The Big Picture
- Pedro Pascal’s early appearance on Buffy the Vampire Slayer showcased his ability to play a nervous and innocent character, in contrast to his later tough guy roles.
- Despite his limited screen time, Pascal’s charisma and talent shines through in his scenes as Eddie, a doomed vampire on Buffy.
- Pascal’s rise to stardom has not changed his down-to-earth quality, as he fondly recalls his time on Buffy and acknowledges the support he received from co-star Sarah Michelle Gellar.
If you need an actor to play a badass, Pedro Pascal is on call. In an Esquire interview, he mentions his role in Game of Thrones helped him “feel like a boss.” There is a good reason for this, he made a big impression as Oberyn Martell and the actor continued being “like a boss” among a recent slate of cocky, daunting characters, including the swagger of Agent Whiskey (Kingsman: The Golden Circle), and his role in the upcoming Gladiator sequel. Pascal’s rise to stardom has seen him play a number of tough guys — the titular character of The Mandalorian and the lead part of Joel in one of the most successful and acclaimed TV shows of the year, The Last of Us, to name just two — whose badassery can lead to their downfall or fuels them to take charge. He then hit a milestone with a hosting gig on Saturday Night Live, which he has since returned to in sharing a segment with Bad Bunny, a sigh of relief for fans who usually see Pascal being incredibly somber in dramatic parts. As hard as it might be to imagine, there was once a time when he wasn’t so well known. Look no further than his one-time appearance in Buffy the Vampire Slayer to see a lonelier, innocent side to Pedro Pascal.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer
A young woman, destined to slay vampires, demons and other infernal creatures, deals with her life fighting evil, with the help of her friends.
- Release Date
- March 10, 1997
- Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan, Nicholas Brendon, Michelle Trachtenberg, Emma Caulfield, James Marsters
- Main Genre
- The WB, UPN
Pedro Pascal’s Guest Spot on ‘Buffy’ Was Short but Memorable
The first days at college are rough, for non-slayers and slayers alike. In the Season 4 opener “The Freshman,” Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) finds it harder to fit in on campus, while her friend Willow (Alyson Hannigan) easily turns it into her second home. The library is impressive, but Buffy doesn’t see her high school mentor Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) there. What doesn’t help either is the harsh and unforgiving first impressions she receives from several figures. In Psych 105, the professor forcefully brands the course as not for the slow-minded. Another professor berates Buffy for attending his class without signing up beforehand, then there’s the RA who views freshmen who leave their first semester as the “weak ones.” Damn, no wonder why vampires are roaming about, they fit in rather well with the hostile environment. College is swarming with monsters, bringing us to Buffy’s run-in with a not-yet-famous face.
Pascal, credited as Pedro Balmaceda, without his signature mustache, plays Eddie, a deer-in-the-headlights, downbeat fellow freshman. He collides with Buffy while attempting to use a campus map to pinpoint his location. Suffice it to say, he isn’t having much luck. The two instantly recognize their similar predicaments, leading him to share that he’s a book lover, currently finding comfort in rereading Of Human Bondage. By W. Somerset Maugham, it’s a coming-of-age story of a young man who can’t quite figure out the best direction in life, whether in a career path or especially in obsessing over a toxic lover.
That this is Eddie’s “safety blanket” novel is ironic because, as a guest star and this is Vampire Slayer, Eddie is doomed. When he tells Buffy, “I think it’s supposed to get easier,” it’s as much of an omen as a character asking out loud in a slasher movie, “Who’s there?” It won’t end well, and after the two part ways, a gang of vamps attacks, taking him as their next prey. Led by Sunday (Katharine Towne), these are weirdo hipsters, excited about Klimt and Monet paintings they find among the victims’ belongings. Think of The Lost Boys (1987), if more gender diverse, and they were college dropouts living in a dilapidated campus building. The bloodsucking fiends are bored out of their minds, taking freshmen who won’t be missed. In a Vulture interview looking back on the role, Pascal shared nothing but love, the fact it had so little screen time was part of what he liked, saying “Oh! This is Buffy’s new friend. This is a new character for Season 4. No, just kidding — he’s dead.” Sunday and her vamps have one problem this time around, they aim to target freshmen who won’t be missed, and Eddie will be.
Pedro Pascal Played a Vampire Again in ‘Bloodsucking Bastards’
Seeking out someone in times of stress and feeling out of place is encapsulated within Buffy and Eddie’s interaction. Buffy, like many freshmen, finds trouble getting comfortable in a new setting. She connects to Eddie, so when he disappears and his favorite novel is left behind, she knows something is wrong. It isn’t long before she meets Eddie again, but he isn’t the same person this time around. “I was worried that something had happened to you,” Buffy says, before seeing the familiar face prosthetics and eye contacts, “— and of course, it has, because you’re a vampire.” They tussle, ending with Buffy taking care of business which slowly helps in her regaining confidence.
