What the Legend of Zelda movie could (and should) be

Can the golden goddess make the jump to the silver screen?

08 January 2024
by jmaldonado 5
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On November 7th, 2023, Nintendo announced that they would be working with Sony to produce a live action Legend of Zelda Movie with Shigeru Miyamoto taking the helm, just as he did with 2023’s Super Mario Bros. Movie. Not surprisingly, the news has been met with surprise and concern from fans. While Mario’s return to the silver screen saw extreme financial success, it suffered critically, especially from those who weren’t already fans of the series.

Given the extreme quality that has come to be expected of the Zelda name, many fans are worried that this latest multimedia experiment from Nintendo could potentially tarnish the series. This is only made worse when considering how Nintendo’s last attempt at a live-action movie adaptation, 1993’s Super Mario Bros., scared the company off of movie-making for 30 years.

While we wait for more concrete details, let’s take a look at what we know about the Legend of Zelda adaptation in order to paint as realistic a picture as possible. (I’ll even throw in my own ideas for how a Zelda movie could potentially work.)

What We Know

Miyamoto's Involvement

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As stated before, Miyamoto and Nintendo as a whole will be heavily involved with the production of this film, just as they were with the latest Mario movie. I know Miyamoto can be somewhat of a controversial figure among hardcore fans, but I personally trust him with Zelda much more than anyone from Hollywood.

While I know the Mario movie wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, one of the things I really appreciated was how the characters and world felt 95% like it should be. Most game-to-movie adaptations tend to come off as a compromise between the game’s story and Hollywood sensibilities. 2023’s Super Mario Bros. Movie, for the most part, didn’t make that mistake. While there were some problems (licensed music, simple plot, etc.) it genuinely felt like a movie made by Nintendo rather than a movie Nintendo just signed off on.

I can also hope that Eiji Aonuma, the current producer of the Zelda series, will be involved with this film in some way.

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Given that he’s spent more time with the series than Miyamoto at this point, I feel he would have added insight that Miyamoto might be lacking. Aonuma has expressed interest in a movie adaptation in the past, so hopefully that desire and a close working relationship with Miyamoto would bode well.

Announced Crew

Let’s now take a look at some other people involved with the project while keeping in mind that the business of movie making is a turbulent one, so a few of these names could change throughout the process.

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The film’s producer will be Avi Arad, whose body of work includes early MCU projects and nearly every Sony-produced Spider-Man film; from the lows of Morbius to the highs of Spiderverse. While Arad’s involvement has some people concerned for the Zelda movie, I’m personally not that worried, and for two reasons:

1) A producer’s actual control can vary from project to project, as their job is to finance the film and oversee production. While some producers do get very involved, others back off and let the creatives do what they do. Why do I feel Arad will be the latter role in this scenario? Well…

2) At the end of the day, Zelda is Nintendo’s I.P. and half the bill is being footed by Nintendo. If any producer is going to have a say in this movie, it’s going to be Miyamoto and Nintendo.

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Next is the film’s writer, Derek Connolly, who similarly to Arad, has both critically-adored and panned films in his resume. Some of his more infamous works include the Jurassic World movies and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

This may be somewhat controversial, but I don’t really like judging a writer or any industry creative by their worst projects. Given all the stories I’ve heard over the years of how the industry treats writers and practically encourages them to do the bare minimum, I can’t help but sympathize as an aspiring writer myself.

Considering some of these projects had infamous behind-the-scenes trouble and multiple writers besides Connoly, I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps this just means we haven’t seen his full potential yet. (I don’t think anyone could have fixed Rise of Skywalker, for what it’s worth.)

All that said, of the three known non-Nintendo individuals involved with the film’s production, Connoly is the one I’m most concerned about. I hope that this production gives him a chance to put his best foot forward.

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The person I’m most interested in is the film’s director, Wes Ball. At first glance, Ball’s body of work invokes similar mixed feelings as the previous mentions, with his most notable projects being the Maze Runner series. (I’ve personally never seen the series, but heard mixed opinions.) Aside from that, there’s one project in his résumé that stands out to me; Mouse Guard.

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For those not in the know, Mouse Guard was a passion project that Wes Ball was directing for Fox. While Mouse Guard unfortunately got axed in the infamous Disney/Fox merger, Ball posted some test footage to his personal YouTube Channel.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I think this test footage SCREAMS Zelda. And to add even further fuel to the fire…

This was a tweet Wes Ball made years ago, talking about how he feels Zelda has the potential to be as big as James Cameron’s Avatar. While I know motion capture may rub some people the wrong way, I wanted to highlight this tweet to show that Ball sees the potential in Zelda. His work on Mouse Guard only makes me that much more curious as to what visuals we could see in this film. In fact, Wes Ball actually commented that he hopes to make the film look like a live-action adaption of a Miyazaki movie. While I’ve seen some disparage this ambition by saying the film should just be animated, I think there’s something worthwhile to explore here.

