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In ‘The Last of Us,’ Joel Miller Is Both a Dad and a Daddy

Joel Miller (Pedro Pascal) stands in a dark room, holding a flashlight in a still from 'The Last of Us'

As we gear up for the series premiere of HBO’s The Last of Us, fans might be wondering who we’re going to meet in the series. Based on the hit game of the same name, the series brings some characters we’ve come to know and love to life, and one of them is Joel Miller.

Played by Pedro Pascal in the series and voiced by Troy Baker in the game, Joel is a character who means a lot to fans and for good reason: He’s the guy we’re on this journey with. In the game, we start with Joel’s life before the clickers took over, and we’re playing as him (for the most part) as we try to get Ellie to safety. He’s incredibly important to the story and someone we come to know inside and out.

So when it comes to HBO’s The Last of Us, we’re all eager to see where the live-action version of Joel Miller is going to take us. With Pedro Pascal leading the way, we know one thing for certain: He’s going to have Daddy energy.

Daddy? Sorry … Daddy?

Nico (Sarah Miller) and Joel (Pedro Pascal) share an intense moment in 'The Last of Us'

There are two sides to Joel as a character: The actual father and the daddy. Let me explain. In the prologue of the game, we get to meet Joel Miller. He’s a single father who’s taking care of his daughter, Sarah, and just trying to celebrate his birthday. The game begins with Sarah making sure her dad has a good day, but when things go haywire and the apocalypse hits, they have to try and escape from Austin, Texas in one piece.

In that moment, Joel is a dad just trying to make things work. And he’s a good dad. He’s struggling, but he makes sure his daughter knows that he loves her, and when he’s trying to escape with Sarah (and his brother, Tommy), he does his best to protect her against everything happening. He ultimately fails in that first moment, and Sarah’s fate is the note the game starts off on (even after a time jump).

The game jumps ahead 20 years later, when an older Joel is part of a group of humans living in a community still controlled by the government. Through his relationship to Tess and their under-the-table dealings, they learn about Ellie Williams, a teen girl in the quarantine zone who is seemingly immune to the clicker virus. Joel is tasked with bringing Ellie to his militia group, the Fireflies, so they can see why she is immune to the bite of the clickers, and Joel slowly begins to care for Ellie along the way.

All of the while, Joel’s energy is giving Daddy vibes, and with Pedro Pascal in the role, we’re sure to see that manifest tenfold.

So who is Joel Miller?

He’s just a man trying to survive the end of the world. He’s our reluctant hero for the most part, but Ellie breaks through his tough exterior and we get to see him care for her as his own daughter—in both the first game, as well as The Last of Us Part II. How the show is going to explore their relationship, we do not yet know.

Hopefully we’ll still get to see that level of care and understanding that the two have in the game, and I trust that Pedro Pascal will do an incredible job bringing Joel Miller to life. I just hope we get to see him play guitar like his video game counterpart.

(featured image: HBO)

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Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast.