No one could look at Pedro Pascal with a straight face and say he’s not a busy guy. The actor has spent quite a bit of time in the past year filming in Alberta, Canada for HBO’s upcoming video game adaptation The Last of Us, which followed the Croatia-set production for The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, in which he gleefully co-starred with Nicolas Cage. And that’s on top of his signature Star Wars work for Disney+’s The Mandalorian. While his bounty hunter streaming series and his survival horror cable series may not have much in common from a certain outlook, Pascal has pointed out one similarity they share that is far more important than any genre or universe connections.
It’s still not clear when HBO and HBO Max subscribers will have a chance to get their eyes on The Last of Us, which hasn’t yet revealed any clue of a release date, but the hype train will certainly start rolling more quickly in the coming months. Pedro Pascal certainly hopes it’ll be worth the hype, and he spoke to why that’ll likely be so, thanks to its creative team’s similar approach to The Mandalorian’s squad. Here’s how he put it to GQ when asked how closely the TV series’ scripts stuck to the beloved video game’s storyline:
The Last of Us and The Mandalorian may not be compatible by way of both featuring Timothy Olyphant playing a badass named Cobb Vanth — which I think we can all agree is a loss for the HBO show — but they share a similar vibe in the way their showrunners and writers approach the material as fans first, rather than as unattached employees trying to make the bottom line. That concept, almost more than any other, is vital for projects to reach optimum quality.
Remember the time, before The Mandalorian came out, when fans were skeptical about how good it could possibly be, given the less-than-ideal reactions earned by the third film trilogy? Those days are long gone, and feel even further away than they are, thanks to the routinely stellar work on display throughout The Mandalorian’s first two seasons. Which isn’t to say that it’s perfect and hasn’t ever sparked ire amongst viewers, because that would be abject lunacy. But the point is, its success bled through the time and energy that was spent with the pure and authentic goal of making a Star Wars TV show that Star Wars fans would love. (The same can be said for Star Wars: Visions, though probably not for Book of Boba Fett.)
Now, adapting a widely acclaimed video game is a fully different challenge than crafting a new character’s story whole cloth, so The Last of Us’ Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann obviously had a variety of different challenges to take on, knowing that they couldn’t just exhaustively retell Joel and Ellie’s story from end to end. But they know what makes TLOU great, and they know what elements sparked the most reactions and joy from the fanbase, so they hopefully were able to still bring that approach to the adaptation at large, while making it look just as gorgeous as the game.
Sure, some people are still going to complain about any and all differences, but the more reasonable sectors of the population should be able to appreciate the creative touches in the same way Star Wars fans have enjoyed a lot of the details involved in Pedro Pascal’s adventures as Mando. Though I will say this: if The Last of Us introduces a Baby Yoda version of Tess or something, it’s probably not going to go over as well.
Stay tuned for more details about The Last of Us and its impending first season on HBO, and if you see any of those Fireflies folks around, try and see if they know when the first trailer is coming, will ya?