As far as I’m concerned, there’s never been a major live-action motion picture that captures the Miyazaki spirit. If successful I think such a film could really be revolutionary for its visual style alone. Let’s hope the Zelda film ends up being just that.

If nothing else, I think the Zelda movie will at least look good. Speaking of the film’s look, let’s talk about another known aspect…

Live Action

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As alluded to earlier, while many assumed Zelda would be another animated film, the news of a live-action attempt left quite a few fans understandably concerned. Truth be told, this reveal is quite possibly the piece of news that’s gotten people riled up the most.

Personally, I find it quite funny how this concern is essentially an inverse of the Wind Waker art style debacle. (My, how times have changed!) While I would have loved an animated Zelda film, I think live action could work just as well. Sure, the series does have somewhat anime-inspired character designs, but the main characters have always been pretty reserved as far as the anime style goes.

Honestly, of all of Nintendo’s major I.P.,I think only Zelda and Metroid could work as live-action films. Even similarly anime-inspired games like Fire Emblem and Xenoblade Chronicles feel too out-there for a live action adaptation.

The main reason I’m fine with Zelda being live-action is due to what it could mean for the potential future Nintendo movies. Since this film is being produced by Sony, it means Nintendo is not beholden to Illumination or even Universal as a whole; they could work with any movie studio they see fit. I would have also said this live-action direction shoots down any possibility of Nintendo attempting to create a cinematic Smash Bros. universe, but then a rumor dropped that Illumination has supposedly pitched the concept to Nintendo.

If the cinematic universe rumor is true, this is still a pitch that Nintendo could turn down. Should they decide to go ahead with it, that might point to a universe of animated films separate from their live-action ventures. Considering how new Nintendo is to the whole movie-making thing, I wouldn’t be surprised if they stuck to just the live-action Zelda, as tackling both live-action and animated adaptations might prove too much to tackle.

While I don’t hate the concept of cinematic universes, considering only one of them has been successful, I’d much rather Nintendo focus on individual efforts before trying to connect them all. Also, in my opinion, Smash would work better as an animated series, but that’s neither here nor there. One of my favorite things about Nintendo is their diversity of series’ and art styles, so it’s nice to know that I can expect something similar from their cinematic endeavors.

Shifting gears a bit, one of the most concerning things about a live action Zelda movie so far is the prospect of celebrity casting.

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Animation has a bit of freedom with celebrity casting. Chris Pratt as Mario is weird on paper, but at least the audience is looking at Mario’s face when Pratt speaks. With live action, you run the risk of these characters you love having the face of a seemingly random celebrity. I have my own ideas of how this problem can be avoided which I’ll get into later, but I feel there is a way to cast celebrities in this movie without them taking the focus away from the characters.

Also, I feel Nintendo is just as aware of the risk of having a celeb’s face plastered on their beloved characters. I feel they were okay with it for the Mario movie because of that suspension of disbelief that animation provides, but I imagine they’d be much more careful with a live-action project.

Speaking of Nintendo taking things carefully…

10 years in development

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This last bit is potentially the most telling for me. In a recent investor briefing, Miyamoto stated that he had been working with Avi Arad on this Zelda project for the past ten years. This happens to line up pretty well with the infamous Sony email leak where it was discovered that Sony Pictures Animation were trying to secure the rights to the Mario movie. While some might see that time spent on this project as development hell, I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and say all parties involved are taking their time to get this right. It’s good to see Nintendo didn’t rush into this after the success of Mario, and have been taking their time to ensure quality.

With all this information combined, I feel the Zelda movie has more potential than some initially thought. While there are definitely a few areas where things could go wrong, I also think there is a good chance that this film could surprise and impress people. Some of that ability to impress could come from the casting alone.

Ideas

Casting

I actually have two ideas for how Nintenod can avoid the problem of iconic Zelda characters sharing their face with a major Hollywood celeb. The first is to hire relatively unknown actors, which seems unlikely, and the second is to get child actors to play Link and Zelda.

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While I know child actors can be hit or miss for some people, I’m picturing an 11–14-year-old range for Link and Zelda. Not only does this remove the awkwardness of watching a well-known 30 something play Link, but it also introduces a greater potential for the Zelda movie to create new fans.

I feel it’s fully possible Nintendo could be planning a whole Zelda trilogy right now, with one movie dedicated to each piece of the Triforce. While that may be counting your chickens before they hatch, let’s be honest; the Hollywood suits are looking at this fantasy movie based on a beloved I.P. and are hoping for a new Lord of the Rings.

