After appearing coy across the launch of Tears of the Kingdom, Nintendo has lastly introduced the unthinkable but nonetheless inevitable: a live-action film based mostly on the Legend of Zelda sequence. Produced by Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto and Avi Arad (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Morbius), the movie, which Miyamoto has mentioned he has been at work on for “a few years now,” now goes into formal growth at Sony — of all studios! Director Wes Ball, who broke out with the Maze Runner trilogy and can return to screens in 2024 with Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, is presently on board to direct.
The announcement got here with few particulars, however followers received proper to work screaming about whether or not or not Timothée Chalamet is the suitable elf-like actor to play Hyperlink. (In the meantime, right here at Polygon, we’re extra questioning if Jack Black enjoying Bowser in The Tremendous Mario Bros. Film disqualifies him as a candidate for Ganondorf, as a result of it shouldn’t.) Eagle-eyed people nonetheless on X (previously Twitter) additionally seen Ball has been dreaming of this chance for his whole profession; in a tweet from 2010, the filmmaker proclaimed, “Since I might by no means even hope to have the possibility to direct it… the following massive mo-cap Avatar-like film ought to be… THE LEGEND OF ZELDA.” Although he was method improper in regards to the first half, contemplating how Nintendo went to nice lengths to protect its iconography within the Mario film and that Ball now has tons of expertise within the motion-capture world after Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, it wouldn’t be shocking if the “live-action” Zelda film appeared extra like The Adventures of Tintin than The Lord of the Rings ultimately.
However past the look of a Zelda film, there are greater questions on Nintendo’s method. Primarily, how do you even do Zelda as a film? Identified extra for vibes than story, acquainted designs and gameplay than sensical timeline and lore, the franchise has hardly ever trusted narrative to carry the eye of gamers. However there are many bits for Miyamoto, Arad, Ball, and whichever writers rating the golden alternative to “adapt” it for the large display. Prompting us to marvel: Which Zelda recreation would really make one of the best supply materials for a film? Beneath, our die-hard Zelda buffs make the case for why a trustworthy tackle Hyperlink’s adventures might really work.
A Zelda film based mostly on Breath of the Wild?
Picture: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo by way of Polygon
There’s principally no method that Breath of the Wild received’t be a serious inspiration for any Zelda film — the sport’s success and superlative visible design assure it. It’s just too common and too well-known to not use as a template. That mentioned, the participant expertise won’t seem to be essentially the most cinematic factor at first blush. There’s no specific urgency to defeating Ganon, and no sudden twists. It’s a narrative advised by way of flashbacks that winds as much as a fast (some may argue anticlimactic) ending.
However with somewhat livening up, Breath of the Wild could possibly be a pure slot in narrative, not simply visible vibes. An amnesiac hero explores the completely different cultures of Hyrule with a purpose to collect a staff of fantasy associates to harness forgotten know-how to free a princess and defeat an historic evil. That’s a simple map to the type of three-act construction that makes a crowd-pleasing blockbuster. Plus mountain climbing. —Susana Polo
A Zelda film based mostly on Ocarina of Time?
Ocarina of Time introduced Zelda into the 3D period, and it has the legacy to carry it into the live-action period. Not like nearly each different Zelda title, which have relied on twists to the components, Ocarina of Time performs like an origin story. We meet Hyperlink in Kokiri Forest as a younger lad, see him heed the hero’s name to journey, meet Zelda and Ganondorf in a daunting first-act set-piece, then embark on the precise quest that episodically introduces the Zora, the Goron, and the Gerudo. The Nintendo-fied Lord of the Rings trilogy is all there if Miyamoto desires to speedrun by way of it in a single movie, with the additional benefit of getting a built-in musical palette. Very similar to Peter Jackson’s LOTR films, a Zelda film goes to stay or die on simply how massive the themes can go and the way intimate the soundtrack can get in pivotal moments. The least gimmicky technique to adapt the gameplay is perhaps to port over Hyperlink’s magical ocarina enjoying. The Legend of Zelda film could possibly be As soon as for blockbuster fantasy movies.
So far as outcomes, I think about we’ll get somewhat of column A and somewhat of column B so far as an adaptation is anxious. By the point Wes Ball’s film hits theaters, the N64 era shall be bringing the Change era. If Nintendo attire up Ocarina of Time in Breath of the Wild’s clothes, it’d simply have a Tremendous Mario-level hit. —Matt Patches
A Zelda film based mostly on Majora’s Masks?
