Pedro Pascal “Replaced” in ‘The Last of Us’, New Casting Garners Massive Fame

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Pedro Pascal as Joel in The Last of Us

Credit: Max

If you are a fan of Pedro Pascal, be ready because another actor is getting ready to steal his leading light in The Last of Us, and at the moment, the new casting news has grown to be so overwhelming that Pascal has been essentially replaced as the titular character in the show.

Pedro Pascal Mandalorian red carpet
Credit: Lucasfilm

The television series The Last of Us, created by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann for HBO, unfolds in an American post-apocalyptic setting. Adapted from the highly acclaimed 2013 video game by Naughty Dog, the narrative is set two decades into a devastating pandemic caused by a widespread fungal infection. This infection transforms its hosts into zombie-like entities, leading to the collapse of society.

The storyline revolves around Joel (Pedro Pascal), a skilled smuggler entrusted with the task of escorting Ellie (Bella Ramsey), a teenager immune to the infection, across the post-apocalyptic landscape of the United States.

Critics lauded the show, praising the performances, writing, production design, and score, with some declaring it the best video game adaptation to date. The series garnered numerous award nominations, including 24 Primetime Emmy Awards.

Notably, the premiere achieved record-breaking viewership, attracting 4.7 million viewers on the first day—HBO’s second-highest since 2010—and nearly 40 million within two months.

By May, the series maintained an impressive average of almost 32 million viewers per episode.

The Last of Us's Ellie with a shotgun
Credit: Sony Pictures

The show gained so much popularity that even Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood created a Halloween Horror Nights house based on the storyline. While the house primailily followed the PlayStation game’s story, we were able to see the same characters, and clickers that were in the show.

Pedro Pascal, of course, is a prolific actor, known for more than The Last of Us. Pascal gained widespread recognition for his role as Oberyn Martell in the fourth season of the critically acclaimed series Game of Thrones. Pascal also played a significant role in the Netflix series Narcos, where he portrayed DEA agent Javier Peña.

In The Mandalorian, Pedro Pascal plays the lead character, Din Djarin, commonly known as “The Mandalorian” or “Mando.”

Din is a skilled and enigmatic bounty hunter operating in the outer reaches of the galaxy. Pascal’s portrayal brings a combination of stoicism, vulnerability, and determination to the character, making him a compelling and multidimensional protagonist. Many fell for the silent hero right away, especially as his father-figure personality began to develop once he took a liking to Grogu (Baby Yoda).

Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu in 'The Mandalorian' S3
Credit: Lucasfilm

At the conclusion of its first season, The Mandalorian garnered a total of 5.3 billion minutes of viewership, a figure that was surpassed by the second season, which recorded an impressive 8.3 billion minutes. The show is not only the most-watched Star Wars series, beating competitors like Obi-Wan Kenobi and Book of Boba Fett, but also, the most-watched Disney+ series of all time.

The Wonder Woman 1984 villain is no stranger to creating epic series that have record-breaking numbers, so it was no shock to hear The Last of Us was renewed for a second season. Luckily, PlayStation made a The Last of Us Part II game, so the storyline has already been hinted at.

EW wrote, “For example, it’s safe to say that Joel’s decision at the end of The Last of Us season one will have a direct impact on the events of season 2. There’s also a time jump in between the games. Four years after the events in the Fireflies hospital, Joel and Ellie are living a comfortable life in the Jackson, Wyo. commune run by Maria.”

Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) in HBO's 'The Last Of Us'
Credit: HBO

The publication continued, “Because the character’s name has already been referenced by The Last of Us showrunner and game co-creator Neil Druckmann, we can say that a new figure, Abby, has a crucial part to play in the events to come”.

The Last of Us Wiki describes Abby as, “Abigail “Abby” Anderson is the playable dual protagonist of The Last of Us Part II. A member of the Fireflies broken by tragedy when Joel Miller killed her father Jerry Anderson, Abby made it her mission to avenge Jerry’s demise. However, it is only after her vengeance that she embarks on a journey with companion Lev and rediscovers purpose in her life.”

Since Abby is another playable character, she can essentially replace Joel for the gamer, and now that her reported casting has come out, the media frenzy has nearly replaced the popularity that Pedro has held over the franchise.

The InSneider wrote, “Back in August, The Last of Us showrunner Craig Mazin told the L.A. Times that he had found an actress to play Abby Anderson in Season 2. To that end, I hear that Kaitlyn Dever is in talks to tackle the role.

Ellie and Joel at the entrance of the Last of Us house at Halloween Horror Nights
Credit: Universal Studios

Should a deal be made, Dever would join Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey in Season 2, which is expected to premiere on HBO in 2025. In the game, Abby is positioned as a rival to Ramsey’s Ellie — a role that Dever herself was once eyed for, having done a table read as that character”.

Nearly every media outlet is now reporting on this casting hint, and fans are posting responses that show their excitement matching that of Pedro’s casting announcement.

Cinemablend even titled an article, “The Last Of Us Casting Rumors For Season 2 Villain Abby Have Me As Excited As I Was For Pedro Pascal And Bella Ramsey”.

Kaitlyn Dever in Booksmart
Credit: Netflix

The publication indicated she would be perfect, “First off, it’s a matter of talent, with Dever serving up winning performances in everything she signs on for, from Justified to Book Smart to The Front Runner and everything in between. Plus, she’s certainly capable of delivering grounded and emotional performances in projects that tap into dark, disturbing, and poignant subject matter.”

While the casting is not confirmed, it appears that the overwhelming support and positive reception to the reports will likely have the series confirming Dever as Abby shortly.

Were you a fan of The Last of Us? Will you be watching season two?

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