I feel like so many fantasy films are planned from the get-go as franchises purely due to the success of Lord of the Rings, but whether or not those films actually become successful franchises depends on the box office. Considering the success of the Mario movie, I believe the Zelda movie is destined to have at least one sequel, which would certainly help to explain the 10-year development cycle. (Considering Sony’s promise of an extended Spider-Man-centric cinematic universe hasn’t really gotten off the ground, planning too far ahead may become a very tangled web–pun very much intended)

Even if there is no grand trilogy plan, it would still be very interesting to watch the actors that play Link and Zelda grow up as the films progress. While I was never into Harry Potter as a kid, one thing that I’ve heard fans say over the years is that being able to grow up with the characters really created an attachment to the series.

Working with a younger cast of actors doesn’t just help entice new audiences, it also fits thematically with the Zelda series. The flow of time and its impact on people is a common theme across the Zelda series, whether it’s traveling through the years to change the future or simply seeing how Hyrule is affected by it. That does raise an interesting question though… What Zelda game would Nintendo adapt, if any?

Story

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To keep things simple, I feel like Nintendo will opt to create an original entry for this film, rather than adapting a specific installment. Translating Skyward Sword, Ocarina of Time or Breath of the Wild to the big screen runs the risk of alienating fans who haven’t played those installments. Zelda, unlike Mario, is more focused with reinventing it’s established characters with each new title (direct sequels notwithstanding), so it’s not like a new version of the characters would be a foreign concept to fans. It also comes with the added benefit of not souring fan-favorite versions of characters, If someone doesn’t like the film, they just won’t like this specific version of Zelda.

Link's Voice

One big thing that many fans have wondered is how the film will address Link’s in-game role as a silent protagonist. Personally, I’m more than ready for Link to speak. He doesn’t need to be a motormouth, but I personally believe there were so many moments in Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom that were held back by Link not using words.

The versions of Link from various Legend of Zelda games do have character, but they are mostly brought to life through subtext. Ocarina of Time Link lost out on his childhood. Wind Waker Link was a reluctant hero who rose to the task. Breath of the Wild Link felt an immense pressure serving under the princess and kept his talking to a minimum because of it. While something would be lost in making this subtext fully realized for the film, I feel it’s the best way to connect with fans and to help newcomers understand why so many love these characters.

The two most well-known examples of Link speaking, the animated series and CD-i game, are not ideal interpretations of the character, but given the fact that those were both products made with little input from Nintendo, I think Link will be fine. (I do want to see Nintendo try to work in an “Excuuuuuse me, Princess!” somewhere…and yes, I know I’m part of the problem)

All that said, to pay respect to the original interpretation of the character, I feel Link should be a man of few words. This could be handled through a vow of silence like Breath of the Wild, or maybe a traumatic event at the start of the movie leaves Link mentally scarred. You can have Link be a surrogate for the audience while still making him his own character.

Zelda's Role

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Given how Princess Peach was upgraded from her role as damsel in distress in the Mario movie, it’s a safe bet the same will happen to Zelda. That’s not to say Zelda won’t be kidnapped at some point (It technically happened to Peach in the Mario movie via surrender), but I would be shocked to not see Zelda as part of Link’s traveling party in this movie. Given how much Zelda fans clamor for Zelda to be playable in a mainline title, it would only make sense to have her play an active role in the movie.

If this movie were to follow the typical trilogy formula, the first film would be about establishing the world and hinting at the growing evil. In the games, these portions are usually dedicated to running around and collecting important items from dungeons to push the story forward, but in the context of a movie we could see Zelda and potentially the king of Hyrule attempting to take preventative measures against Ganon’s rise to power.

One of my favorite aspects of Breath of the Wild’s take on the Zelda mythos is that we actually get to see King Hyrule and Zelda interact, and I would love to see something similar explored in the movie. Is the king a good leader or are there some dark spots in his reign that Zelda might not see due to her age?

One major question for Zelda’s portrayal in the film adaptation is if Link and Zelda should have a romantic relationship. Referring back to the Mario movie, I was actually quite surprised they teased Mario and Peach’s relationship so much considering how modern Nintendo games tend to downplay their connection.

Off topic but does anyone know what this line says in the Japanese version? I've never been able to find a good source.
Off topic but does anyone know what this line says in the Japanese version? I've never been able to find a good source.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the film leaned into Link and Zelda being a couple, but personally speaking, I don’t need it. While I like when Link and Zelda get to be together, I also like that the multiple lives aspect of the series allows them to be conceivably romantically involved with anyone. One thing I do want this movie to give us is a Link and Zelda with a strong bond, be it romantic or platonic. I love when we get to see Link and Zelda actually work together, as rare as it is, so while I don’t necessarily need a relationship from them, I would love to see a strong connection forged.

