6 Tһeories For How Tһe Lаst Of Us Seаson 2 Will Deаl Witһ Its Biɡ Joel Moment

The Last Of Us Part II opens with a shocking and controversial moment for Joel, raising the question of how The Last Of Us season 2 will deal with it.

Joel in The Last of Us Part II and Pedro Pascal as Joel in HBO's The Last of Us

Warning: This article contains SPOILERS For The Last Of Us Part II.


  • Joel’s death will likely occur at the end of the first episode of The Last of Us Season 2, staying true to the shocking opening of the game.
  • The show may extend Joel’s storyline and have him die halfway through the second season, allowing for more time with him and Ellie before their fateful encounter with Abby.
  • Alternatively, the show could change the story and have Joel accompany Ellie on her revenge quest, ultimately meeting a grisly fate at the end of Season 2, providing a shocking twist for all viewers.

HBO’s The Last of Us season 2 would naturally be highly anticipated based on the first season’s success, but because of the shocking way The Last of Us Part II opens, there is even more pressure on the show’s second season regarding Joel’s story. Near the start of the second game, Joel, played by Troy Baker in the game and by Pedro Pascal in the live-action The Last of Us cast, is brutally beaten to death by the vengeful Abby, and the rest of the game follows Ellie’s quest for revenge. It was a shocking and controversial way to open the video game, and one the show will have a hard time replicating.

Before the strike began, The Last of Us star Pedro Pascal spoke about how he didn’t know how the show was going to handle Joel’s death, or how much of season two he would be in. Despite how controversial Joel’s death was, it led to some of the best storytelling in the history of video games, but TV is a different medium and the showrunners may want to go a different, more surprising way of adapting the game. With The Last Of Us season 2 eying to begin production in early 2024, it is only a matter of time until Joel’s fate is revealed.

6 Joel Will Die In The First Episode Of The Last Of Us Season 2

Keeping The Structure Of The Game

Sometimes, the simplest answer is the correct one. If The Last of Us season 2 is faithful to the video game, Joel will most likely die at the end of the first episode. The game jumps forward several years from the first one, which would be appropriate considering the years-long break between seasons, finding Joel and Ellie on shaky terms since she found out the truth about his massacre in the hospital. Before the two can spend much time together, Abby, the daughter of the doctor Joel murdered, comes for revenge, beating Joel to death.

The Last Of Us season 1 was very faithful to the video games, almost to a fault, so it stands to reason that the second season would be equally faithful This would sadly limit Pascal’s time in the show but Bella Ramsey, who plays Ellie, is more than capable to lead the show, and Ellie’s path to revenge is enough to sustain multiple seasons. For any viewers who aren’t familiar with the games, this would also work as a shocking opening to the show, and one that will instantly hook them. While it may not shock anyone who has played the games, it may be the best way to tell the story.

5 Joel Will Die Mid-Way Through The Last Of Us Season 2

Extending The Game’s Timeline But Keeping The Same Story

Joel and Ellie in The Last of Us

Showrunner Craig Mazin has spoken about how it will take multiple seasons to adapt the sprawling narrative of The Last of Us Part II. The game is simple too long and too dense to fit into eight episodes of TV, but this also allows the show to flesh the game out and develop more interactions between the characters. Without changing the story or the structure all that drastically, Joel could die halfway through the second season, giving the audience more time with him and Ellie before Abby rips them apart.

Bill, Joel and Henry in The Last of Us
Complete The Last Of Us Season 1 Timeline (In Chronological Order)

HBO’s The Last of Us timeline for season 1 covers the beginning of the Cordyceps outbreak in 2003 up to 2024 after Ellie and Joel meet.

4 Last Of Us Season 2 Will Tell The Game’s Story In A More Linear Fashion

Postponing Joel’s Death

Pedro Pascal as Joel in The Last of Us

Most of Joel’s scenes in the game are flashbacks that take place between the games. These flashbacks reveal how Ellie found out the truth about the fireflies, as well as their eventual reconciliation. These are powerful scenes that land at the perfect moments in the game, but for the medium of television, it may be more effective to tell the story linearly, with these flashbacks just being most of the second season. This will again extend the plot of the game into multiple seasons and allow more time for the audience to be with Joel.

3 Joel Will Die At The End Of The Last Of Us Season 2

Changing The Story And Giving The Character More Screen Time

Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ellie in The Last of Us season 1

Assuming that the show decides to depart from the source material, and make significant changes to Joel’s death, then it would make for an excellent cliffhanger at the end of season 2. Instead of being the inciting incident for Ellie’s vengeful trip to Abby, Joel could join her on this quest, only to meet a grisly fate once they get to Abby. Not only would this give an entire season of Joel and Ellie dealing with the fallout of the first game, but it would also be a shocking twist for everyone watching, not just those who haven’t played the game.

2 Joel Won’t Die In Season 2

Saving That Storyline For A Future Season

Bella Ramsey as Ellie looking scared in The Last of Us

While this may just be wishful thinking, there is always the possibility that Joel won’t die in season two of The Last of Us, and the writers are saving that story for future episodes. There is so much to explore with the world and characters of the show, so there is no need to rush towards the definitive ending of the second game. Joel’s death is all but inevitable, but the show does not need to rush it. Telling a slower-paced story can work for The Last of Us season 2.

1 Last Of Us Season 2 Will Have Even More Flashbacks Than The Game

Allowing Pedro Pascal To Be In The Show More

Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ellie in The Last of Us

No matter how The Last Of Us season 2 decides to deal with Joel’s death, his passing does not close the door on the character, or Pascal, appearing in more episodes. Like the game, the show will probably include several flashbacks to Joel and Ellie, but the show could add even more. While the game is mostly linear with a handful of flashbacks, the show could split it equally, giving half of the season to the past and Joel. The show could even explore Joel’s life before the outbreak and how he changed as a person and a father.

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