From ‘Narcos’ to ‘The Mandalorian’, the 9 Best Pedro Pascal Performances
From taking on the role of DEA agent Javier Peña in hit crime drama series Narcos to playing bounty hunter Din Djarin in the first live-action Star Wars show The Mandalorian, Chilean-American actor Pedro Pascal definitely has had an impressive couple of years, making him one of the most sought-out talents in Hollywood today.
Pascal already has a notable filmography behind him as proof of his solid and remarkable talent, yet the actor is still making huge strides that push his name even further. In 2023, he will be seen as Joel in HBO’s The Last of Us, a post-apocalyptic series based on a 2013 video game of the same name wherein he plays a smuggler who is tasked to escort a teenager named Ellie across the US. He is also set to star alongside David Harbour in an HBO limited series My Dentist’s Murder Trial that is based on true events, with its premiere date yet to be set.
With a couple of projects lined up, let us take a look at some of Pedro Pascal’s essential performances.
Eddie in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1999)
The beloved supernatural show continues to have a cult following for its relatable themes and constant usage of pop references that makes it even more approachable, and it is obvious with the many fan fictions and unofficial productions that have emerged after the show ended. Besides its impact on popular culture, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is also known as a starting point for many aspiring actors, one of which is Pascal himself.
Pascal appeared in the first episode of Season 4 as Eddie, a freshman in the University of California who is able to find his residence with the help of Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar). However, later on, Eddie was attacked by a vampire, turning him into one. When Buffy learns what happened to her new friend, the two gets into a fight and Buffy manages to kill him. Eddie was only featured in one episode, so it’s not surprising if some people overlook Pascal’s role in the vampire show. But Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of his early roles that is considered to be his big break in the industry and despite only being a mere cameo, it’s not long before his acting career starts to rise throughout the years.
Oberyn Martell in Game of Thrones (2014)
HBO’s Game of Thrones is famous for its stunning action sequences, numerous intersecting storylines, and, of course, creative—and often brutal—deaths. The hit fantasy drama boasts a star-studded cast, ranging from the likes of Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Kit Harrington, and more. Having the opportunity to be part of this ensemble is a great deal, and for Pascal, playing the role of Oberyn Martell feels just like that.
It seems that a lot of roles that Pascal takes involve his character dying, one way or another, and this one is no exception. Martell appears in the fourth season, who is out seeking revenge against the Lannisters for their role in the deaths of his loved ones. He is subjected to combat and had the upper hand for the first part, but is sadly overpowered and killed by having his skull crushed. It’s a stunning, gory scene and has since been considered one of the most iconic deaths in the show, thanks to its incredible execution, especially by Pascal. Though it is the end of Martell, he has quickly become a fan favorite and Pascal’s performance is unsurprisingly met with a lot of praise from different critics.
Javier Peña in Narcos (2015-2017)
This American crime drama is based on the real-life events regarding infamous drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, all the while seeing him interact with fellow drug lords and the DEA. Pascal plays Javier Peña, a DEA agent who’s tasked to capture Escobar and, by the third season, the Cali Cartel. Other cast members are Wagner Moura, Boyd Holbrook, and Joanna Christie among others.
Narcos is one of Pascal’s projects wherein he takes on the main role, and his portrayal of Peña proved to be a great feat for the actor’s growing career, his performance rightfully earning much praise from critics, and it is no question why; Pascal carefully carried the show with incredible strength and charisma, effectively capturing the attention of viewers. Playing a character that’s based on a true story can be challenging, but having the actual Javier Peña as a consultant in the show made the storytelling aspect more accurate and clearer, and Pascal definitely did justice to his role.
Ezra in Prospect (2018)
Pascal plays Ezra in this 2018 American sci-fi film directed and written by Zeek Earl and Chris Caldwell. This film follows a father-daughter duo (Jay Duplass and Sophie Tatcher) who are searching for mine gems in an alien moon’s poisonous forest. Upon looking, they encountered Ezra, a rival prospector. When chaos ensued, leading to the father’s death, the daughter—Cee—must team up with Ezra to finish the task.
Despite being an indie film—with a budget of less than $4 million—Prospect managed to impress audiences with its ambitious vision, successfully creating a more grounded approach to life in space. But besides all the practical effects and amount of effort behind the scenes, what elevated the film further are the performances from the main characters. At first Pascal plays a rival, a person determined to get to the gems, clouded with arrogance and greed. However, as he continues his journey with Cee (Sophie Tatcher) his character slowly develops, and audiences can understand more of his motivations or intentions.
