THE LAST OF US Season 2 Casts Jesse and Dina

Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann have found their actors to play Jesse and Dina in The Last of Us season 2: Young Mazino and Isabela Merced.
The Last of Us Young Mazino Isabela Merced

It’s been an exciting week to be a fan of The Last of Us. Starting on Tuesday, HBO has confirmed the three main additions to the second season of the show, one per day. Starting with corroborating reports of Kaitlyn Dever as Abby, the network announced Young Mazino will be playing Jesse (played by Stephen Chang in the game), and Isabela Merced as Dina (played by Shannon Woodward in the game). You can see the announcement on X on Isabela Merced below:

Jesse is a key member of the Jackson community, where Joel and Ellie are living at the beginning of the second game, four years after the end of the first. He has a large role to play in the first half of the second game, which Season 2 will be adapting. Dina is Jesse’s ex-girlfriend and Ellie’s love interest throughout the whole narrative.


Co-showrunners Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann said in a statement (via Deadline) about Mazino’s casting, “Young is one of those rare actors who is immediately undeniable the moment you see him. We’re so lucky to have him, and we can’t wait for the audience to see Young shine in our show.”

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About Merced’s casting as Dina, they said (via Deadline): “Dina is warm, brilliant, wild, funny, moral, dangerous and instantly lovable. You can search forever for an actor who effortlessly embodies all of those things, or you can find Isabela Merced right away. We couldn’t be prouder to have her join our family.”

Mazino was one of the breakout stars of Netflix’s Beef. Merced recently joined the cast of Superman: Legacy as Hawkgirl and is mostly known for playing the titular role in Paramount’s Dora and the Lost City of Gold. She’s also part of Madame Web and Fede Álvarez’s Alien: Romulus.

The Last of Us Part 2

In Related News, Pedro Pascal’s February Schedule Just Freed Up

Following Dever’s casting announcement, we speculated that Mazin and Druckmann might go with an unconventional shooting schedule, and not start with the beginning of the game, where Joel has a large role. One major reason is that actor Pedro Pascal signed on to star in Zach Cregger’s Weapons about a year ago.

Weapons is reportedly set to film from Feb. 20 – April 18, which meant Pascal was probably going to skip the first couple of months of shooting The Last of Us Season 2. If you’re familiar with the story of the game, you probably know by now that Joel’s scenes will probably be filmed either before or after the main narrative of the game, of which Joel is not a big part and which takes place in Seattle (as opposed to Joel’s scenes, which happen in Jackson.)

The Last of Us Pedro Pascal Bella Ramsey
Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey in episode 8 of HBO’s The Last of Us.

However, reporter Jeff Sneider via his newsletter clarified the situation last night when he reported that Pascal was exiting Weapons. It seems, then, that Pascal will be on set for The Last of Us for the first few weeks of production on season 2, and that then he’ll move on to other projects. Namely, he’s apparently lined up Ari Aster’s Eddington and will be shooting Marvel Studios’ Fantastic Four over the summer (as opposed to the previously reported April date).

However, there are still a few questions that need answering, most of them surrounding Dever’s Abby. The character, in the narrative of the game, has been hitting the gym for years to look like a human ox, but also has a few flashbacks pre-transformation. Logic would dictate that they shoot those first and then let her hit the gym for months before she comes back to set. However, she shares a few post-transformation scenes with Joel, so when are they gonna shoot those?

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The point is that we don’t have to know; Mazin and Druckmann do. And given how the first season played out, it seems like they know pretty well what they’re doing. The fact that they’ve been able to cast Jesse and Dina already seems to indicate things are moving in the right direction.

Filming is set to begin in Vancouver on Feb. 9, with the series aiming at a 2025 release date. The first season of The Last of Us is streaming now on Max.

About The Last of Us

The Last of Us

Release Date: Jan. 15, 2023 (Season 1); Season 2 TBA
Created by: Craig Mazin and Neill Druckman
Executive producers: Craig Mazin, Neill Druckman, Carolyn Strauss, Evan Wells, Asad Qizilbash, Carter Swan, and Rose Lam
Production: Sony Pictures Television, PlayStation Production, Word Games, The Mighty Mint, and Naughty Dog
Distribution: HBO, Max
Cast: Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsey, Gabriel Luna, Anna Torv, Nico Parker, Murray Barlett, Nick Offerman, Melanie Lynskey, Storm Reid, Merle Dandridge, Jeffrey Pierce, Lamar Johnson, Keivonn Woodard, Graham Greene, Elaine Miles, Ashley Johnson, and Troy Baker

Synopsis (Season 1): The Last of Us takes place 20 years after modern civilization has been destroyed. Joel, a hardened survivor, is hired to smuggle Ellie, a 14-year-old girl, out of an oppressive quarantine zone. What starts as a small job soon becomes a brutal and heartbreaking journey as they both must traverse the U.S. and depend on each other for survival.

What do you make of the news? How do you think they will work out the shooting schedule for Pedro Pascal? Do you think we’ll hear more casting news surrounding Abby’s gang soon? Did you like The Last of Us as an adaptation? Let us know on our Discord and stay tuned for more The Last of Us season 2 updates on our social media!

SOURCE: Max on Twitter, Deadline

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