When all is said and done, there’s one more unfortunate reality to consider when it comes to guessing at the shelf life for “The Last of Us”: money. HBO’s parent company, Warner Media, infamously merged with Discovery, Inc last year in a consolidation of media power that has already had an industry-wide impact. As of October, the company had a plan to cut costs in TV and film of up to $2 billion, and we’ve already seen that plan play out with pretty ruthless moves including an ongoing overhaul of the DC universe, the gutting of the company’s animation section, and the unceremonious removal of titles that aren’t available on home media from the HBO Max catalog.
Some big-name projects have been caught in the crossfire during this painful transition period, with “Westworld” and “Batgirl” canceled in 2022, along with shows like the already-renewed “Minx” and nearly every scripted series on TBS and TNT. All of this is to say that even a series that seems like as sure a bet as “The Last of Us” doesn’t have a guaranteed future in the money-driven and currently rocky streaming landscape. But the series clearly has a major fanbase, and the talent behind it to warrant another season. Druckmann and series co-creator Craig Mazin seem to be putting an enormous amount of thought into making this adaptation count, so hopefully, the series lasts exactly as long as it needs to in order to tell the best story it can.
New episodes of “The Last of Us” air on HBO and HBO Max on Sundays.