'The Last of Us' Season 2 Fate Revealed at HBO

After breaking ratings records with its premiere episode and scoring the network's largest Episode 1 to Episode 2 viewership gain, HBO has renewed The Last of Us for Season 2. Seemingly as fast as the Cordyceps zombie fungus can spread, HBO on Friday greenlit a second season of the Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey-starring post-apocalyptic drama, based on the Naughty Dog video game of the same name. The renewal came just two episodes into the show's debut run.

"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," executive producer Neil Druckmann, who was also the writer and creative director of the game, said in a press release. "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!"

Based on Naughty Dog's award-winning video game, The Last of Us takes place 20 years after modern civilization has been destroyed by a mass fungal infection caused by a mutation in the genus Cordyceps, turning humans into cannibalistic creatures. A hardened survivor, Joel, played by Pascal, is hired to smuggle Ramsey's Ellie, a 14-year-old girl, out of the QZ (Quarantine Zone). The task soon takes a brutal turn as they both must traverse the U.S.

The series debuted on Jan. 15, with reports initially sharing that the debut episode drew 4.7 million viewers. In the Friday release, HBO said the episode has since reached 22 million viewers domestically. Episode 2 enjoyed similar success, reaching 5.7 million viewers across HBO and HBO Max in the U.S., a jump that represents a 22% increase, making The Last Of Us have the largest Episode 1 to Episode 2 viewership gain in HBO history. Unsurprisingly, the series is also performing well on Rotten Tomatoes, where it currently holds a 97% critics score and 96% audience score.

"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. 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," executive producer Craig Mazin said, with Francesca Orsi, Executive Vice President, HBO Programming, Head of HBO Drama Series and Films, adding, "after pulling off this unforgettable first season, I can't wait to watch this team outshine themselves again with season two."

Along with Pascal and Ramsey, the series also stars Anna Torv, Gabriel Luna, Nico Parker, Murray Bartlett, Nick Offerman, Melanie Lynskey, Storm Reid, Merle Dandridge, Jeffrey Pierce, Lamar Johnson, Keivonn Woodard, Graham Greene, Elaine Mile, Ashley Johnson, and Troy Baker. At this time, there is no word on the creative plan for Season 2. New episodes of The Last of Us air Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and are available to stream on HBO Max.