Pedro Pascal's career evolution: Buffy the Vampire Slayer to The Last of Us

The actor, then known as Pedro Balmaceda, made early appearances with minor roles on US teen and crime TV

Pedro Pascal in The Mandalorian, Narcos and The Last of Us. Photo: Disney+; Netflix; HBO
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Pedro Pascal’s stock in Hollywood has been rising in the past 10 years.

Since appearing in Game of Thrones as Oberyn Martell in 2014, then in Netflix’s Narcos, Pascal has steadily become a staple of film and television.

And while we now know him for his roles as The Mandalorian in the Star Wars show of the same name, Pascal has been appearing in films and television shows for the past 25 years, albeit in small roles.

Here, we chart Pascal’s rise to fame, from his earliest credits to his latest roles and future projects.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1999)

Appearing in small roles before 1999, Pascal, then listed as Pedro Balmaceda,landed his first major US television role on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, one of the most popular shows on television in the late 90s and early 2000s.

Aged 24, Pascal appeared in the first episode of series four, titled The Freshman. His character Eddie, one of Buffy's fellow college freshman students, is quickly killed off by the titular vampire slayer after he is turned into a vampire.

In February, Buffy star Sarah Michelle Gellar shared a still of the two from the show on Instagram, captioning the photo, “When #Mother met #Father”.

NYPD Blue and Law & Order (2000s)

In the 2000s, Pascal appeared in several popular police shows including NYPD Blue in 2001 and Law & Order in 2008 in guest roles. At this time, he was using the name Alexander Pascal.

He was primarily cast as a low-level gangster or a punk criminal who was up to no good, or even a police officer in the department.

The Good Wife (2009)

In a departure from previous roles, in which he featured primarily as a criminal or a police officer, Pascal portrayed a smooth-talking assistant state attorney in political series The Good Wife. He appeared in six episodes over two seasons. The show went on for seven seasons, winning five Primetime Emmy Awards in the process.

Game of Thrones (2014)

In 2014, Pedro Pascal was cast in the biggest show on television at the time, Game of Thrones. Portraying the role of Oberyn Martell, a member of House Martell and the younger brother of Doran Martell, Pascal appeared in eight episodes in the fourth season of the show.

The character proved very popular with fans, but they knew not to get too attached to characters, as few were safe from an untimely end.

In a now-famous duel scene, Pascal’s character's skull was crushed by Gregor Clegane, better known as The Mountain, played by actor Hafthor Bjornsson.

Narcos (2015)

Pascal's first starring role came on Netflix show Narcos, starring alongside Boyd Holbrook and Wagner Moura. He plays a DEA agent stationed in Bogota, Colombia, in the late 1970s, a time when the country faced a major drug trafficking problem.

The show pulled in an average of 3.2 million viewers aged 18 to 49 during a 35-day period, according to a sample captured by now-closed measurement company Symphony Advanced Media. It continued for three seasons with Pascal appearing in every episode.

Film projects including Wonder Woman 1984 (from 2020)

Following the success of Narcos, Pascal appeared in a string of films.

He was cast as Whiskey in Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017) and as an antagonist in Wonder Woman sequel, Wonder Woman 1984 (2020). Pascal also appeared in another Netflix production, Triple Frontier (2019), alongside Ben Affleck and Oscar Isaac, and in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022) opposite Nicolas Cage, who plays a parody of himself named Nick Cage in the comedy.

The Mandalorian (2019)

In 2019, Pascal took on the title role in the Star Wars universe television series, The Mandalorian.

Fans quickly warmed to Pascal’s portrayal of the calm and quiet bounty hunter, who is given the task of caring for a child.

The child in question is Grogu, better known as Baby Yoda, and arguably the star of the show. But Pascal's character, popularly known as Mando, holds his own in major emotional scenes. Despite being behind a mask for much of the show, Pascal provides a performance that shines through the Beskar armour.

Series creator Jon Favreau has confirmed that the fourth season of the The Mandalorian has been written and is waiting to be shot.

The Last of Us (2023)

In Pascal’s most recent starring role he portrays Joel Miller, the protagonist in the series The Last of Us, an adaptation of the game of the same name.

Navigating a world ravaged by a zombie outbreak, Joel is a black market smuggler who is handed a major undertaking, moving a teenager who might prove to be the cure for the infectious outbreak, across the US.

Fans of the game have almost unanimously agreed that Pascal’s Joel is faithful to the character in the game, with layers added to the person and his experience.

Future projects

Pascal's fans can look forward to seeing him in more seasons of The Mandalorian, as well as the much-anticipated second season of The Last of Us.

He is due to appear in Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar’s latest film, Strange Way of Life, alongside Ethan Hawke.

The actor is also expected to appear in the film Tropico, a psychological thriller set in Brazil, alongside Willem Dafoe and Morena Baccarin.

Updated: April 09, 2023, 6:51 AM