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“Here comes the ‘race swap’ folks”: The Last of Us Star Nico Parker Cast as Astrid in ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ Live Action Remake, Fans Enraged at Unnecessary Race-Swap

"Here comes the 'race swap' folks": The Last of Us Star Nico Parker Cast as Astrid in 'How to Train Your Dragon' Live Action Remake, Fans Enraged at Unnecessary Race-Swap

The Last of Us star Nico Parker is set with her next big project in which she will star as Astrid in the live-action version of the popular animated feature How to Train Your Dragon which will be directed by Dean Deblois. The talented young actor will be seen sharing screen space with The Black Phone star Mason James who will play Hiccup in the film.

Nico Parker
The Last of Us star Nico Parker

The film which will be bankrolled by Universal Pictures, is set to release in March 2025 with production due to get underway in the summer of 2023. While Nico Parker made headlines for her presence in the hit HBO series The Last Of Us, many netizens are questioning the decision to cast her in the role of the Scandinavian character Astrid due to her cultural lineage.

Also Read: “I was genuinely, really scared”: The Last of Us Star Nico Parker Reveals Experience of Working With Pedro Pascal as On-Screen Father

Fans Question The Casting Of Nico Parker In How To Train Your Dragon

After her successful stint in Pedro Pascal’s The Last Of Us, young actor Nico Parker is now set to take on her next project. The star will be seen with Mason James In the live-action version of the animated feature How to Train your Dragon in which she will play the role of the young Scandinavian girl Astrid. Based on the books by Cressida Cowell, How to Train Your Dragon focused on the special friendship between a young and unheroic Viking boy named Hiccup and Toothless, an injured dragon that he nurses back to health. The character of Astrid follows her own path as Hiccup’s friend and confidante who overcomes her disdain for dragons.

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Nico Parker
Nico Parker will play the role of Astrid in the live-action version of How to Train your Dragon

Following the announcement of the actors for the film, netizens took to Twitter to express their displeasure over the casting choices, especially that of Nico Parker. Calling the decision an unnecessary “race swap”, viewers questioned the reasons behind casting a black actor in the role of a Scandinavian character stating that it would be an incongruous casting choice.

here come the “race swap” folk 😭

— edward king (@xdroid2022) May 30, 2023


Are people not aware that this was meant to be Viking culture…? There is nothing whiter than that.

It’s absolutely mind-blowing how quick to steal the culture of others these people are who would also likely yell at a little white girl for wanting to dress up as Pocahontas,…

— LibertyCanisLupus – CaffeinatedWolfe ☕️ (@FrjalsiFenrir) May 30, 2023

Yea they should stop doing it

— 𝓢𝖒𝖚𝖌💎𝓢𝖒𝖎𝖗𝕶 (@Smug9991) May 30, 2023

Despite many criticisms about Nico Parker’s casting choice as Astrid, certain groups online were receptive to the change and felt the star who is the daughter of actor Thandie Newton and Ol Parker, will fit in perfectly as she is of mixed lineage with her father being white and her mother being a woman of color.

She is 75% white so they shouldn’t say anything

— kill bill (@filmsctrlz) May 30, 2023

She ain’t Scandinavian but at least she’s close enough and looks the role so np


— mok .-. (@mo24_187) May 30, 2023

She’s got some popularity having been in The Last of Us so it kinda shields her a little bit. I dislike race swaps but I really liked her portrayal of Sarah (also this is a kids cartoon so Idc) so I don’t mind this change.

— Chris (@EmperorChris446) May 30, 2023

Also Read: “They don’t want to come back”: The Last of Us Creator Was Afraid Fans Might Not Return to Watch Series Before Making One Major Change

Nico Parker Is A Rising Star

Nico Parker who is the daughter of director Ol Parker and Hollywood actor Thandie Newton, is one of the rising stars of the industry. She made her acting debut as Milly Farrier in the 2019 film Dumbo directed by Tim Burton which brought her recognition. She next starred alongside Naomie Harris and Jude Law in the HBO miniseries The Third Day (2020) and also appeared alongside her mother as Zoe in the science fiction film Reminiscence (2021). Her stepping stone into the big leagues was with The Last Of Us. Speaking of her famous parents and their involvement in her career, Parker said,

“They do give me advice like, ‘Learn everybody’s name and always be nice’ and things like that, but when it comes to acting, they kind of steer clear of it because I think they want it to be my own experience for me to learn about things in my own way,”

Nico Parker
Nico Parker with her mother handle Newton

The young actor who did not originally harbor dreams of entering Hollywood, said that acting happened organically with her auditioning for Dumbo. One thing led to another and the rest, as they say, was history for the talented star.

Also Read: “Neurological Disorders” Inspired The Last of Us Clicker Noises: “It should feel more animalistic and less human”







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Written by Sharanya Sankar

Sharanya Sankar, Writer for Fandomwire
Having completed her Masters degree in Journalism and Mass Communication, Sharanya has a solid foundation in writing which is also one of her passions. She has worked previously with Book My show for a couple of years where she gained experience reviewing films and writing feature articles. Sharanya’s articles on film and pop culture have also been published on Film Companion, a popular film-based website. Apart from movies and pop culture, her interests include music and sports. She has contributed over 650 articles to Fandomwire so far.