The Mandalorian and Wonder Woman 1984 actor Pedro Pascal will play the leading male role in HBO's television adaptation of the hit PlayStation video game series, The Last Of Us.
Variety has confirmed that the A-list actor, who is best known for his roles in films such as Triple Frontier and in other TV series such as Game of Thrones and Narcos, will play Joel Miller in the upcoming TV series.
He will be joined by another Game of Thrones actor, 17-year-old Bella Ramsey, who will play the character of Ellie, a girl in her early teens whom Joel is tasked with protecting.
Neil Druckmann, a writer and creative director for video game and a co-creator of the series, confirmed the news of Pascal's casting via Twitter: 'Aaaaand there’s the other half. Stoked to have Pedro aboard our show!'
Aaaaand there’s the other half. Stoked to have Pedro aboard our show! https://t.co/Etsjvfb2Wi— Dr. Uckmann (@Neil_Druckmann) February 11, 2021
The game series is set in a post-apocalyptic America in 2033, where the continent has been ravaged by a devastating disease (based on a real-life fungus that affects ants) that turns people it infects into vicious, zombie-like creatures called 'Clickers'.
The first game, released in 2013, follows Joel, an emotionally closed-off smuggler who is tasked with escorting Ellie, a girl who is immune to the deadly fungus across America in the hopes of creating and distributing a vaccine.
Over the course of the game, Joel defends Ellie from Clickers and murderous bandits alike, and begins to bond with her, as she reminds him of his deceased daughter, who was killed by a soldier at the start of the outbreak.
However, when it is revealed that Ellie will die in the process, Joel goes rogue, murders the hospital staff that try to operate on Ellie, and leaves with her.
The first game won many awards and was critically acclaimed when it was released, especially for its emotional narrative, gameplay, visuals, sound design, voice acting and depiction of female characters.
Many are also impressed by the game's dark theme from the developer, Naughty Dog, who previously made the original child-friendly Crash Bandicoot games and the Indiana Jones-inspired adventure series Uncharted.
2020's The Last of Us Part II, which picks up five years later, sees Ellie, now a young adult, falling out with Joel when she finds out that he lied about the vaccine attempts involving her, telling her they had been unsuccessful.
Part II also sees Ellie embrace her sexuality as she enters into a loving same-sex relationship with a young woman named Dina.
Prior to its release, Part II caused outrage among some fans due to the fact that it killed off a fan-favourite character early on in the game, as well as the fact that it contained a second player character named Abbie, who was not featured in the promotional material for the game.
This echoes a similar infamous backlash with the 2001 game Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, where fans thought they would take control of the lead character Solid Snake, only to be bait-and-switched with a new character named Raiden around two hours into the game's story.
The inclusion of a transgender child character and Abbie's muscular physique were also mocked by some on Twitter, and Druckmann revealed that some irate fans even sent him and other members of the game's staff and cast death threats as a result of the game's content.
Despite the game's divisive story, its tense, realistic gameplay and riveting voice acting and motion captures were highly praised.
Like its predecessor, it has sold extremely well and currently holds the record for most Game of the Year awards.
Thanks to The Mandalorian, it seems that Pedro Pascal has now found a naturally-suited role as a tough babysitter with a gun!