A day after announcing that Kaitlyn Dever will play Abby in The Last of Us series’ second season, Max (formerly HBO Max) has announced that Beef actor Young Mazino will play Ellie’s friend Jesse.
Like Dever’s casting, the announcement first came from Max’s own social channels, and didn’t name the character they were playing. Ten The Last of Us developer Naughty Dog followed up with its own post confirming Mazino has been cast as Ellie’s golden retriever bestie and Dina’s ex-boyfriend Jesse.
Along with being a part of Ellie and Dina’s trio, Jesse is one of the leading members of the Jackson community who assigns patrols around the town to fight Infected. He gets wrapped up in Ellie’s revenge tour in a pretty pivotal way in The Last of Us Part II, so even if he’s not one of the headliners, he’s a major player in the game’s larger themes by the end.
Mazino’s best-known role is as Paul Cho in Netflix’s dramedy Beef (for which he and his castmates are enjoying some accolades this awards season), but he’s also in the midst of filming Opus, a horror film starring Ayo Edebiri, John Malkovich, and fellow The Last of Us star Murray Bartlett, who played Frank in season one.
As more casting announcements come, I’m eager to see who plays Dina and Lev, arguably the deuteragonists of Ellie and Abby’s respective stories. We may have gotten a glimpse at Dina in The Last of Us’ first season during the Jackson episode, but Lev is very central to the Seattle setting of Part II. Personally, I’d love to see Lev’s original actor, Ian Alexander, reprise their role as the Seraphite archer in the show. It’s not unprecedented, as Merle Dandridge got to play Marlene again in the first season after portraying her in both games.
The Last of Us’s second season is set to premiere in 2025, with filming starting on February 12.