HBO: Isabela Merced joins The Last of Us Season 2 as Dina

ELLE's Women In Hollywood Celebration - Arrivals
ELLE's Women In Hollywood Celebration - Arrivals / Robin L Marshall/GettyImages

Move over Frank and Bill, The Last of Us will have a new love story to tell in the hit HBO video game-to-film adaptation drama. Isabela Merced has been cast to play the character Dina, Ellie’s new love interest in the second installment of the series.

In The Last of Us Part II, Dina was a former orphan who joined the Jackson Community. She is the ex-girlfriend of Jesse, who becomes close to Ellie when she and Joel find refuge within the walls of her community.

Co-creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann explained to Deadline that Merced fit into the role perfectly. Much like Bella Ramsey (Ellie), sometimes you just get lucky with an actress and know they are the one from the minute you meet them.

"You can search forever for an actor who effortlessly embodies all of those things, or you can find Isabela Merced right away."

The two men behind the hit HBO drama define Dina as "warm, brilliant, wild, funny, moral, dangerous, and instantly lovable". It comes as no surprise that a character like Ellie would fall in love with that.

However, they live in a world where loyalty and love are constantly tested in a treacherous time based on survival.

Where have we seen Isabela Merced before?

Isabela has been in several films such as Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Father of the Bride, Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, and Transformers: The Last Knight. In television, Merced has had main roles in Dora and Friends: Into the City! as Kate and 100 Things to Do Before High School as CJ Martin.

She also had a recurring role as Jenny in Growing Up Fisher. The American-Peruvian actress also dabbles in music in the pop genre.

In The Last of Us season 1 finale, Joel risked his own life in a miraculous way to save Ellie.

However, he ended the first season by lying to Ellie. Joel may have gone full Rambo to save Ellie’s life, but he tells her that there are other people like her with immunity.

Time will tell how Ellie is going to feel about his lies. She could turn her back on Joel for the betrayal or understand that it was done out of love.

The Last of Us will begin filming season 2 this February, a year after the stellar show premiered. The wait has probably been due to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.

But fans won’t have to wait much longer to be spoiled with ongoing news for The Last of Us. Season 2 may not be rolling out until late 2025, but all good things are worth the wait, and this cast and crew do anything but disappoint.

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Are you excited for The Last of Us season 2? Share your predictions for the upcoming season in the comments below!