Here comes the ‘shroom: ‘The Last of Us’ renewed for Season 2 by HBO

HBO has another hit on its hands.

On Friday, the network announced it had renewed the breakout video game adaptation “The Last of Us” for a second season. The show, co-created by Craig Mazin (“Chernobyl”) and Neil Druckmann (the man behind the blockbuster video game from Naughty Dog), premiered on January 15 to great acclaim and viewership. As a result, its second season almost felt like a foregone conclusion. 

Still, the news left Druckmann feeling “humbled, honored, and frankly overwhelmed,” the co-creator said in a statement.

The collaboration with [co-creator] Craig Mazin, our incredible cast & crew, and HBO exceeded my already high expectations,” he added. “Now we have the absolute pleasure of being able to do it again with season two! On behalf of everyone at Naughty Dog and PlayStation, thank you!”

In his own statement about the renewal, Mazin added, “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.”

While the series has ping-ponged through time thus far, the bulk of “The Last of Us” takes place 20 years after a fungal outbreak wipes out most of the population and leaves those who haven’t died in the grasp of a killer cordyceps fungus that turns its human hosts into mindless killers. The story follows Joel (Pedro Pascal), “a hardened survivor,” who is tasked with smuggling a teenage girl named Ellie (Bella Ramsey), who may have a cure for the outbreak, across the country.

With its pedigree and premise – plus outstanding reviews – “The Last of Us” has been a huge hit, HBO noted. The series premiere was watched by 4.7 million total viewers – and that figure has hit 22 million in the two weeks since thanks to delayed viewing. The second episode, which aired last week, was watched by 5.7 million – the largest jump between weeks one and two in the history of HBO. The buzz around this weekend’s third episode, which introduces characters played by Murray Barlett and Nick Offerman, is already high.

Season 1 of “The Last of Us” will run for nine total episodes.

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