Josh Brolin Almost Ruined This Year’s Most Popular Show

Josh Brolin was almost cast in The Last of Us instead of Pedro Pascal.

By Melissa Murphy | Updated

the last of us

The action-adventure show The Last of Us came out on HBO Max just last month and quickly became a hit. The handsome and talented Pedro Pascal plays the role of Joel, however, according to, the star almost didn’t get the chance to fulfill the role. Instead, Troy Baker, the original Joel in the 2013 video game under the same name, revealed that Josh Brolin was nearly selected for the role in The Last of Us

The nine-episode series began airing in January and was met with rave reviews from fans. Based on the popular game from 2013, the show already had players excited to see the characters they love in a live-action show. The Last of Us is set in a post-apocalyptic world where a pandemic wiped out much of civilization. Only a few survivors remain and among them are the tough 14-year-old, Ellie Williams (Bella Ramsey) and Joel Miller (Pedro Pascal).

Production on the show started back in July of 2021. With a star-studded lineup, the crew needed to find the perfect star to take the role of Joel in the show. Neil Druckmann, who worked as one of the directors on the show, is known for his meticulous attention to detail and careful planning of every aspect of his work. 

For Neil Druckmann, whoever was going to play the role of Joel needed to exude the character’s ruggedness, determination, and grit. When asked if he had ever been considered for the role, Troy Baker explained that his name bounced around but the director was set on finding the perfect man to play the character. Baker goes on to explain how Josh Brolin got thrown into the mix to play The Last of Us star.

 The two happened to come across each other in an airport lounge, and having met before, Troy Baker decided to strike up a conversation. He told the Avengers: Endgame actor that a script is going to come across his desk and that he should look at it. Troy Baker thought the two would mutually benefit each other, with the show getting Brolin’s talent, and Brolin getting to add to his repertoire. 

Josh Brolin has an extensive career spanning nearly 40 years. The star has played roles in hit films such as The Goonies, No Country for Old Men, and Men in Black 3. The star is best known for his role in the film Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame in which he played Thanos. 

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Even though fans of Josh Brolin would have loved to see him in The Last of Us, it may be for the better that the star didn’t take the part. While initially, Brolin appears to be the perfect match for the character, Troy Baker notes how it wasn’t until other stars were considered did Brolin’s pitfalls become apparent. 

Neil Druckmann decided he wanted to shake things up a little bit. Conversations on who would play Joel went back and forth. Druckmann wanted to do something different with the show, and choosing the right actor was the first step. 

When Druckmann revealed that they might have gotten Pedro Pascal to play the role, Troy Baker knew they found the perfect person. While Josh Brolin may have done well in The Last of Us, the show’s loyal fans are happy to have Pascal in the role.