The Last Of Us Casting Suggests Season 2 Will Be Faithful To The Game In 1 Major Way

The characters that have been cast (and haven’t been cast) for The Last of Us season 2 suggest a faithful approach to adapting the game.

The Last Of Us Casting Suggests Season 2 Will Be Faithful To The Game In 1 Major Way

The characters that have been cast (and the characters that haven’t been cast) for The Last of Us season 2 suggest a faithful approach to adapting the game. While adapting the first game into the HBO show’s first season was a straightforward case of splitting up the plot points into hour-long episodes, adapting the second game into the second season and beyond will be a much trickier undertaking. The Last of Us Part II is an enormous game with a mega-sized prologue and epilogue, and a sprawling narrative told in its entirety from two different perspectives in the middle.

Understandably, HBO is keeping details of The Last of Us season 2 under wraps, but there have been a few hints about Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann’s approach to adapting Part II for television. Set photos of a building dressed up as Greenplace Market suggest that the show will waste no time getting to the game’s notorious inciting incident. Perhaps the clearest hint at The Last of Us season 2’s approach to turning Part II into a TV show is the casting announcements: not only the roles that have been cast, but also the roles that haven’t been cast yet.

The Last Of Us Season 2 Has Cast The Salt Lake Crew

 

The first casting announcement for The Last of Us season 2 revealed that the producers had chosen Kaitlyn Dever to play Abby, the beautifully complex character who starts out as a despicable villain before being redeemed as the game’s second protagonist. This was shortly followed by the casting of Isabela Merced as Dina and Young Mazino as Jesse, Ellie’s two closest new allies in The Last of Us Part II. The most recent casting announcement has put names and faces to the entire “Salt Lake crew” that joins Abby on her vengeful crusade to go to Jackson and kill Joel.

The Last of Us season 2 has cast Spencer Lord as Owen, an old flame of Abby’s who regrets that their romance didn’t work out; Ariela Barer as Mel, Owen’s pregnant girlfriend who’s deeply suspicious of Abby’s feelings for him; Danny Ramirez as Manny, a friend and mentor to Abby; and Tati Gabrielle as Nora, a military medic. The Salt Lake crew is a close-knit group of former Fireflies who maintain an undying loyalty to each other after joining the Washington Liberation Front. Leah, Nick, and Jordan haven’t been cast, but they might be removed to streamline the story.

Catherine O’Hara has also been cast in The Last of Us season 2 in an undisclosed guest role.

Lev & Yara Haven’t Been Cast In The Last Of Us TV Show Yet

Abby arrives at the aquarium with Lev and Yara in The Last of Us Part II

While The Last of Us season 2 has cast the entire Salt Lake crew that goes with Abby to Jackson, there’s no word yet on who will play arguably the two most important supporting characters in Abby’s story: Lev and Yara. Abby’s dynamic with Lev and Yara, reluctantly joining forces with them and later becoming so attached to them that she’ll do whatever it takes to keep them safe, is comparable to Joel and Ellie’s dynamic in the first game. This is a big part of what makes Abby sympathetic as the story goes on.

The TV adaptation of The Last of Us Part II will inevitably include Lev and Yara at some point – they’re way too important to the story to be cut – but the fact that their casting hasn’t been announced suggests that they won’t appear in season 2. While the Salt Lake crew is introduced early on at the lodge where they trap and kill Joel, Lev and Yara aren’t introduced until the middle of the game. The Last of Us season 2 was expected to rearrange the game’s nonlinear plotting, but maybe it’ll follow the game’s narrative structure to a T.

Abby’s Seattle Days Might Be Saved For Season 3

Abby standing in the rain in The Last of Us: Part 2

The fact that the Salt Lake crew has been cast and Lev and Yara haven’t been cast would suggest that the TV show will follow the game’s uniquely subversive structure. Mazin has already confirmed that it’ll take more than one season to tell the epic tale of The Last of Us Part II, and the absence of Lev and Yara’s casting hints at how they’ll split up these seasons. If there’s no Lev and Yara in season 2, then it’s likely that season 2 will focus on Ellie’s three days in Seattle before season 3 covers Abby’s days.

It would’ve made sense for The Last of Us TV series to show Ellie and Abby’s adventures in Seattle simultaneously. Whereas a video game can only follow one character’s perspective at a given time, TV shows have the ability to cross-cut between various different characters’ perspectives. The Last of Us’ TV adaptation could’ve used this cross-cutting ability to chronicle Ellie’s journey through Seattle, Abby’s journey through Seattle, and even Tommy’s journey through Seattle, which happened off-screen in the game, all at the same time.

But it seems as though Mazin and Druckmann have decided not to meddle with the game’s story structure and will instead tell the story on TV in the same way it was told in the game. The bulk of season 2 could follow Ellie’s three days in Seattle, then season 3 could begin with the flashback to Abby’s dad’s death before following her Seattle adventures across the same three days. This is a risky move, because the TV show won’t have the benefit of gameplay to actively endear audiences to the Abby character.

What This Casting Could Mean For The Last Of Us Season 2 Finale

Abby holding a gun in the theater in The Last of Us Part II

If The Last of Us season 2 is chronicling Ellie’s three days in Seattle before season 3 picks up with Abby’s Seattle days, then it’s obvious what the season 2 finale’s cliffhanger ending will be. Ellie’s Seattle days culminate in Abby tracking down her hideout at the theater and confronting her at gunpoint. She kills Jesse, irreparably injures Tommy, and angrily tells Ellie that she “wasted” the second chance Abby gave her before a sudden cut to black. This cut-to-black moment during the theater confrontation would certainly make for a shocking ending to The Last of Us season 2.

This could be a risky choice, because it would mean that the bulk of season 3 is spent in the company of Joel’s killer. At that point in the story, Abby hasn’t done anything to earn the audience’s empathy, so TV viewers might be unwilling to sit through several Abby-centric episodes before finally getting back to Ellie. While it risks alienating some fans, The Last of Us Part II is a bold story, so it needs a bold adaptation. Whatever Mazin and Druckmann have in store for The Last of Us season 2, it’ll surely be perfect.

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