This may contain spoilers.
And may be a little bit on the depressing side
You have been warned.
Many games, but not all, kill off it's protagonist at some point in the series, take Infamous, Prototype, Red Dead Redemption, and Mass Effect for example.
So, in a game as grounded and realistic as The Last of Us, it would not be a surprise to see Joel and/ or Ellie, kick the bucket.
The Last Of Us ends were Ellie must die, in order to create a vaccine for the fungus plaguing humanity. While Ellie is not given a choice if she lives or dies, eventually, she may find out about Joel's lie, and be given that choice then.
Ellie is the kind of character I feel, would be willing to give up her life to save humanity.
But I don't think that would the best way to end this series. Don't get me wrong, Ellie sacrificing herself to save the world, is not a bad ending, I just think it's too happy of an ending for The Last Of Us.
I don't think that in The Last Of Us, humanity should be saved at all, Why? you may ask.
Well, because it's called The Last Of Us, of course! If humanity got saved, it wouldn't be The Last Of Us it would be more like, the inconvenience of us.
The Last Of Us, to me, is a title that implies a story about human extinction.
I think Naughty Dog should make the ending of The Last Of Us series, (by the way I hope they make it a trilogy) as tragic, and depressing as they can.
If the series does end with, Ellie sacrificing herself for this cure, I think it should either not work, (making Ellie's death mean nothing, and adding to the tragic tone of The Last Of Us), or it should cut to credits right as Ellie dies, leaving the player to wonder if it worked or not.
Another option,one that I would like to see, is to have The Last of Us 2, have multiple endings.
One reason I think Ellie should be the next main character, is because we don't know how her story ends, and her story has the potential to be far less linear.
Giving the player multiple paths to take, would be a good way to avoid ruining the ending of the first last Of Us game. As it would still be up to the players interpretation. They would be able to choose if Ellie is okay with the choice Joel makes in the end, and they would be able to choose if Ellie would be willing to die to save humanity.
If the game does have multiple endings, which i think it should, I don't think any of the endings should be a happy one, "and they lived happily ever after" would not quit fit the tone of The Last Of Us. So if The Last Of Us 2 had multiple endings, they would likely be all tragic ones, most resulting in Ellie either dying, or ending up totally alone.
In the end of The Last Of Us, it's revealed that Ellie seems to be going through a bit of a depression, dealing with the loss of all those she has come to care about. Ellie's whole world is starting to crumble around her. She is starting to feel like she might not want to fight it any more, and is ready to crumble with it. This would be a great idea for the sequel to focus on.
Give us a deeper look into Ellie's mind, and what she is going through. The Last Of Us 2 could use a character like Ellie, to take a look at things like depression, and PTSD, and other mental illnesses. This could give The Last Of Us 2, an opportunity to have a lot more psychological scares to it.
Granted I don't want to see Ellie be just totally depressed the entire game, I would like her to still maintain the same type of personality she had in the first game. What I always liked about Ellie, is her positive upbeat attitude.
Ellie's fun and energetic personality, to me was not only entertaining, but added contrast to an otherwise depressing game.
The last thing I would want, is for Ellie to become really bruiting and dark.
The Last Of Us 2 should make Ellie as much of a likable character as they can. Ellie is, and should be a person whom gamers don't want to see bad things happen to, so that when bad things inevitably do happen to her, it's hits the gamer that much harder.
But if Ellie's voice actress, Ashley Johnson, decides to play Ellie again, I don't think that would be a problem.
I also feel like Joel's story is coming to a close, unless you make a prequel about him, which would not be a bad idea either. So it is very likely he could die in the next Last Of Us game, but I really hope they don't just give him an off screen death, or even worse, make him the bad guy, so you would have to kill him yourself. If they killed off Joel, he should die to protect Ellie, and they should show his death.
This would be a very emotional scene, that would mimic the scene in the first Last Of Us when Joel's daughter dies. Having Joel die to protect Ellie, and to die with Ellie by his side, mourning over the loss of the man she had come to view as a father,
would be a much better way to end his story, and would fit the story of The Last Of Us, much better than "Oh no, he's the bad guy now, let's get him".
Also once Joel and Ellie die, or their story ends, that should be the end of The Last Of Us, as it is a story about them and not the world.
If you liked this, and want to see more on the incredible game The Last Of Us, and it's potential sequels, I have plenty more were this came from.
And if you thought this article was too depressing for you, hear's a funny (Totally unrelated) YouTube video to cheer you up.