HBO has given the green light to The Last of Us Season 2 following the news that the first episode has now surpassed 22 million viewers domestically, up nearly five times its premiere night audience.
The series from co-creators Craig Mazin (Emmy Award-winning creator of HBO’s Chernobyl) and Neil Druckmann (creator and writer of the award-winning The Last of Us franchise and Naughty Dog Co-President) marks HBO’s second largest debut, behind only House of the Dragon.
Episode 2 of The Last of Us tallied 5.7 million viewers across HBO Max and linear telecasts in the U.S. Sunday night, based on Nielsen and first party data, adding more than 1 million new viewers vs. the series premiere. This 22% jump marks the largest week two audience growth for any HBO Original drama series in the history of the network.
The Last of Us is also a hit on social media, with the series trending #1 both in the U.S. and worldwide on Twitter during its series debut. To date, season one teasers and trailers have amassed more than 100 million views globally. Additionally, the first episode of the series’ companion podcast hit #1 on the Apple Podcast US charts across all genres within 48 hours of its release.
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“Craig and Neil, alongside EP Carolyn Strauss, and the rest of our phenomenal cast and crew, have defined a genre with their masterful debut season of ‘The Last of Us,'” said Francesca Orsi, Executive Vice President, HBO Programming, Head of HBO Drama Series and Films.
“After pulling off this unforgettable first season, I can’t wait to watch this team outshine themselves again with season two.”
“I’m humbled, honored, and frankly overwhelmed that so many people have tuned in and connected with our retelling of Joel and Ellie’s journey. The collaboration with Craig Mazin, our incredible cast & crew, and HBO exceeded my already high expectations,” said executive producer Neil Druckmann.
He continued about The Last of Us Season 2: “Now we have the absolute pleasure of being able to do it again with season two! On behalf of everyone at Naughty Dog & PlayStation, thank you!”
“I’m so grateful to Neil Druckmann and HBO for our partnership, and I’m even more grateful to the millions of people who have joined us on this journey,” said executive producer Craig Mazin.
“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.”
The Last of Us takes place 20 years after modern civilization has been destroyed. Joel, a hardened survivor, is hired to smuggle Ellie, a 14-year-old girl, out of an oppressive quarantine zone. What starts as a small job soon becomes a brutal and heartbreaking journey as they both must traverse the U.S. and depend on each other for survival.
Season one stars Pedro Pascal as Joel, Bella Ramsey as Ellie, Gabriel Luna as Tommy, Anna Torv as Tess, Nico Parker as Sarah, Murray Bartlett as Frank, Nick Offerman as Bill, Melanie Lynskey as Kathleen, and Storm Reid as Riley.
The cast also includes Merle Dandridge as Marlene, Jeffrey Pierce as Perry, Lamar Johnson as Henry, Keivonn Woodard as Sam, Graham Greene as Marlon, and Elaine Miles as Florence. Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker also star.
New episodes of the series debut Sundays at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on HBO and are available to stream on HBO Max, leading up to the finale on March 12. Starting today, the first episode of The Last of Us will be made available for free on HBOMax.com.
Fans can also tune in to The Last of Us Podcast, the series’ official companion podcast where host Troy Baker, who plays Joel in the video game, sits down with series creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann for a scene-by-scene deep dive of each episode.
The Last of Us, based on the critically-acclaimed video game of the same name developed by Naughty Dog for the PlayStation platforms, is written and executive produced by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann.
The series is a co-production with Sony Pictures Television and is executive produced by Carolyn Strauss, Evan Wells, Asad Qizilbash, Carter Swan, and Rose Lam. The production companies are PlayStation Productions, Word Games, The Mighty Mint, and Naughty Dog.
A premiere date for The Last of Us Season 2 has not been announced yet.