Despite not being a huge celebrity, 2023 has been quite kind to Pedro Pascal. He has gone from a minor role in Buffy the Vampire Slayer to the lead role in two of the most talked-about shows on television right now: The Mandalorian and The Last of Us. With a career spanning over two decades, Pedro Pascal has been in some of the most memorable fantasy, reality, and meta-comedy movies and TV shows of the last few years.
The Great Wall (2016)
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It’s time for the truth to be known: The Great Wall is a terrible film. Matt Damon faces up against monsters in ancient China, and the film’s casting has drawn charges of whitewashing and white saviorism because of its mostly white cast. (In a statement issued at the time, Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou denied both). The relationship between the lead character William (Damon) and his traveling companion Pero (Pascal) is the saving grace of The Great Wall, making it worth seeing despite its controversial nature and far-fetched concept.
As the only two surviving members of a European expedition to discover the secret to gunpowder, these two have a very special relationship, not unlike that of a buddy cop duo. The Nameless Order, a Chinese alien defense organization, is holding them hostage and won’t release them until they assist in eradicating the monsters that attack China every 60 years. You’re not here for a fantastic movie, but rather for a good time, so don’t expect the Great Wall to blow your mind.
The Equalizer 2 (2018)
Equalizer films are comparable to what would occur if Liam Neeson in Taken accepted independent clients. Denzel Washington reprises his role as former CIA assassin Robert McCall, whose casual acquaintance with a young sex worker in the previous film sparked a conflict with the Russian mob. With Susan Plummer (Melissa Leo), a former colleague from his time at the Defense Intelligence Agency, McCall uses his special set of skills to aid others in The Equalizer 2. The Equalizer II is an action film starring Pascal as McCall’s ex-partner Dave York, as well as Ashton Sanders and Bill Pullman, and has at least one harpoon-related fatality.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)
The 2014 action movie comedy Kingsman: The Secret Service is “a muscle-flexing spectacle of cartoon violence and cheeky attitude.” Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017), the film’s sequel, has far less going for it than the first, although it does star Pedro Pascal as a figure dubbed Agent Whiskey.
Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton) is sent to the United States to reunite with the Kingsman’s American counterpart after a catastrophic event destroys the organization’s headquarters and kills most of its operatives. There he meets up with a cast that includes Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Halle Berry, Mark Strong, Channing Tatum, and Jeff Bridges, some of whom he has known for a long time and others for the first time. Kingsman: The Golden Circle isn’t Pascal’s finest hour as an actor, but as far as character names go, Agent Whiskey can hold his own.
Apparently, there’s something about Pedro Pascal that screams “law enforcement,” since just before his DEA role in Netflix’s Narcos, he appeared in nine episodes of the USA Network drama Graceland. After completing his training at Quantico, rookie agent Mike Warren (Aaron Tveit) is sent to Graceland, a seized Southern California beach mansion that houses covert personnel from across federal law enforcement organizations, to be mentored by a former FBI legend, Paul Briggs (Daniel Sunjata).
In the second episode, Pascal is introduced as Warren’s case officer, Agent Juan Badillo. Graceland is a bright, summery show that leans more toward Baywatch than The Wire due to its frequent use of beach settings and more handsome police officers than reality would imply. All three seasons are now accessible for on-demand viewing.
Triple Frontier (2019)
Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, and Pedro Pascal, who portrays a pilot given the codename “Catfish,” are just a few of the well-known actors that Chandor enlisted to play the members of his military squad. It’s a classic case of men sticking together for the sake of monetary gain. “There may be no honor among thieves, but Triple Frontier certainly makes watching them pretty entertaining.”
This robbery film continues the tradition of the best Pedro Pascal movies and TV shows, which frequently feature intense confrontations with dangerous cartel members. J.C. Chandor’s action-adventure movie Triple Frontier is about a group of ex-special ops soldiers who, feeling underpaid for their years of service, decide to rob a drug lord in order to finally get what they think is rightfully theirs.
Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)
Patty Jenkins’s Wonder Woman was a smash hit when it was published in the summer of 2017, but its ambitious sequel, Wonder Woman 1984, which came out during the first Christmas of the COVID-19 pandemic, fell short. A new group of villains, including Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig) and Max Lord (Pedro Pascal), whose apparently simple goals send the globe on a collision course toward disaster, are introduced in the film, which takes place at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.
The over two-hour-long 1984 drags on, but Pascal is fantastic as a local TV salesperson whose infomercials promise viewers “everything you’ve always wanted.” In the words of EW’s reviewer, he is “a boxy-suited Ponzi-schemer slicker than the product he peddles.”
The Mentalist (2014)
In 2014, Pascal’s career took off because of his recurrent roles on shows including Game of Thrones, Graceland, and The Mentalist. In the latter, psychic Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) teams up with California police detective Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney) to solve murders by penetrating the minds of the perpetrators.
Agent Marcus Pike, played by Pedro Pascal, is introduced in the sixth season of the show’s seven-season run as a romantic counterpoint to help disrupt the will-they-or-won’t-they dynamic between Teresa and Patrick. Fans of The Mentalist should relive the seven episodes that featured Marcus and Teresa’s relationship, and new viewers should watch those episodes as well.
We Can Be Heroes (2020)
By joining Christian Slater and his former co-star on Narcos, Boyd Holbrook, Pascal embraced his villainous nature in 2020, becoming a member of the Heroics, a superhero team modeled after the Avengers that exists in the universe of Sharkboy and Lavagirl. Robert Rodriguez (of Spy Kids fame) wrote and directed the children’s adventure movie We Can Be Heroes, which follows the heroes’ children, each of whom has a distinct superpower. We Can Be Heroes is funny, aesthetically fascinating, and full of uplifting content that is geared at children but is just as valuable for adults. Priyanka Chopra Jonas also stars as the Director of the Heroics.
Being a surrogate parent to abandoned youth and acting while donning headgear are the two areas in which Pedro Pascal excels. Both of these roles are in the 2018 science fiction thriller Prospect. In this film, father-and-daughter combo Damon (Jay Duplass of Transparent) and Cee (Sophie Thatcher of Yellowjackets) have been hired to harvest diamonds from a jungle infested with deadly fungi. A violent encounter with two competing prospectors ruins what should have been a pleasant bonding trip to an extraterrestrial moon. Ezra, played by Pascal, is the talkative one of the pair, and his cockiness and cowboy cadence foreshadow gunfights.
Prospect is a chic, low-budget independent movie that knows how to hire excellent performers and move out of the way of them. It can delight you without the use of elaborate special effects since Ezra’s accent is enough.
The Mandalorian (2019–present)
Only a dedicated actor like Pedro Pascal can convey emotion while wearing a helmet. Pascal plays the title role in Disney+’s first live-action Star Wars TV series, The Mandalorian, in which he plays a bounty hunter who is hired to retrieve an infant named Grogu (a.k.a. “Baby Yoda”) but ultimately abandons his Imperial assignment to protect the child. Pascal spends much of the first season fighting for money while simultaneously fighting his emotions of commitment to this fragile, new dependent, placing him squarely in the middle of the roles of space policeman, mercenary, and hesitant parent.
Only an actor of Pascal’s caliber could avoid constantly being outshone by Grogu, the cutest character in Star Wars history, in The Mandalorian, a space western that explores fatherhood in ways never before seen in the Star Wars canon.
A lot of Pedro Pascal’s best movies and TV shows are set in dream worlds, but Narcos on Netflix is different. Narcos is a criminal drama series about Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura), who became a millionaire because of his skill at distributing cocaine. The movie follows Pedro Pascal’s portrayal of real-life DEA agent Javier Pea and his partner Steve Murphy (Boyd Holbrook) as they work to bring down Pablo Escobar and the Medellin and Cali cartels.
