The Last of Us season 2 episode count revealed; why so short?

The Last of Us season 1
Photo: HBO

The good news for fans of The Last of Us is that the series looks to be returning to HBO next year. However, it will be with a season that is shorter by a good measure than what you got back in 2023.

In an interview with Deadline, executive producer Craig Mazin confirmed some of the rumors that are out there that this season will only be seven episodes — though he suggested that one of them in particular would be rather substantial. This is two episodes shorter than season 1, and it comes at a time when episode counts have shrunk for a number of big-budget shows across the map. Take House of the Dragon, which is only doing eight episodes for season 2.

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So why the shorter season here? Mazin notes that this decision had mostly to do with the story, and trying to find the right place to pause leading into the next part of the source material:

“The story material that we got from Part II of the game is way more than the story material that was in the first game, so part of what we had to do from the start was figure out how to tell that story across seasons … When you do that, you look for natural breakpoints, and as we laid it out, this season, the national breakpoint felt like it came after seven episodes.”

Mazin also noted that season 3 (which has not been confirmed, but feels like a foregone conclusion) may not be the end of the series, either — but it is much too early to tell in regards to that:

“We don’t think that we’re going to be able to tell the story even within two seasons [2 and 3] because we’re taking our time and go down interesting pathways which we did a little bit in Season 1 too … We feel like it’s almost assuredly going to be the case that — as long as people keep watching and we can keep making more television — Season 3 will be significantly larger. And indeed, the story may require Season 4.”

Of course, you also have to consider the possibility that a third The Last of Us game could eventually come out and if that happens, what will we get for the show? A lot is still pretty-much unknown.

Related Be sure to get some more news on The Last of Us, including other premiere date hopes

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