The Last Of Us Fans Fear The Worst After Pedro Pascal Filming Update, But I Have A More Optimistic Theory

 Joel outside in The Last of Us Season 1 finale.
Joel outside in The Last of Us Season 1 finale.

Fans likely already would have been waiting ages to catch a glimpse of The Last of Us Season 2, given how top-notch the production quality is, but the 2023 Hollywood strikes prolonged the creative process quite a bit, meaning we’re now waiting until Spring 2025 for more from Pedro Pascal’s Joel and Bella Ramsey’s Ellie. Filming kicked off in British Columbia in early February, and the plan is for it to go until August, and it’s understandably worrisome why a new report regarding Pascal would be extremely worrisome even for non-gamers.

It would appear as if Joel’s journey in Season 2 of The Last of Us may not be the most extensive, though there’s no reason to truly start freaking out just yet. While keeping in mind that this is an unsubstantiated report coming from an entertainment scoopster, DanielRPK shared via Patreon (via FandomWire) that Pedro Pascal has already wrapped his duties for Season 2, which would put him putting in around six weeks of filming. And it doesn’t take a math whiz to parse out why that could spell doom for Joel.

The Last of Us Season 2 will potentially remain faithful to the video game sequel, which had already created a wave of unease among viewers who quickly grew to adore live-action Joel and Ellie’s relationship as much as the one depicted in the source material. Without getting into mega-spoilers, it doesn’t bode well for the HBO hit’s surrogate papa, and Kaitlyn Dever being cast as Abby might have something to do it with.

Talk Show Host Murray in The Last Of Us premiere
Talk Show Host Murray in The Last Of Us premiere

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So combined with the rumors that he may already be done working on new scenes? There aren’t a whole lot of reasons why the actor would head out unless the part he was playing came to a screeching halt, right? As a realist, I can’t deny how bad things look. But the tiny part of me that beats with blissful optimism is holding out hope that this reported update isn’t necessarily the funeral dirge that one might expect.

The Last Of Us Creators Might Be Playing A Long-Con With Joel

Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann have already expressed the idea that more than one season could be used to explore the events of The Last Of Us II, so that's reason enough alone to suspect that the TV series' version of events could take more liberties with the second game's biggest moments in ways that Season 1 hewed closely to the original.

With that in mind, and also with the idea that this show employs tons of creative people who are aware of what many people's expectations are, and that HBO shows have long been known for bucking expectations, regardless of when adaptations are involved. So we're working with a bit of reverse-psychology logic here. (Or illogic.)

If the show was intending to kill off Joel very early on, the producers would likely want to hide that fact by keeping Pedro Pascal around the set for far longer than he'd be needed, specifically to avoid the very same kinds of speculation that are happening now. (Realistically, that would likely be a very expensive option, but not ridiculously out of line.)

Ipso facto, if Mazin and Druckmann really wanted to pull the survivor-sought wool over viewers' heads, the idea would be to have Pascal bow out early to make it LOOK like Joel would meet an early death. Then they can bring him back later under as much secrecy as possible to film follow-up footage for anything that would be needed to fill in the blanks.

Given The Last of Us' ability to span time either in short spikes or long stretches, it's not outlandish to think the story could incorporate another instance where Ellie has to leave a potentially injured Joel for a long stretch, or for the first part of Season 2 to tackle story beats that weren't shown directly in the game between Joel and Ellie. There are plenty of ways to spin it if you want to believe, and I do, even though I also kind of still want the show to pull off the game's tragic twists.

Fans can rewatch The Last of Us Season 1 with an Max subscription, while also checking out each of the other upcoming video game adaptations and upcoming horror TV series that are on the way.