In a recent interview, Pedro Pascal commented on his upcoming The Last of Us television series and compared it to The Mandalorian, which, for most familiar with the original video games, is great news. In recent years, television adaptations of beloved video game franchises have occasionally received negative backlash. As The Last of Us is already such an acclaimed standalone video game franchise with a lot of expectation riding on it, it’s a relief to hear Pascal compare it to an already beloved series like The Mandalorian.
The Last of Us, based on the 2013 video game of the same name, follows the story of Joel (Troy Baker in the games, Pascal in the series) as he’s tasked with smuggling a young teenage girl named Ellie across the United States, ravaged by a post-apocalyptic infectious outbreak. Naturally, The Last of Us’s characters deal with a lot of heavy subject matter throughout the game’s story. Prior to the announcement of the series adaptation (created by Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin), The Last of Us game had already received commercial and critical acclaim for its groundbreaking storytelling and dramatic, stylized aesthetics.
Between the tone The Last of Us strikes and the weightiness of its overarching storyline, it’s great to hear Pascal compare the Last of Us series to an already well-written series like The Mandalorian, and go on to say that Mazin and Druckmann are putting just as much care into Last of Us as Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni put into The Mandalorian. In his interview, Pascal described creators Mazin and Druckmann as the arbiters of a very faithful Last of Us adaptation, all the while expanding and changing The Last of Us’s world. This is very similar to Favreau and Filoni’s approach in Mandalorian, at least according to Pascal, given that The Mandalorian also stays largely true to the greater canon of the Star Wars universe, while further fleshing out the world at large.
Some recent video game franchises like Uncharted took larger, unpopular swings with their characters and world. Conversely, it seems like per Pascal’s comparison, The Last of Us wants to remain true to its source material, all the while providing something for old and new fans alike. In many ways, this is similar to The Mandalorian, which has appeal for the longtime Star Wars faithful and first-time viewers, since it takes place in the larger Star Wars universe and timeline, but focuses on new characters.
This is why Pascal’s comparison between The Last of Us and The Mandalorian is such great news. If The Last of Us team is approaching their material as a bridge between old and new audiences, and achieving this goal in a similar fashion to The Mandalorian, The Last of Us will undoubtedly hold true to the themes of the original games. At the same time, it will likely expand upon them as well. In an increasingly over-saturated marketplace for video game adaptations, this is a welcome relief.
Video game adaptations are always a tricky business, in both film and television. Creators naturally want to make sure there are surprises for the old fanbase, but have to avoid drawing occasionally unwarranted canon criticisms (like the Halo series). However, thanks to Pedro Pascal’s comparison to The Mandalorian, hopefully, longtime players of The Last of Us can rest easy knowing the upcoming adaptation will likely be one worth watching.