Most of the questions surrounding the upcoming HBO series The Last of Usproduced by Carolyn Strauss and writers and co-creators Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin, are about whether it will be a successful live-action video game adaptation. It has been historically difficult for studios to take the most-loved elements of video games, especially the extremely popular ones, and translate them to big or small screens. Undoubtedly, the act of playing a video game and experiencing a story unfold before you are two distinct ones. However, video games tend to blend the two successfully together through cut scenes and other less-interactive elements. Ultimately, that lack of interaction in film and television seems to sink all promising video game film or television adaptations.
Cast Pedro Pascal in that adaptation, however, and it is a totally different story. The moment the casting decisions were announced, with Pedro Pascal as lead protagonist Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ellie, fans of the game and the actor erupted. Pascal has quickly become beloved as everybody's favorite single dad after The Mandalorian. In the Disney+ series, his precious interactions with “Baby Yoda,” AKA Grogu, are fan-favorite moments. As the Mandalorian, his actions were swift in dealing with anyone who threatened his adopted son's safety, and it quickly stole fans' hearts. Din Djarin's holographic message to Moff Gideon, Grogu's kidnaper, was the most boss thing anyone had yet seen in Star Wars, for example.
Joel in The Last of Us game, furthermore, is known for his tear-jerking character arc and quickly endearing attachment to Ellie. Sadly, he also broke a huge community of fans with his tragic end. Will The Last of Us, even if it does not transcend its status as “just another” video game adaptation, further cement Pedro Pascal's type-casting as the dad?
What Can We Expect from Pedro Pascal in The Last of Us?
For those readers who have not played the video game, The Last of Us is about two survivors of a post-apocalyptic scenario who must travel westward and potentially discover a cure for the disease that has killed most of humanity. Joel, Pascal's character, is hardened and disillusioned. In the video game, he is suffering from his daughter's death and wants nothing more than to never have to interact with another human being. Meanwhile, Ellie is young, lonely, and in desperate need of humans to connect with. Ellie's steadfast desire to connect and maintain her humanity, and Joel's almost total loss and rejection of it, will collide on their quest.
Joel's fate in the game is a heartbreaking one, but the series will almost certainly deviate from the source material to stay afloat. Plot details of the show have been very sparingly released, with little other than a first look being released depicting the actors in character in a high-stakes situation.
What can we expect from Pedro Pascal's performance? It is safe to say his signature disarming sweetness and depth will melt all our hearts, particularly in a heartbreaking and treacherous post-apocalyptic world that is too on the forefront of everyone's minds. With his latest hot streak beginning with The Mandalorian and most recently stopping at The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, which featured the beloved actor and the cinematic icon Nicolas Cage bonding over German expressionist cinema and Paddington 2, Pascal is undoubtedly one of the most in-demand actors working and the crowd favorite in the sector of single dad character. His ability to portray a protective, stoically caring quality reels his viewers in.
Pascal never overdoes anything or over-acts, and that makes him all the more irresistible. There are just so many heart-rending things, and as the actor describes, “harrowing” events for the character to go through, and to watch Pascal be the one to don the responsibility might even be too much for some fans.
Will Pedro Pascal Be Typecast Going Forward?
It is extremely unlikely that any project would ever pass up the opportunity to cast Pedro Pascal in absolutely anything he would agree to. He has shown that he is a versatile actor, from HBO's Game of Thrones to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who can play heartthrob, political strategist, and prospector, among other types. Still, barring some grand shift in the way he is currently being cast, the number one choice of character type will probably always be the Din Djarin or the Joel. The unlikely father role with a hardened exterior but nothing but mush on the inside. He is simply too good at it.
While Pascal has proven that he can succeed at just about any role, it will take a significant change to cement his status as securely in another kind of role. Or to detract from the fact that he is everybody's favorite single dad.