The Last of Us season 2 gets big casting boost with Netflix's Beef star Young Mazino

Danny and Paul stand next to each other on a basketball court in Netflix's Beef
Young Mazino (right) starred alongside Steven Yeun (left) in hit Netflix show Beef. (Image credit: Netflix)

One day after we learned of one big cast announcement, there's more good news for The Last of Us season 2. Young Manzino, who was nominated for an Emmy for his role as Paul Cho in hit Netflix show Beef, is going to play Jesse.

As confirmed by Deadline (among others) after the reveal was made on Max's social media channels, Young will portray Jesse, one of Ellie's friends and a leader of one of the Jackson community's patrol groups, who first appeared in the critically-acclaimed Naughty Dog video game sequel The Last of Us Part II.

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In a statement accompanying the reveal, The Last of Us' TV co-creators and showrunners Craig Mazin and Neil Druckman wrote: "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."

If you've played The Last of Us Part II, you'll know Jesse joins Ellie in her quest for revenge after a catastrophic event that saw plenty of tears shed among the gaming community. And, if you haven't played the game (or its forebear), that doesn't matter. As The Last of Us season 1 taught us, you don't need you to be an expert on the game's lore, or to have even played the game, to be utterly compelled by the terrifying, heart-breaking, and intimate story it tells.

Mazino's hiring comes one day after it was revealed No One Will Save You's Kaitlyn Dever would play Abby in The Last of Us season 2. Clearly, Mazin and Druckmann want to make season 2's cast as strong as it can possibly be and cement the TV adaptation's place as one of the best Max shows around.

The Last of Us Season 2: when can we stream it?

Joel and Ellie stand on a roof top in The Last of Us season 1

It'll be a while before we see Joel and Ellie again. (Image credit: Liane Henstcher/HBO)

Like many high profile shows, The Last of Us season 2 was delayed by the 2023 Hollywood writers and actors strikes. Currently, it's expected to enter full production in February 2024, with an eye on releasing it on one of the world's best streaming services (i.e. Max) in the US sometime in 2025. It'll also be available on Sky Atlantic in the UK and Binge in Australia.

In the meantime, you'll be able to get a gaming-style fix if you own a PlayStation 5, with The Last of Us Part II Remastered set to arrive on January 19. It'll be an even better version of the original game, and include some unreleased levels and new gameplay modes. Check out our The Last of Us Part II Remastered pre-order guide for more details.

Will I be dipping my toes about into the multi-award-winning game series' dystopian world?  I feel the same about the remastered edition as I do about The Last of Us season 2. I want to play the game and see the show's next installment but, honestly, I don't know if I'm ready to dive back into The Last of Us Part II after completing it when it first came out. 

As we said in our review of The Last of Us Part II, it's not exactly a fun game to play. Indeed, its "heart-wrenching and sickening on occasion, and it'll put you through the emotional wringer", and I spent quite a lot of the last few hours in tears as it became apparent that the game's dark tonality wasn't going to turn into sunshine and rainbows. It's a beautifully told story, but it's also a very tough and bleak one. So perhaps it's for the best that The Last of Us season 2 is still some way off, meaning we can get over its predecessor's somber plot threads first before we're reunited with Joel and Ellie.

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Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.

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