HBO is doubling down on “The Last of Us”, announcing the post-apocalyptic zombie thriller starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey has been renewed for a second season.

In the network’s announcement, HBO reveals that the first episode has now been viewed by more than 22 million people, nearly five times the number of viewers who watched the episode when it first aired.

According to HBO, thehe series from co-creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann marks HBO’s second- largest debut ever, behind only “House of the Dragon”.

READ MORE: ‘The Last Of Us’ Hits Largest-Ever Viewership Growth For HBO Drama After Premiere

“Craig and Neil, alongside EP Carolyn Strauss, and the rest of our phenomenal cast and crew, have defined a genre with their masterful debut season of ‘The Last of Us,’” said Francesca Orsi, executive vice president, HBO programming, head of HBO drama series and films. “After pulling off this unforgettable first season, I can’t wait to watch this team outshine themselves again with season two.”

“I’m humbled, honoured, and frankly overwhelmed that so many people have tuned in and connected with our retelling of Joel and Ellie’s journey. The collaboration with Craig Mazin, our incredible cast & crew, and HBO exceeded my already high expectations,” added Druckmann, who created the video game and comic book series on which the show is based. “Now we have the absolute pleasure of being able to do it again with season two! On behalf of everyone at Naughty Dog & PlayStation, thank you!”

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“I’m so grateful to Neil Druckmann and HBO for our partnership, and I’m even more grateful to the millions of people who have joined us on this journey,” said Mazin. “The audience has given us the chance to continue, and as a fan of the characters and world Neil and Naughty Dog created, I couldn’t be more ready to dive back in.”

“‘The Last of Us’ takes place 20 years after modern civilization has been destroyed,” reads HBO’s series synopsis. “Joel (Pascal), a hardened survivor, is hired to smuggle Ellie (Ramsey), 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.”

READ MORE: Pedro Pascal Survives The Zombie Apocalypse In ‘The Last Of Us’ Trailer

The first season also stars Gabriel Luna, Anna Torv, Nico Parker, Murray Bartlett, Nick Offerman, Melanie Lynskey, Storm Reid, Merle Dandridge, Jeffrey Pierce, Lamar Johnson, Keivonn Woodard, Graham Greene and Elaine Miles.

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