Sure, it might be easy sufficient for a filmmaker to go the route of the extra conventional hero’s journeys specified by Breath of the Wild, Ocarina of Time, and even Twilight Princess. However right here’s my factor: Get bizarre. Why not make a film that actually captures the underlying creepiness that we hardly ever discuss once we discuss The Legend of Zelda? Majora’s Masks is a Lynchian journey by way of a weird dream world full of individuals coming to grips with the upcoming finish of the world. It’s about grief, loneliness, remorse, and transformation — you possibly can even view its approaching apocalypse (the moon is actually plummeting towards the world of Termina) as a metaphor for local weather change. Its Groundhog Day time-loop construction can be fertile floor for narrative thrives worthy of the silver display. All of which is to say that, in a time when online game diversifications are both too protected or flat-out pointless, a retelling of Majora’s Masks may really flip some heads. —Mike Mahardy
A Zelda film based mostly on The Wind Waker?
Whereas the cel-shaded artwork fashion of this recreation would lend itself higher to an animated adaptation, I nonetheless assume there’s a stable argument to help a film impressed by The Wind Waker. Amongst Zelda video games, I feel Wind Waker has one of the emotionally compelling premises for a narrative; as an alternative of beginning with a quest to save lots of Zelda, Hyperlink units sail with a band of pirates after he helplessly witnesses the kidnapping of his little sister. The cutscene the place Hyperlink waves goodbye to his grandma from a ship crusing away remains to be among the many most emotional and cinematic moments in a Zelda recreation thus far.
And whereas the sport has a cartoony look, there’s nonetheless quite a bit visually to play with that will make for good set-pieces in a film. I can already think about a cool, perhaps corny CGI model of the King of Pink Lions. Exterior of results, if this film will get the Mario remedy and maybe reimagines the position of Zelda as a damsel, it’s doable Tetra’s story might get a rewrite to embrace the exuberance she possessed earlier than reworking into Zelda. If Nintendo is on the lookout for a family-friendly flick with sufficient sufficient meat on its bones to have the makings for a film adaptation, The Wind Waker may really be it. —Ana Diaz
A Zelda film based mostly on Spirit Tracks?
As a lot as I really like Spirit Tracks, I’m not going faux this DS entry isn’t a minor Zelda. However there’s one factor that makes it notably nicely suited to adaptation: That is the one recreation within the sequence during which Hyperlink and Zelda hang around and work together throughout.
Admittedly, she’s a ghost, nevertheless it’s nonetheless an cute, harmless youngsters’ love affair — Ponyo fashion — that will make for a delightfully candy Zelda movie. Plus, it has choo-choo trains, and who doesn’t love a little bit of prepare motion on the films? —Oli Welsh
A Zelda film based mostly on completely nothing?
Like The Tremendous Mario Bros. Film, the live-action Legend of Zelda movie will seemingly have as many references to as many video games as doable so that each fan’s needs are represented.
However when it comes to story, I need the movie to be what reboots the Legend of Zelda gaming franchise as a complete. Following Tears of the Kingdom’s reasonably definitive ending (and exhaustive, multi-tiered exploration of Hyrule), it’s time to introduce one thing that followers have by no means seen earlier than — whether or not it means altering the canon of earlier video games or introducing a brand new mega baddie on the extent of Ganondorf that’s all new to the sequence, I’m recreation for an enormous shake-up reasonably than merely a 90-minute fan service play. Additionally, Hyperlink ought to speak. —Cameron Faulkner
A Zelda film based mostly on the Legend of Zelda TV present?
Picture: DiC Leisure/Nintendo
The plain reply is that Nintendo ought to remake the Legend of Zelda cartoon that first aired in 1989 — a easy story about how Hyperlink simply needed somewhat kiss.
It’ll be simple to adapt, as a result of there’s no actual operating throughline, past kissing and combating Ganon for the speaking Triforces. There’s plenty of room there for Miyamoto and Arad to mess around with storylines, simply as long as they hold the Moonlighting-esque rapport between Hyperlink and Zelda. The Legend of Zelda by no means had any live-action bits itself, however The Tremendous Mario Bros. Tremendous Present! had some segments to tug vibes from. Worst case state of affairs, Nintendo’s received a “so unhealthy it’s good” cult basic on its palms with the live-action film. —Nicole Carpenter
Which recreation ought to Nintendo adapt for its first ever Zelda film? Go on… make the case for Skyward Sword…