Pedro Pascal’s rise to “Internet Daddy” explained

If you’ve spent any time online in the last two months, you’ve probably come across Pedro Pascal fancams or Durst edits – from tweets calling The Last of Us star “Daddy” to TikToks with an audio clip from Shaggy’s “Hey Sexy Lady”. to underline thirsty fan edits. Or maybe you’ve seen the 47-year-old Chilean-American actor in an ad for the weird game Merge Mansion and wondered how he got there.

Whatever the case, here’s an account of why Pascal has been all over the internet lately — and how the fixation on his “internet daddy” identity has spiraled out of control.

Why did Pedro Pascal suddenly become popular?

Though Pedro Pascal has been an actor playing lead roles for years – with credits spanning Game of Thrones, The Mandolarian and Narcos – his role as Joel in HBO Max’s adaptation The Last of Us has heralded his meteoric rise, both in the one in public and in the eyes of thirsty fans.

The thirst for Pascal had already arisen in early 2023. In January, an Entertainment Tonight reporter asked him on the red carpet, “You know you’re the father of the internet, right?” before showing him a tweet a fan had written about him being a “cool, kinky Dad” to which he replied, “I’m your cool slutty daddy.”

But The Last of Us has been a focal point of his notoriety and status as “internet daddy.” On the show, Pascal plays a (hot) character who many also believe is a legitimately good father. A GQ article pointed out that Pascal’s positive relationship with co-star Bella Ramsey, who is 19, was a stark contrast to leading men like Leonardo DiCaprio, who have a reputation for dating women so young. Ironically, part of Pascal’s rise as a sex symbol may be because he looks like a really good guy — and a really good “daddy.”

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Sure, Pascal’s role as Din Djarin on the current season of The Mandolarian is also prominent — but on this show, he’s wearing a helmet. Disney is also known for its family-friendly, squeaky-clean image, which doesn’t exactly match the thirst that fans have been urging on Pascal.

It was TikTok that would catapult the thirst for Pascal to even greater heights.

Why Did Pedro Pascal Blow Up on TikTok?

A fancam edit by Pedro Pascal went viral on January 20th, earning its creator dvcree more than 3.6 million likes and more than 30 million streams at the time of writing. The clip weaves together close-ups and scenes from Kingsman: The Golden Circle, in which Pascal plays agent Whiskey. In the clip, Whiskey briskly approaches Ginger Ale, played by Halle Berry, and says, “How would you like to ride a real cowboy home? I’ve got a six pack of cold ones on ice and my roommates are out all night, so you can scream my name as loud as you have to, honey.” The video then transitions into a series of smash cuts of Pascal in a cowboy hat.

TikTok has since been credited as the primary Pascal fancam edit – with one commenter bluntly saying, “I love how the entire fandom just collectively agreed that this is the official Pedro Pascal edit.” The song ” Hey Sexy Lady” by Shaggy, combined with these special lines of dialogue from Kingsman: The Golden Circle, became the audio file used for many of Pascal’s other Durst edits. More than 24,000 TikToks use this special audio.

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TikTokers also began resurfacing an older video from Vanity Fair of Pedro Pascal taking a lie detector test. “Ever look at Instagram accounts aimed at saying you’re a heartthrob,” the interviewer asks him. He admits he does, with a big laugh, before admitting that the Pedro Pascal fan account is his favorite. He ends the interview by saying, “Daddy’s a state of mind, you know what I mean? I’m your dad.”

But at some point, fans’ passions began to shift from “cute” to “scary.” They gushed about Pedro Pascal’s stint as Saturday Night Live host in February, which even included a sketch that poked fun at his reputation as an internet daddy and hinted at his exhaustion with the entire move.

Other media also repeatedly played into the story. Just two weeks ago, Pascal had to respond again to being called “Daddy” on The Graham Norton Show.

And in early March, a meme from the 2022 film The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, in which Nicolas Cage looks back at a smiling Pedro Pascal, went viral on TikTok – reigniting fans’ obsession with the actor.

When Pedro Pascal gets thirsty

Parasocial relationships between fans and celebrities are nothing new, and it can be difficult to draw the line between fun and admiration and fetishization. (Fanfiction sites like AO3, in particular, often anticipate this question, as authors sometimes write stories not about fictional characters portrayed by actors, but about the actors themselves.) The thirst for Pascal became even more uncomfortable as the media continued to get involved with the parasocial dynamics, thereby legitimizing the way the star was sexualized.

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In a red carpet interview for the current season of The Mandalorian earlier this month, Access Hollywood asked Pascal to read Durst tweets about himself – not unlike the popular BuzzFeed YouTube series where celebrities read Durst tweets into the camera . Pascal paused to consider the question, but then politely declined, saying “no.”

I can’t imagine having access to the red carpet just to make an actor uncomfortable by putting him in a sexual situation that he doesn’t accept.

I thirst Pedro like all of us but the way he was reduced to that instead of you know maybe asking about his work…

— Kate Sánchez⁷ ➡️ #SXSW (@OhMyMithrandir) March 2, 2023

It’s worth noting that asking someone to do this on the red carpet is vastly different than doing this type of reading in a more scripted environment, as a number of Redditors have pointed out. There’s a difference between signing up to read sexualized content about yourself and someone out of the blue asking you to engage with it during a formal event. Sure, fancams and edits are fun, but they get fetishistic at a point where they take on someone’s public persona — and invade their space at public events.

Luckily, in a recent Hot Ones interview, Pascal had room to answer other questions about his career and his perspective on the characters he’s played over the years. There’s more to Pascal, or any seasoned actor, than just lusting after him – and hopefully he’ll have more chances to actually delve into his craft.