It’s been two weeks since members of the Writers Guild of America went on strike, and several TV productions have already begun to feel its effects. Case in point: Casting for the second season of HBO’s The Last of Us — like Netflix’s Stranger Things and Disney’s Andor — has ceased in the wake of the strike, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the production.
According to Variety, casting for the second season of the popular post-apocalyptic horror series adapted from developer Naughty Dog’s 2013 videogame of the same name was put on hold earlier this week due to the WGA strike. At this time, neither series showrunner Craig Mazin nor series co-creator Neil Druckmann are currently working on the production of The Last of Us’ second season in any capacity.
The Variety report cites multiple unnamed sources claiming that, prior to this week, the casting team for the second season had been auditioning actors by asking them to read dialogue taken directly from 2020’s The Last of Us Part II, upon which the series’ second season is presumed to be based off of. This is because no scripts for the second season have been written yet, with Mazin (who wrote the majority of the first season’s nine episodes) currently striking along with his fellow Writers Guild of America members.
The delay of The Last of Us’ second season is the latest in a several delays that have occurred due to the WGA strike. On Saturday, May 6, Stranger Things showrunners Matt and Ross Duffer took to Twitter to announce that all production on the fifth and final season of the series has halted in solidarity with the strike. Andor showrunner Tony Gilroy also released a statement through The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday stating that he has ceased all writing and producer duties on the series’ second season. Meanwhile, HBO’s other giant tentpole, House of the Dragon, will continue to film, with the company claiming that all scripts were completed before production.
The WGA is currently on strike, citing needs for a higher pay floor, pay standardization and residuals for entertainment released on streaming or in theaters, as well as to “address the abuses of mini-rooms,” which are basically smaller writers rooms that offer less stability and involvement for writers. The use of AI to create content is also on the table.
Prior to the strike, the second season of The Last of Us was set to begin shooting in early 2024 in Vancouver and presumed to premiere sometime between the end of 2024 and early 2025. It’s unclear if and how the strike will affect the release.