1999 was a big year for the young actor, getting roles in Good vs Evil, Downtown, and Undressed, though, of course, Buffy is the iconic series out of these appearances, and it sure isn’t Pascal’s only time as a vampire. In Bloodsucking Bastards (2015), he’s Max, a boss from hell who is having a ball of a time at causing carnage. He likes to play with his prey, telling an employee with casual menace, “I just devoured her…fabulous Ossobuco.” Staking away from vampires, Pascal has gone on to play several intense men, exploring the range he can deliver.
Pedro Pascal’s Has Not Forgotten His Experience on ‘Buffy’
Oberyn Martell, the Red Viper, gets a grand entrance to Game of Thrones’ fourth season, selecting lovers to bring to bed, before wounding an enemy and then proclaiming his desire for retribution for a past tragedy. This reckless, brazen personality of his, paves the way for a shocking end, grislier than the puff of dust Vampire-Eddie disintegrates into. In Narcos, the very first reference to Pascal’s role is in side characters referring to him as, “an asshole.” Javier Peña can be that, though the complexities Pascal gets to play adds so much more. This is a DEA agent who has to survive in a world of violence and corruption and to do so, he isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty to help catch his target. And then, reaching back into a galaxy far away, there is The Mandalorian.
“This is the Way,” is a code and just as well exemplifies how the show did its part in becoming a starring vehicle for the actor, even if it isn’t him in Din’s costume. From Season 1 onward, he creates (as does Brendan Wayne and Lateef Crowder) a fascinating warrior to add to Star Wars lore who will fiercely protect his little womb rat, Grogu. Pascal gives a commanding voice, even when he isn’t physically on-screen as the fully suited, helmet-wearing Mando. When he says, “I can bring you in warm, or I can bring you in cold,” you listen. Where he once lost to vampires and a slayer, Pascal goes on to persevere in the post-apocalyptic world of The Last of Us.
Joel is a grizzled man who has lost so much and might have a reason to keep on going forward, by protecting Ellie (Bella Ramsey), the girl immune to the fungal infection that has laid waste to society. Pascal’s face is no stranger to prosthetics, although he doesn’t always need it to get immersed in the role. In a Collider interview, he describes what helps him take on Joel: “If I didn’t have that dry gray hair and wrinkled, sun-stained and damaged skin, I wouldn’t be able to feel the experience of the character, and thereby know how to play it.”
Pascal’s giddiness off-screen might be as infectious as Cordyceps, where it’s apparent his rise to stardom has not changed the actor’s down-to-earth quality. Not only can he fondly look back on his time on Buffy, but he can still vividly recall the memories, such as Sarah Michelle Gellar’s personal ice cream stash she had. He shared with Entertainment Tonight, “She went back to her trailer, she got me some ice cream and she shared — ’cause it was a night shoot, it was in the middle of the night, and we were on the UCLA campus. They hadn’t built their college sets yet.” Pascal’s comments didn’t stop there, he also recalled how Gellar even helped him on their fight scene, where Eddie bids farewell in a puff of dust. “She taught me how to use a sandbag to hit my mark,” Pascal said. While the fight scene isn’t too intensive, Sarah Michelle Gellar proved to be a great helping hand.
Pedro Pascal Doesn’t Take Himself Too Seriously
It’s like a time capsule in watching him in Buffy when he wasn’t a household name, he was simply an eager actor. During Eddie’s limited screen time, Pascal gets a lot to play. Other than his monstrous fate, he’s nervous and innocent, which is in stark contrast to the characters the actor will become known for. As he shows while hosting SNL, Pascal doesn’t take himself too seriously, and in a WIRED video, he gets to the topic of the shows he’s popped up in. He does the thing Pedro Pascal would do, he starts singing the theme songs, doing his take on Rodrigo Amarante’s hypnotic theme for Narcos, and shouting out guitar-like sounds for Nerf Herder’s theme to Buffy. For such a small part, it’s a highlight on his demo reel. Pascal’s charisma and talents radiate in his scenes as poor Eddie, which is all the more impressive because when put together (including a shot of him incapacitated), it makes for barely three minutes out of a 45-minute episode.
All seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer are available to stream in the U.S. on Hulu.
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Khushi Patel is a science fiction author who lives in Austin, Texas. She has published three novels, and her work has been praised for its originality and imagination. Khushi is a graduate of Rice University, and she has worked as a software engineer. She is a member of the Science Fiction Writers of America, and her books have been nominated for several awards.