The first season of HBO’s The Last of Us wrapped up on Sunday night, and the show's creators are already looking ahead to the challenge of adapting the second game. HBO swiftly greenlit a second season after the show became an immediate success, but that won't be enough to contain the events of The Last of Us Part II, as Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann confirmed.
"No. No way," Mazin said when GQ asked if the second season would explore the entire story of Part II (the interview contains spoilers for the season one finale). "It’s more than one season," Druckmann added, though Mazin declined to say whether they'd need two or three seasons to cover the events of Naughty Dog's sequel. In any case, The Last of Us is only officially renewed for season two, not a third or fourth one as yet.
As if the task of adapting the long, ambitious Part II didn’t already seem daunting enough, Mazin and Druckmann have an enormous new audience to appease. The show has been a huge hit so far. HBO said last week that almost 30 million viewers have watched the first five episodes across all platforms. We'll have to wait and see if those folks stick around after [spoiler] in the chalet basement, but the show's creators aren't too concerned.
"I don't care. How they react is how they react, that is completely outside of our control," Druckmann told GQ in response to a question about the TV audience's reaction to the events of Part II. "So how do we make the best TV show version of that story? That's the problem that we wrestle with every day." Mazin added that he'd rather viewers have a strong emotional response than an indifferent one.
Meanwhile (and here's where we'll get into some mild spoilers), the pivotal opening scene of the finale was originally conceived as part of an animated short, which didn't come to pass. According to The Verge, Druckmann said he then spoke with an external studio about making a separate game focusing on Ellie's mother, Anna, but that fell through as well. The show gave him a chance to revisit that part of the story, which features Ashley Johnson (who stars as Ellie in the games) as Anna.