HBO renewed The Last of Us for a second season in January, and while that may have seemed like a gamble at the time, the latest numbers would imply that it was a perfect decision. In a new media release, Warner Bros. Discovery confirmed that the season 1 finale of The Last of Us has set another ratings high for the series, drawing as many as 8.2 million viewers across HBO Max and linear telecasts during its premiere on Sunday, March 12, marking a 75% increase in debut night viewing compared to the series premiere (4.7 million viewers). As for what fans can expect out of the second season, co-creators Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin have told GQ that they are looking to adapt The Last of Us Part II in not just one, but multiple seasons, something that may not come as a surprise to those who explored the PlayStation game to its fullest. Mazin also suggested that audiences might be seeing more of the infected in future episodes, implying that there may be an increase in action scenes, bringing the series even closer to the games that inspired it.
From a GQ interview:
One of the complaints we’ve seen online is the reduced level of infected in the show versus the game. Can we expect to see more of them in Season 2?
Mazin: One of my least favourite notes as a screenwriter to receive from a studio is, ‘we really liked this, give us more of it.’ And I always think, well, I’m going to give you more good until you’re like ‘ah it’s too much of it.’ I learned that lesson as much from watching Game of Thrones as anything else. That series had such a slow and interesting build to the presence of the wights and the white walkers. Every time you saw them, your blood pressure skyrocketed. They were special. Had Game of Thrones been a game first, as opposed to a set of novels, there’s no doubt that in the game, you’d be fighting White Walkers all the time. And som of course you would want more of them [in a TV adaptation]. All that said, we learned by watching the audience watch the show. I personally have noted how much they liked those encounters. And I think we have some really interesting things coming that will be very satisfying without burying you.
People are also speculating how Season 2 will encompass such a large game. Will the next season span the entire course of the second game?
Mazin: [shakes head] No. No way.
Druckmann: It’s more than one season.
Can you tell us if it’s two or three seasons?
Mazin: You have noted correctly that we will not say how many. But more than one is factually correct. [Laughs].
Druckmann: Some of the stuff I’m most excited for [in Part 2] are the changes we’ve discussed and seeing the story come to life again in this other version. And I think it’s exciting because it leans into those feelings you had from the game, really heavily, in a new way.
From a Warner Bros. Discovery press release:
The season 1 finale of THE LAST OF US set another ratings high on Sunday night, delivering 8.2 million viewers across HBO Max and linear telecasts, based on Nielsen and first party data. The series is now averaging 30.4 million viewers across its first six episodes, with the first episode approaching 40 million viewers in the U.S. Outside of the U.S., THE LAST OF US is now the most-watched show in the history of HBO Max in both Europe and Latin America.
THE LAST OF US was a hit amongst fans and critics right out of the gate. Debuting to 4.7 million viewers in January, it has shown consistent growth throughout its first season despite enhanced competition from live sports telecasts and awards broadcasts. Sunday night’s finale audience marked a 75% increase in debut night viewing compared to the series premiere.