The Last of Us is a wildly popular video game now being adapted into a TV series on HBO. Pedro Pascal has the honor of playing Joel, but many have pointed out that Joel’s journey mirrors the story of Pascal’s character in The Mandalorian. These similarities made Pascal take pause, but he ultimately decided to take the role.
Joel in ‘The Last of Us’ and Din Djarin in ‘The Mandalorian’ share many traits
The Last of Us is an upcoming HBO series based on the 2013 game by Naughty Dog. The game is set in a world that has been ravaged by a zombie apocalypse. Joel is a scarred survivor on a mission to get a young girl named Ellie to a far location. The two learn to protect and trust each other in a hostile environment filled with zombies and other dangerous groups of survivors.
While The Last of Us is much more violent and mature than The Mandalorian, there are similarities between Joel and Din Djarin. Din and Joel are both stoic, silent figures who initially wanted to remain isolated. Then, they both are given missions involving children and escorting that child to a distant location. Through this mission, both characters come out of their shells and learn how to be more trusting of others.
Pedro Pascal is aware of the similarities between ‘The Mandalorian’ and ‘The Last of Us’
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Pascal addressed the similarities between his two popular characters. The Chilean-American actor says that while he was aware of the comparisons between the two, he noticed that this type of character could also be seen in other movies and shows. Pedro Pascal is actually intrigued by the “close proximity” between his characters in The Mandalorian and The Last of Us.
“It definitely came to mind,” Pascal shares. “As I [got familiar with the game], I noticed there are so many things I’ve seen that visually or thematically reference The Last of Us. Like Logan. And yes, the trope has been used in so many different ways — you can go back to Lone Wolf and Cub, you can go to Paper Moon. But as far as Mandalorian and The Last of Us existing in close proximity, for me, it’s the best double-dipping I could possibly imagine.”
The co-creator, Craig Mazin, shares that they took these similarities into consideration when casting him. However, he decided that the two were different enough for this to work. Plus, Pascal was one of his top picks for Joel.
“We talked about the fact that he was in The Mandalorian,” Mazin says. “And you can do the math like: Mandalorian = Joel; Baby Yoda = … but then you realize, actually, no. It’s not the same. The Mandalorian is interacting with a mute, adorable creature — and I love that show. But interacting with a teenager is complicated. Also, the fact they have him covered in a helmet is a huge factor.”
Pascal has learned to appreciate the thread between his characters
While many actors worry about being typecast, Pedro Pascal says he doesn’t mind playing more father figures, similar to The Last of Us and The Mandalorian. The actor doesn’t have kids, and he said it’s taught him to appreciate the level of protection that parents feel for their children.
“There is something interesting there,” Pascal explains. “You start to recognize a thread between your characters that you didn’t necessarily look for, but got cast in. I don’t have kids. I’ve only learned through these characters how painfully vulnerable one becomes and how much your life depends on their life being OK. It’s a fun fantasy to fulfill, and I’ll play as many dads as I can get.”