A comprehensive overview of the development and expansion of the cocaine cartels that dominated the 1980s is provided to viewers over the course of the three seasons of the program. Pascal’s acting skills are on full display in Narcos, one of Netflix’s most popular shows, which has a surprising amount of comedy amid the history and brutality.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022)
The lengthy and successful career of Nicolas Cage is well known, yet in this meta-action comedy, Cage takes on his most challenging role to date: himself. Cage portrays a struggling Nicolas Cage in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, who accepts a $1 million invitation to be the guest of honor at the birthday party of millionaire Javi Gutierrez (Pascal).
The two become fast friends after working together, but Cage offers to help the FBI investigate whether or not his new buddy is really an arms dealer who abducted a politician’s daughter. As a devoted Nicolas Cage fan, Pascal is absolutely lovable. If played by anybody else, Javi’s commitment to Cage and his profession might come across as weird, but Pedro gives the part just enough edge to make us worry for Cage’s safety.
Unbearable Weight is a bizarre comedy that is equal parts amusing and lovely, and it stars Tiffany Haddish, Ike Barinholtz, and Neil Patrick Harris, but it is Pascal’s performance that has everyone questioning whether or not Javi is as talented an actor as his idol.
Game of Thrones (2014)
HBO is the undisputed king of Sunday night television. Game of Thrones is a perfect illustration of this phenomenon; it has captivated audiences ever since its April 2011 launch. It seemed predictable that Pedro Pascal’s career would take off after his appearance as Oberyn Martell in Season 4. In his seven-episode storyline, the “Red Viper” of Dorne uses quips like “When it comes to war, I fight for Dorne.” to win over the ladies of King’s Landing as he attends King Joffrey’s wedding. When it comes to romantic relationships, I take no sides.
Oberyn’s exit from the series remains one of the show’s most visceral scenes, with him boasting a strong hate for the Lannisters and managing to piss off or poison practically everyone he comes into touch with. Pascal is dynamic throughout his short time in office, conveying the desires of a man who swings between control and impulsivity, charm and battle. Season 4 of Game of Thrones is widely regarded as one of the show’s greatest, and much of the credit for this lies with Oberyn’s plot and Pascal’s portrayal.
The Good Wife (2009-2011)
Pedro Pascal’s recent work has been a study of physical, fanciful ventures that have required him to keep his voice down and his shot on target. The Good Wife, a talky legal and political drama on CBS, was his first large recurrent television role. Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), the wife of the Cook County State’s Attorney (Chris Noth), returns to work as a lawyer in the series, which is set in Chicago. Her husband was just arrested for a public political sex scandal.
Pascal appears in six episodes over the first two seasons of the highly acclaimed serialized program as Nathan Landry, an associate state attorney responsible for Florrick’s husband’s incarceration. Some of the greatest network television of the early 2000s can be found in The Good Wife, which also stars Josh Charles and Christine Baranski. Pascal approves as well, saying he continued to watch after his character’s story was over.
The Last of Us (2023–present)
If you ever find yourself in a post-apocalyptic world filled with the undead, cannibalistic people affected by a mutant fungus, Pedro Pascal’s character in The Last of Us is the best person to have on your side. Pascal portrays Joel, a smuggler and survivor whose life is upended when he offers to carry a youngster (Bella Ramsey, also of Game of Thrones fame) who is said to be resistant to the virus across the nation to find a cure, based on the popular PlayStation video game series.
The Last of Us is a great example of Pascal’s signature grizzled wit and sense of impending doom. Craig Mazin (Chernobyl) and Neil Druckmann (the game’s co-creator) wrote it. TV writer David Edelstein of Entertainment Weekly says of him, “He brings a lightness to gory trauma, aging himself with unkempt gray fuzz, mumbling an ah-reckon Texas twang.” He seems genuinely saddened at the prospect of murdering you.