The Last of Us showrunner Craig Mazin offers insight into show’s future amid Hollywood strikes

Craig Mazin has shared some welcome news for fans of The Last of Us regarding its forthcoming second season.

The dystopian thriller series, based on the video game of the same name, first aired in January. It stars Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey as survivors of a deadly mass fungal infection that destroyed the world 20 years prior.

Though it was renewed for season two nearly immediately after the success of its first episode, The Last of Us is one of several shows that have been on a development break as a result of the Hollywood strikes.

However, in a recent interview, Mazin, who is the programme’s showrunner, shared that the team will be ready to pick up work as soon as the strikes end, as significant developments on the season were made before labour ceased.

“We were able to map out all of season two,” Mazin explained on a recent episode of the Awardist podcast for Entertainment Weekly.

He added: “And I also wrote and submitted the script for the first episode and sent it in [to HBO] around 10:30 or 10:40 pm right before... the strike began.”

WGA, the union that comprises 11,500 writers and script editors for TV and film, have been striking since 2 May.

On 14 July, Sag-Aftra – the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists – also began picketing, with both unions demanding fairer rates of pay and limits on the use of AI, among other points.

As a result, Hollywood has effectively shut down, with no union members able to film, write or promote any project belonging to a studio that the groups are picketing against.

Mazin has been able to keep some crew members employed throughout this time without violating the rules of the strike. However, he also admitted that the team won’t be able to begin filming on the dates they originally planned.

Craig Mazin, The Last of Us (Getty / HBO / Warner Media)
Craig Mazin, The Last of Us (Getty / HBO / Warner Media)

He explained: “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,” he continued. “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.”

The Hollywood shutdown, and the studios’ refusal to grant the unions’ requests, has affected the production of several properties. In some cases, it is thought to have contributed to the cancellation of TV programmes that had previously been projected to return for further seasons.

Last week, Amazon Prime Video announced that neither The Peripheral, starring Chloe Grace Moretz, nor queer-focused women’s baseball comedy-drama A League of Their Own, would return for second seasons, despite previously being ordered.