Pedro Pascal Cast as Joel in HBO’s The Last of Us (and 5 Actors Who Just Missed Out)

Pedro Pascal Cast as Joel in HBO’s The Last of Us (and 5 Actors Who Just Missed Out)

It’s official. TV’s man of the moment, Pedro Pascal the streaming superstar himself will play Joel in the upcoming HBO series. This was exclusively revealed last night by Deadline. Pascal will star alongside previous Game of Thrones co-actor Bella Ramsey. She will play Elle in the upcoming adaptation of Naughty Dog’s critically acclaimed series The Last of Us. It also sees the fantastically brutal Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin lead production. He’s teaming up with Neil Drukman, whipping anticipation for HBOs next stellar series reaches fever pitch.

The show is looking to reenact the story from the first game (good news for Pascals screen time). Joel is hired to transport Elle out of a military controlled outpost. He must deliver her halfway across the now post-apocalyptic expanse of North America. Together they will battle demons both past and present. This, we hope could be a watershed moment for game to tv adaptations.

Joel’s character in game is brooding, stubborn and concerned. So that’s three ticks for Mando, and we couldn’t be happier with HBO’s final choice. But what other actors were pitched for the post before the casting crew looked to the stars? Below we list 5 of the also rans who almost made the role (but not quite).

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Another GoT superstar, Nikolaj Coster-Wal is most famous for his role playing equal parts loved and despised Jamie Lannister throughout the full 6 seasons (was there a 7th? We forget). The role of Jamie is one of the more complex characters in the series. He’s continually switching allegiances, and with it his fan adoration throughout the show’s running. He is both fearless and arrogant, whilst simultaneously tormented. This demonstrates the ability to handle the emotional complexity of Joel from TLoU.

Hugh Jackman

At this point it doesn’t really feel necessary to list out Jackman’s achievements in film. Let’s face it, if you’re reading an article on a gaming site there’s a fair to middling chance you’re more than a little familiar with his work.

But it’s for his role in Logan that put him among the top contenders for the position in TLoU. Logan is, without a doubt one of the most mature, emotionally brutal films to have come out of Marvel, period. In particular, his initial indifference to Laura. This is dissolved by love and growing adoration throughout the film. Inevitably, it has him pay the ultimate sacrifice at the end of the film. There are obvious parallels to be drawn between Joel and Elle’s relationship, and whilst he didn’t make the cut, this would have been an excellent, if expensive choice for the series.

Viggo Mortensen

Whilst the only thing The Last of Us and The Lord of the Rings have in common is the starting determinator, similarities between it and The Road are seemingly endless. Mortensen plays the loving father in this brutal, unforgiving yet excellent film, navigating the deadly and treacherous road on a path of salvation he all but accepts isn’t coming. It is an uncompromising film, a decent into yet further despair and ends appropriately. Just like TLoU, there are no punches pulled, and Mortensen’s potential casting as Joel would have no doubt given the series an edge of abject vulnerability. Perhaps too much, it would seem.

Adam Driver

Another Star Wars contender, fans seem to agree Adam was at least one good thing to come out of the last three Skywalker films. Driver’s character in the trilogy demonstrates an emotional spectrum beyond anything else in any of those films, weaving between hero and villain seamlessly, toying with our need to hate him, and our want to love him in equal parts.

Unfortunately however its seems that Adam was unable to take the part of Joel though back injuries sustained in holding up the Star Wars franchise. We’ll, at least shouldering the burden with Pascal, that is.

Josh Brolin

Perhaps not the top pick of the also-rans, but still would have made an interesting choice for Joel. Brolin has shown an incredible versatility of acting capability in both mega-blockbusting Avenger films, and the more introspective No Country for Old Men and True Grit. It wouldn;’t have been a bad choice, but Thanos as Joel would have had us waiting for the moment a co-star mistakenly shoots a clicker in the chest, hoping beyond hope for Brolin to come out with “You should have gone for the head”. His choice was far from inevitable.

So there you have it, the time for speculation is over. Mando is our man. And whilst there is no lacking of talent from the runners up, we over the 7 moons of Tatooine that Pascal got the part. But what do you think, was Pascal’s brooding mandalorian the right choice, or do you think there was a better option lurking in the shadows? Let us know in the comments below.

The Last of Us was announced by HBO on March 6, 2020. Whilst there is no firm release date yet, we would expect the first show to air later this year, or early 2022.

Source; Deadline