The Legend of Zelda Live-Action Film is Real, How Will Nintendo Bring It To Life?

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After the success of the animated Super Mario Bros. theatrical film, Nintendo has announced a live-action adaptation of their beloved fantasy series, The Legend of Zelda. The film was announced by Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto on Nintendo’s X account. 

This upcoming film will be directed by Wes Ball, the director of the Maze Runner trilogy and the soon-to-be-released Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes. It will be written by Jurassic World screenwriter Derek Connolly and produced by Miyamoto and Avi Arad, known for his work on the Spider-Man live-action films and Spider-Verse animated films.  

Strangely enough, Nintendo will be working with one of their key rivals as the film will be co-financed by Nintendo and Sony Pictures Entertainment. According to Variety, more than 50 percent of the film will be financed by Nintendo while Sony will handle the theatrical distribution.

For the uninitiated, The Legend of Zelda is a series of action role-playing games where the player assumes the role of Link who must save Princess Zelda, typically from the evil clutches of Ganon. Every other game in the series takes place in a completely different era, with most games only sharing similar characters and lore.

The biggest question, of course, is what angle will Nintendo tackle in this live-action series, especially with how varied The Legend of Zelda’s story and setting have been with each iteration. So judging by how Nintendo approached the Super Mario Bros. film, here are some of our ideas.

A Link to the Past

Released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System back in 1991, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past can be considered the first game to perfect the franchise’s formula moving forward. It allowed players to get to know the fantasy world of Hyrule. 

The game begins on a dark stormy night, where Link gets a telepathic message from Princess Zelda, to save her from the clutches of the evil wizard, Agahnim. Link also learns about the power of the mystical Triforce and earns the powerful Master Sword.

As a film, it would have the plot and be action-packed from the get-go, as well as being a great introduction to the main characters before Link goes on his epic journey. Viewers will also see Link’s progression as a warrior and learn about the myths and legends of Hyrule. 

Ocarina of Time

A landmark title on the Nintendo 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time ostensibly has a similar plot to A Link to the Past, only it now involves two timelines. Players would have to save Hyrule as both a child and an adult version of Link. 

As a video game, this 1998 classic was the first game in the series to bring a cinematic feel to the franchise especially since it was the first game to be in 3D. Coming in at almost 30 hours of gameplay, players get familiar with the two timelines they come across. 

Being a fan favourite and one of the most beloved games of all time, adapting Ocarina of Time is a no-brainer on Nintendo’s part. The balancing act between the two timelines is what would be tricky to translate into a film and may require splitting it into two movies. 

Breath of the Wild

The game that launched the Nintendo Switch into the world, the 2017 entry of the Zelda series, Breath of the Wild presents a post-apocalyptic Hyrule where Princess Zelda is nowhere to be seen and Link has no memory of his past. 

Along the way, players were able to reconnect with this broken world and ultimately reclaim Link’s memories of his time as Zelda’s knight as well as his fellow Champions of Hyrule. It also fundamentally changed a lot of core gameplay mechanics to welcome new players. 

As such, with it being the most modern introduction to the franchise for those who picked up a Nintendo Switch in the past few years, it would be a solid game to adapt. Especially if Nintendo was aiming for something more grittier and serious for this live-action adaptation. 

Skyward Sword

If Nintendo were to retell The Legend of Zelda on the silver screen, it would make sense to begin with the game that canonically takes place first. This is where the Wii game, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword comes in, which was also rereleased on the Nintendo Switch. 

Taking place in a country above the clouds, this game introduces the very first incarnation of Link and Zelda, before they become the great figures that would reincarnate in every game. This game also shows the discovery of Hyrule way before it was populated and ruled by Zelda’s family. 

It would serve as the freshest start for a live-action adaptation, one that can also chart a new course for later entries in the film series. Skyward Sword’s more vibrant world would also be a treat for the senses should the filmmakers choose to bring it to life. 

The Greatest Hits

With how much the Zelda franchise has reinvented itself, it would also make sense for Nintendo to create something wholly original with the live-action adaptation. Similar to how they did it with the Super Mario Bros. movie, broad strokes can be taken from each corner of the franchise. 

The basic premise of the evil Ganon using the power of the Triforce to conquer Hyrule, only to be stopped by Princess Zelda and Link, will be intact. So what they can do is pick and choose from the series to create a definitive take on this concept. 

They could pull from the first two games on the Nintendo Entertainment System as a base, just to start things out, before bringing in more complex elements from more recent games. Whether they want the more serious world of Twilight Princess or the more lighthearted Wind Waker, it would be a treat for longtime fans. 

Either way, if the Super Mario Bros. movie was any indication of Nintendo’s direction with The Legend of Zelda, we’re confident that this live-action adaptation will also be a bona fide hit. Let’s just hope they don’t mess up with the casting of the film’s leads. 

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