Pietro Alvarez in If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)
Moonlight‘s Barry Jenkins directed and wrote the screenplay of the romantic drama film If Beale Street Could Talk which is set in the 1970s. The film follows a young couple Tish (KiKi Layne) and Fonny (Stephan James) who are ready to move forward with their relationship when Fonny gets wrongfully arrested. Now Tish, with her family, tries their best to clear his name, all the while learning that she’s pregnant.
This moving adaptation has been critically acclaimed for its beautiful execution, stunning cinematography, and heartfelt dialogue which resulted in the film being recognized by many awards. Here, Pascal plays Pietro. He’s the one who connects Sharon (Regina King) and Victoria (Emily Rios) to meet up. While not a main role, his performance is still breathtaking and helps in making the story speak louder.
The Mandalorian/Din Djarin in The Mandalorian (2019-Present)
Yet another project of Pascal set in space, but this time, he’s a part of the Star Wars universe. Pascal stars as the titular character, also known as Din Djarin, in this space series created by Jon Favreau that gained lots of fans and positive reviews. The show follows Din Djarin as he travels space as a lone bounty hunter. When he sets off to retrieve Grogu and realizes that he is still young, Din instead takes him along and tries to keep him safe. This results in a chaotic, fun space adventure while Din and Grogu’s relationship slowly start to grow.
Despite his character being largely covered by his helmet in the series as well as little dialogue, Pascal somehow manages to incredibly convey emotion just by his tone which earned him praise from many people. This goes to show why Pascal is the perfect casting for this character who is struggling to open up and seeking validation. To those who can’t get enough of this Star Wars show, The Mandalorian will be back for Season 3 early next year.
Maxwell Lord in Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)
Pascal continues to prove his acting range by playing Maxwell Lord in Wonder Woman 1984—a sequel to the 2017 film. Directed by Patty Jenkins, the film takes place in 1984 where Diana (Gal Gadot) who now works in the Smithsonian Institution. When she comes across the Dreamstone, she wishes to bring back Steve, who is her former lover. However, the stone also got to Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig) and failing businessman Max Lord (Pascal). After learning what the Dreamstone actually is, Diana must make everyone renounce their wish before the world ensues in chaos.
While the sequel isn’t received well by critics and some fans alike, there are those who still praise Pascal for his performance as a greedy yet charismatic villain. Max Lord is known for starring in TV infomercials and for being the founder of Black Gold Cooperative. However, deep down, he is struggling, thus his intentions are clouded. Pascal delivers a solid performance despite the film being criticized, it shows how he is dedicated to his craft.
Javi Gutierrez in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022)
The 2022 action comedy film stars Nicolas Cage as a fictionalized version of himself. Cage is struggling with his career and is thinking about retiring from the industry when he is offered money from his agent, with the intention of going to Majorca and meeting up with billionaire Javi Gutierrez (Pascal) to be a guest at his big birthday party. It turns out that Javi is a huge fan of Cage, and throughout the trip, the two form an odd friendship. However, it’s revealed that the CIA is looking for Javi, who they suspect of kidnap. Cage teams up with the CIA to find out the truth behind Javi.
Pascal plays a Cage super-fan in this critically acclaimed comedy film, and it only proves his versatility. Comedy films aren’t usually something that Pascal takes, but this one is definitely a chaotic, impressive adventure for the actor. Pascal may only be a supporting actor opposite Cage, but the incredible chemistry between the two have made the film more fun to watch.
Dieter Bravo in The Bubble (2022)
Last on the list is Pascal as Dieter Bravo in the Netflix comedy film The Bubble, directed by Judd Apatow. The film features an ensemble cast, namely Karen Gillan, Fred Armisen, Keegan-Michael Key, Leslie Mann, and many others. The Bubble is set amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and revolves around a group of people who are filming a movie for a popular franchise. However, all hell soon breaks loose when each cast member go through their own issues, ultimately creating a tense and wild working environment.
Dieter is an experienced actor who has seen it all. He plays Gio, a villain, in the franchise film and is shown to be professional and serious while working but soon, it is revealed that Dieter has an addiction to sex and drugs. He strikes up a conversation with a hotel clerk named Anika (Maria Bakalova), and they eventually date. Pascal is among the many cast members in the film, and he manages to create a unique element ot his character which helped him stand out. While The Bubble received low ratings, one thing that can be definitely said is that Pascal knows how to engage the audience simply by his charisma and performance.