The Last of Us Season 2 Will Be Shorter, But There’s a Very Good Reason

The Last of Us Season 2 Will Be Shorter, But There’s a Very Good Reason

There’s only one Last of Us game remaining to adapt but it’s going to take much longer than previously expected. After turning the first Last of Us game into a complete season of television, showrunners Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann recently revealed that they have an outline of how they’ll adapt The Last of Us Part II. The outline has multiple natural breakpoints and the first of those, which will encompass season two, is only seven episodes.

“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.”

A shortened, seven-episode season two is the bad news. The good news is the idea of The Last of Us only having three total seasons, which was previously reported, may no longer be true.

“We don’t think that we’re going to be able to tell the story even within two seasons [two and three] because we’re taking our time and go down interesting pathways which we did a little bit in season one 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 three will be significantly larger. And indeed, the story may require season four.”

Mazin realizes fans might be confused by this, especially because The Last of Us Part II itself has such clear breakpoints, but he hopes fans of the HBO adaptation trust them.

“We just want to put people’s minds at ease that the idea that this season coming up is a little bit shorter than the first one is not because we’re taking less time to tell the stories, it’s because we want to take more time,” Mazin said. “The story that we’re telling is much bigger than the story of season one, there’s just a lot more going on, it’s a lot harder to produce but we want every episode to feel like its own blockbuster to be honest with you.”

To that end, season two will have at least one episode that’s significantly longer to help tell that story. “In season two, there’s an episode that is going to be again closer to—I don’t know if I would say feature length but quite big,” Mazin said. “I like generally hitting about an hour, it’s a great length, I love working in that format. What we don’t want to do is, say, a season of seven episodes where each episode is 90 minutes; part of why we’re doing seven episodes is finding that nice line.”

The seven-episode second season of The Last of Us debuts on HBO in 2025. Read more from Mazin and Druckmann, including why the story would end with Part II even if a third game came out, over at Deadline.

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