Earlier today, we learned that HBO had cast Bella Ramsey to play Ellie in Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann’s adaptation of the hit PlayStation video game The Last of Us. It looks like the showrunners are moving quickly because Deadline now reports that they’ve cast Pedro Pascal in the role of Joel.
For those unfamiliar with the game, the story takes place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland where Joel, a smuggler, is tasked with getting the 14-year-old Ellie out of the quarantine zone while avoiding dangerous humans and cannibalistic monsters. It’s the kind of bleak setting that shouldn’t be a problem for Mazin, who previously created Chernobyl, or for Druckmann, who handled the story for the video game.
While casting an up-and-comer like Ramsey for Ellie makes a lot of sense, I’m also not surprised they cast a hot talent like Pascal who will bring in fans from his work on Game of Thrones, Narcos, and The Mandalorian. According to Deadline, Pascal recently became available for a new series and received “multiple big offers from top premium networks and streamers,” but The Last of Us won out.
The big question now is how this will affect The Mandalorian. On the one hand, that’s not really a show that needs Pascal on set since the character rarely removes his helmet, so it’s really more of a voice acting performance with stunt doubles Brendan Wayne and Lateef Crowder handling the on-set work. On the other hand, if Season 3 of The Mandalorian decides that it’s time for Din Djarin to start wearing his helmet a little less, that could create a scheduling conflict with The Last of Us, which has first position on Pascal’s schedule.
But for now, The Last of Us has lined up two terrific actors into its leading role and provided a potent reminder that I should probably get around to playing a game that’s been out since 2013.