HBO’s The Last of Us Season 2 is likely to see a delay to its production schedule due to the ongoing Hollywood strikes. Showrunner and writer Craig Mazin told Entertainment Weekly that people working on Season 2 in a “below-the-line” capacity are still plugging ahead, but actual filming cannot begin until the writer and actor strikes are resolved.
“To the extent that we can keep anybody below the line working, that’s fantastic,” he said. “I think it’s becoming essentially a near certainty that we won’t be able to start [filming] when we were hoping to start, which is upsetting. We are all raring to go. This is what we are born to do. This is how we not only choose to live our lives, but I believe [how we] are compelled to live our lives. Otherwise, why the hell would we do this insane job? I can assure you it’s not for money.”
Before the onset of the strikes, HBO management said The Last of Us Season 2 would arrive in 2025. What effect the expected delay in production might have on the release date is unknown.
Mazin went on to say that the entirety of Season 2 is mapped out. However, only the first episode’s script was handed in to HBO prior to the start of the strike. Mazin said he submitted it at 10:30 PM or 10:40 PM the night that the strike began at midnight.
Mazin and co-writer Neil Druckmann are big believers in “endings,” Mazin said. Season 2 will cover some of the events of The Last of Us: Part II, and the expected Season 3 will go further. Mazin went on to say that he believes it is “cheating” to create mysteries within storytelling that never pay off, so The Last of Us viewers can be sure that the show won’t leave fans hanging, according to Mazin.
“That’s very upsetting and disappointing. We don’t do that. I refuse. So, when we have any kind of confusing, mysterious, or shocking story element, it’s purposeful and it will be understood,” he said.
Regarding the strikes, Mazin previously said he was confident that labor would prevail. “This will end, and when it ends, it will end to the satisfaction of the Writers Guild. I am absolutely convinced of that. We have no other choice,” he said.
This is the first time since 1960 that unions representing writers and actors have been on strike at the same time. The SAG-AFTRA strike began during the London premiere of Oppenheimer, and actors walked out of a screening when the strike was called. The WGA strike began earlier, starting in May.
Writers and actors are seeking, among other things, better pay, viewership-based streaming residuals, and protections against artificial intelligence.