's immune to the Cordyceps brain infection. The Last of Us Part II is even bigger, spanning a time jump, multiple new characters, and another cross-country trek.

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"We don't think that we're going to be able to tell the story even within two seasons [2 and 3] because we're taking our time and go down interesting pathways which we did a little bit in season 1 too," Mazin said. "We feel like it's almost assuredly going to be the case that — as long as people keep watching and we can keep making more television — season 3 will be significantly larger. And indeed, the story may require season 4."

He added: "One thing is absolutely for sure, I don't see how we could tell the story that remains after season 2 is complete in one more season."

Along with Pascal and Ramsey, Gabriel Luna is reprising his role as Joel's brother, Tommy. New additions to the second season cast include Kaitlyn Dever (No One Will Save You) as the revenge-seeking Abby, Isabela Merced (Madame Web) as Dina, Young Mazino (Beef) as Jesse, Danny Ramirez (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier) as Manny, Ariela Barer (Runaways) as Mel, Tati Gabrielle (Uncharted) as Nora, Jeffrey Wright (The Batman) as Isaac Dixon, and Catherine O'Hara (Beetlejuice Beetlejuice) in an undisclosed role. 

Mazin, Druckmann, and Peter Hoar will once again direct episodes of season 2, which previously added Kate Herron (Loki), Stephen Williams (Watchmen), Nina Lopez-Corrado (Perry Mason) to its stable of directors. The Last of Us season 2 will air sometime in 2025 on HBO and Max.