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The Last of Us: New cast for season two unveiled

Isabela Merced will play the role of Dina, HBO has announced

Tom Murray
Friday 12 January 2024 00:13 GMT
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Actors record sounds of clickers for The Last Of Us

The cast of The Last of Us season two is slowly being unveiled.

The second series of HBO’s hit video game adaptation will see the return of Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal in their lead roles of Ellie and Joel – survivors of a deadly virus that has turned infected people into monsters.

The show was a smash hit for the network, garnering widespread acclaim including 24 nominations at the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards.

The events of series two will mirror those of the PlayStation game’s 2020 sequel (The Last of Us Part II), set five years after the events of the first game, and introduce a whole host of new characters.

Scroll down for a list of all the actors joining series two.

Dina – Isabela Merced

Isabela Merced (left) and Dina from ‘The Last of Us Part II’ (Getty Images/Naughty Dog)

Rosaline star Isabela Merced, 22, is the latest cast member to be announced in recent days. She will play Dina, Ellie’s love interest (in the video game, at least) and chief ally in her mission for revenge.

“Dina is warm, brilliant, wild, funny, moral, dangerous and instantly lovable,” said series co-creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann in a statement via Variety. “You can search forever for an actor who effortlessly embodies all of those things, or you can find Isabela Merced right away. We couldn’t be prouder to have her join our family.”

Dina is described as “a free-wheeling spirit whose devotion to Ellie will be tested by the brutality of the world they inhabit.”

Jesse – Young Mazino

Young Mazino (left) and Jesse in ‘The Last of Us Part II’ (Getty Images/Naughty Dog)

Beef breakout star will join The Last of Us cast as Jesse, who is said to be “a pillar of his community who puts everyone else’s needs before his own, sometimes at terrible cost”.

In the game, Jesse is part of a love triangle with Ellie and Dina and is another of Ellie’s key allies in the plot that will likely form the basis of the second series.

“Young is one of those rare actors who is immediately undeniable the moment you see him,” said Mazin and Druckmann. “We’re so lucky to have him, and we can’t wait for the audience to see Young shine in our show.”

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Mazino is Emmy-nominated for his role as Steven Yeun's younger brother, Paul, in Netflix’s hit limited series, Beef.

Abby Kaitlyn Dever

Kaitlyn Dever (left) and Abby in ‘The Last of Us Part II’ (Getty Images/Naughty Dog)

The first casting to be announced this year was arguably the series’ most pivotal: Abby.

Abby is the sequel’s main protagonist and will be played by Unbelievable star Kaitlyn Dever, 27.

Her character description reads: “Abby is a skilled soldier whose black-and-white view of the world is challenged as she seeks vengeance for those she loved.”

“Our casting process for season two has been identical to season one: we look for world-class actors who embody the souls of the characters in the source material,” said showrunners Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann in a joint statement. “Nothing matters more than talent, and we’re thrilled to have an acclaimed performer like Kaitlyn join Pedro [Pascal], Bella and the rest of our family.”

The actor originally auditioned for the part of Ellie, The Hollywood Reporter previously revealed. TLOU season two is expected to start production in the spring following delays due to the Hollywood actors’ and writers’ strikes and will return to HBO in 2025.

The cast for season one included Gabriel Luna, Anna Torv, Nico Parker, Murray Bartlett, Nick Offerman, Melanie Lynskey, Storm Reid, Merle Dandridge, Jeffrey Pierce, Lamar Johnson, Keivonn Woodard, Graham Greene, Elaine Miles, Ashley Johnson, and Troy Baker.

Last year, Mazin hinted that the hit series won’t end with season two.

“Our plan is to do it not just for one more season,” he said. “We should be around for a while.”

In a four-star review, The Independent’s Nick Hilton called the show “a new landmark in the seemingly impossible task of adapting video games”.

“It’s too early to say whether it will satisfy the legions of fans who believe that [show co-creator and video game developer Neil] Druckmann’s survivalist game is high art, in itself. But Druckmann, working with Mazin, has his fingerprints all over this tender, well-crafted and blackly comic piece.

“Right now, HBO is simply operating on a different level to any other network. With The Last of Us, it has another monster hit on its hands.”

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