The Last Of Us season two casts Isabella Merced as Dina

Isabela Merced and Bella Ramsey

It’s been a great start to 2024 for The Last Of Us stans, who have been treated to season two cast announcements all week – the latest being Isabela Merced as Dina.

Merced, who is best known for playing Dora the Explorer in the 2019 live-action Dora and the Lost City of Gold, and Izabella in 2017’s Transformers: The Last Night, will play Dina in the second season of the hit HBO drama.

Showrunners have confirmed that season two of The Last Of Us will be based on the events of the second video game, The Last Of Us: Part Two.

The Last Of Us Isabella Merced as Dina
Isabela Merced will play Dina in season two of The Last Of Us. (Getty Images)

In the game, Dina is Ellie’s love interest, who accompanies her on her tireless quest for revenge – though she’s opposed to the whole idea.

Announcing Merced’s casting, series co-creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann said: “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.”

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Merced will join season one stars Pedro Pascal, who plays Joel, and Bella Ramsey, who plays Ellie, as well as some other fresh new faces.

Earlier this week, it was announced that, after months of speculation, Booksmart star Kaitlyn Dever had been cast as Abby Anderson.

The Last Of Us, Dina and Ellie
Dina is Ellie’s love interest in the video games. (Naughty Dog)

If season two follows on from the video game, Abby will be a key antagonist in The Last Of Us, who fans will likely either love or hate. No spoilers here, though.

Announcing Dever’s casting on Wednesday (10 January), Mazin and Druckmann said: “Our casting process for season two has been identical to season one: we look for world-class actors who embody the souls of the characters in the source material.

“Nothing matters more than talent, and we’re thrilled to have an acclaimed performer like Kaitlyn joins Pedro and Bella and the rest of our family.”

It was also revealed that Dever had originally auditioned for the part of Ellie when season one of The Last Of Us was in production – much to the delight of video game fans who heavily campaigned for her to be cast – but lost out on the role when series creators decided to give the role to a younger Bella Ramsey. 

Kaitlyn Dever
Kaitlyn Dever has been cast as Abby in season two of The Last Of Us. (Getty Images)

Thankfully, fans couldn’t be happier with Ramsey’s performance, and now they get to see Dever alongside them. It really is the best of both worlds.

On Thursday (11 January), series creators announced that Beef actor Young Mazino had also joined the The Last Of Us cast as Jesse.

In the video games, Jesse is a friend of Ellie’s and a patrol leader in his town who often puts the needs of others before his own. Long before Dina finds a romantic connection with Ellie, she was dating Jesse on-and-off, but when the two finally call it quits for good, they remain good friends.

Mazin and Druckmann said of 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.”

The Last Of Us season two is expected to begin shooting this spring and to air on HBO in 2025.

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