‘The Last of Us’ Season 2 has found its Dina in Isabela Merced

“The Last of Us” is continuing to round out its key players for Season 2.

Isabela Merced has been cast to potray Dina in the upcoming season of its acclaimed post-apocalyptic survival drama, HBO announced Thursday. The character is described as “a free-wheeling spirit whose devotion to Ellie will be tested by the brutality of the world they inhabit.”

“Dina is warm, brilliant, wild, funny, moral, dangerous and instantly lovable,” said series co-creators and executive producers Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann in a statement. “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.”

Merced’s casting follows this week’s announcements that “Dopesick” actor Kaitlyn Dever has joined “The Last of Us” to play Abby, a deadly soldier with a score to settle, and that “Beef” actor Young Mazino will be portraying Jesse, a selfless pillar of his community. Like Abby and Jesse, Dina was introduced in the 2020 sequel video game “The Last of Us Part II.” In the video game incarnation, Dina is a member of the community that Ellie and Joel settle in after the events of the first game. Dina’s relationship with Ellie is a central part of “The Last of Us Part II.”

The second season of “The Last of Us” is expected to pick up after the events of Season 1, which saw grizzled survivor Joel (Pedro Pascal) escort teenage Ellie (Bella Ramsey) on a journey across a U.S. ravaged by a mysterious fungus outbreak that has turned infected human hosts into zombie-like monsters in order to help develop a cure.

Merced is best known for her roles in films such as “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” (2019), “Let It Snow” (2019) and “Sweet Girl” (2021). She will also be seen in the upcoming Spider-Man spinoff “Madame Web.”

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