The Mandalorian and Last of Us actor Pedro Pascal recently defended Hollywood’s race swapping practice and even encouraged it in order to promote “representation.”

Pedro Pascal as Joel Miller in The Last of Us (2023), HBO

Variety’s Senior Awards Editor Clayton Davis asked, “One thing that I love so much about you and Joel, the character, is that one of my big things I write about here is diversity and film, television. I want to see it. I’m a Latino black man in journalism. Not very many of us are here.”

“You are the goal that I want to see because when we talk about diversity we all seem to be talking about different things,” Davis continued. “You’re a Latino in a leading role, but Joel doesn’t have to be Latino. Joel could be anybody, and that’s where I get really excited. It’s like you’re there, you’re representing you’re doing some great things and you can just be. You don’t have to be overly Latino. You can just be Pedro Pascal playing Joel.”

After discussing the Emmy race briefly he finally asked, “Do you feel that wave coming that you can just be Pedro Pascal, an actor, versus Pedro Pascal like the Latino guy that we have for Latino roles. And we love you on Narcos and everything like that, but do you feel that change right now?”

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Pascal answered, “I think that the change is really important and that the best way to continue representation is exactly as you put it just casting a person into a role that isn’t limited to opening the — not limiting to a character to its racial identity.”

He added, “Especially if it’s an IP that we’re familiar with or a book. And people get so butthurt about this kind of stuff, but who cares. Because that is the coolest way of like moving the needle, is being open about the casting in every way.”

Pedro Pascal attends ‘The Forge’ experience inspired by the Star Wars series The Mandalorian, to celebrate the launch of The Mandalorian Season 3 on February 22, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by for Disney)

“I remember looking at a script and thinking, ‘God, wouldn’t it be so…’  and there was this real sort of scary parental figure and it was written as a father in it and then I thought, ‘God, wouldn’t it be interesting if it was a mother like if it was Diane Weiss instead of…’ And, you know, sort of treating the approach with some originality and let that originality be inclusive.”

“Instead of being like these are the instructions, this is how we need to follow it, this is…, let’s label what representation is and follow those… No, I think that we need to continue discovering it and making sure that we understand that representation is in service of telling the story instead of fulfilling a political frustration, which is totally legit also.”

“It’s a very interesting thing to navigate and I think that is deserves all the attention in the world so that we do navigate it, and that the needle does movie, and that things do kind of like change,” he concluded.

Pedro Pascal as Joel in The Last of Us (2023), HBO

Pedro Pascal as Joel in The Last of Us (2023), HBO

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It appears Pascal has no limits to what he would race swap. It would include historical figures as Netflix recently did in their Cleopatra series and Channel 5 did in their Anne Boleyn miniseries.

Who knows how race swapping the characters served those stories about the historical figures, but Pascal would more than likely justify them by claiming it needs to be done to fulfill a political frustration.

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 13: Pedro Pascal and Gina Carano arrive at the premiere of Lucasfilm’s first-ever, live-action series, “The Mandalorian,” at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, Calif. on November 13, 2019. “The Mandalorian” streams exclusively on Disney+. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)

However, Pascal’s comments also appear that he only supports race swapping or gender swapping one way. His example is taking a male character and changing the gender to a female character and claiming that it’s original because it’s somehow inclusive. There’s nothing original about gender swapping character, it’s literally a bad Hollywood trope now and is constantly derided by moviegoers and TV viewing audiences.

As for race swapping, based on Pascal’s language I find it hard to believe that he would accept someone like Ryan Gosling to play King T’Challa aka the Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Director Peyton Reed and Pedro Pascal on the set of THE MANDALORIAN, season 2, exclusively on Disney+. ©2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

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The real answer to this question is rather simple, stick to the source material. If the source material describes a character a certain way, casting directors should cast actors that look like the way those characters are described.

In most cases the source material probably had no problem appealing to people of all walks of life and from all different backgrounds. All race-swapping does is sow division, muddy the waters, and in many cases make the characters completely unrecognizable because they don’t look anything like how they are described.

Pedro Pascal as Joel in The Last of Us (2023), HBO

What do you make of Pedro Pascal’s comments regarding race and gender swapping in the name of representation?

NEXT: Pedro Pascal Admits He Primarily Does Voice Acting On ‘The Mandalorian’: “My Body Wasn’t Up For The Task”



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    John F. Trent
    Founder and Editor-in-Chief

    John is the Editor-in-Chief here at Bounding Into Comics. He is a massive Washington Capitals fan, lover of history, and likes to dabble in economics and philosophy.