Pedro Pascal Was Worried About Disappointing Fans Of The Last Of Us

Fandoms can be intense, and there are perhaps no fandoms more intense than those revolving around video games. Gamers are passionate people and their favorite titles mean a lot to them, so they can be pretty protective over the characters within. It's no surprise then that Pedro Pascal was nervous about taking on the role of Joel in the HBO series "The Last of Us," based on the hit video game series. 

During a recent actors roundtable with The Hollywood Reporter, "The Mandalorian" and "Game of Thrones" star shared his hesitation about taking on such a beloved character from such a major game franchise, revealing that he was truly terrified of disappointing fans. "I was scared. I was so scared," Pascal admitted. He had to try and reassure himself that in the grand scheme of things it didn't really matter (and it doesn't in the overall history of the planet, really), but knew that it was deeply important to fans and he didn't want to let them down. 

Pascal has been a part of several major franchises, playing Din Djarin in "The Mandalorian" and "The Book of Boba Fett" and Oberyn Martell in "Game of Thrones," so being a part of a beloved pre-existing franchise should be old hat for the actor. Then again, those video game fans are something else. 

Doing right by the fans

At the roundtable, Pascal was joined by actors Evan Peters, Jeff Bridges, Kieran Culkin, Damson Idris, and Michael Imperioli, and they had a wide-ranging discussion about their careers and current projects. While reflecting on the huge projects he's been a part of, Pascal mentioned that he likes taking big risks with big stories, and Culkin wanted to know if it was scary to take on the role of Joel in "The Last of Us." Pascal responded:

"Totally scary. And it's that funny thing of compartmentalizing your feelings about stuff and dealing with the amount of pressure on you. I have this psychological game where I'm like, 'It's no big deal, nobody cares, nobody gives a s***.' [...] But this time around, I was scared. I was so scared. Because there was more of an exposed silhouette, a silhouette of coolness maybe, and an expectation to be met as far as what people's immersive experience of the story was. And to disappoint them in that regard felt like it would be ... I don't know. You don't want to let people down, but also nobody's impervious to disappointing people. I want people to like me."

Pascal does have a point; his other major characters didn't have quite the build-up ahead of time. Sure, fans of George R. R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" books were excited about Oberyn, and "Star Wars" fans were excited to see a new Mandalorian, but they weren't hugely popular lead characters from a massively successful video game. This was a whole new level of fandom for Pascal to contend with, and he wanted to do it right. 

A dedicated performer

Pascal really shouldn't have worried too much, because "The Last of Us" took good care of fans of the video games and delivered a beautiful adaptation that truly brought the games to life in a new way. (You can read our review here!) In fact, the series did well enough that HBO greenlit a second season, though it won't be headed our way until at least 2025

In the meantime, Pascal is staying plenty busy. The actor has been linked to Ridley Scott's upcoming "Gladiator" sequel and is set to star in "Barbarian" director Zach Cregger's latest, "Weapons." He's also still voicing Din Djarin on "The Mandalorian," so we'll be hearing him on TV as long as Lucasfilm keeps that series going. Pascal's dedication to the fans of properties he gets attached to makes him a fan favorite himself, helping franchise fans everywhere feel a bit relieved when he gets cast in an important role. Is it wrong I want to see him play Bigby Wolf? A person can dream. Until we get a live-action "Fables" that's not just "Once Upon a Time," I'll have to be content with Joel.

"The Last of Us" is available to stream on HBO and Max.