Ganon, Ganondorf, and the Gerudo

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Last, but certainly not least, is the main villain of the series, Ganon (dorf). I feel like the film will opt to cast an actor for Ganondorf and then have him transform into Ganon for the final conflict, so we have the potential to get a lot more insight into Ganondorf’s background. While the games have always hinted at Ganondorf’s backstory, we’ve never gotten to see it fully explored.

For those unaware, Ganondorf was the only male Gerudo and was their king, along with Demise’s curse-given form. He sought Hyrule’s fertile land and the Triforce to exert his power over all of the land. In Ocarina of Time, in a last-ditch effort to defeat Link and Zelda, Ganondorf uses the Triforce of Power to transform into the Pig Ganon, and from then on, he’s resurrected in that form by other villains further down the timeline.

While that’s a fine backstory for the context of the games, I imagine for the film they’d want to add a bit more depth to Ganondorf’s character. Games like Wind Waker have tapped into Ganondorf’s sympathetic side; the side that wanted a better home for his people.

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Interestingly, the Gerudo seem to view Ganondorf as something to be ashamed of in their history if Urbosa’s comment in Breath of the Wild is anything to go by.

Ganondorf’s relationship with the Gerudo is something I’ve always wanted more detail on, and while Tears of the Kingdom didn’t deliver on that front, this movie has the potential. Even if the film is considered non-canon like the manga (which it probably will be), it would be fascinating to see an official Zelda project explore its main villain.

If Nintendo wanted to add even more complexity to the narrative, perhaps they could show how the Gerudo and Hyrule’s relations aren’t necessarily black and white. Maybe Hyrule took some uncalled-for action against the Gerudo years ago, meaning Ganondorf’s attacks on the kingdom can be viewed as righteous vengeance from his perspective. Ganondorf has always been portrayed as a masterful manipulator, so it would make sense that he’d use unprovoked attacks as a means to rally the rest of the Gerudo behind him.

This approach could also reinforce both Link and Zelda’s characters. Link would see his position as a Hero in a new light; is he the Hero just for the kingdom or for all the Inhabitants of Hyrule? If Zelda learns that Hyrule treated the Gerudo unjustly in the past, it could help push her to be a better leader when she eventually is handed the crown. In the games, Link and Zelda are shown as always doing the right thing, so it’d be interesting for the film to make them question if their actions are just.

Undoubtedly, this movie/trilogy would end with Ganondorf transforming into Ganon for a final confrontation and I’m pretty interested to see how that would be handled. No matter the design inspiration for this moment, I do feel we should see teases of Ganon’s true form throughout the movie. I’m thinking of something similar to how Hyrule Warriors interpreted Ganondorf; being able to transform parts of his body or summoning a shadowy spirit in combat.

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However Nintendo chooses to interpret the Demon King, I hope they take this opportunity to really explore the depth of Ganondorf’s character. I’m not asking for him to have a redemption arc to be clear; I just want to see the compelling, conniving villain in his full glory.

Tone

Another big concern a lot of people have for this film is its tone. Some are worried it will be full of snarky, meta comedy like a lot of shows and movies nowadays, but I personally don’t have those trepidations. Miyamoto and Nintendo as a whole have always held Zelda in very high regard, so I don’t think they’ll make the Zelda movie a snarky comedy. Honestly, I’m way more concerned that the movie might end up being too serious.

Miyamoto was vocally against Wind Waker’s art style change and pushed for a more realistic Zelda, which was then realized through Twilight Princess. Miyamoto also felt that Yoshiaki Kozumi’s story for Link’s Awakening was too strange, so if anything, I’m more concerned that Miyamoto’s control will strip Zelda of one of its most endearing aspects, its weirdness.

While Zelda is an epic fantasy-inspired adventure game, it also has its fair share of Nintendo weirdness thrown in. For every merciless King of Demons there’s a middle-aged man in a rubber suit claiming to be a fairy. A part of me can’t help but wonder if Miyamoto will guide this movie towards being a solid serious take on the Zelda universe, but lacking in its charm. The seriousness Miyamoto wanted in Twilight Princess was also mixed in with some traditional Zelda weirdness (see the above pictured Ooccoos), so maybe I’m more concerned that Hollywood won’t see the bigger picture.

Personally, I feel the closest Hollywood has ever gotten to the appropriate tone for a Zelda movie would be the dark fantasy films of the 80’s. Films like The Dark Crystal and The Secret of Nimh had a good blend of seriousness and fun, straightforward and bizarre. There’s also another aspect of these films that I want the Zelda movie to tap into; horror.

To be frank, I don’t care for horror on its own, but when horror is mixed in with adventure and action, I love it. This is something that I’ve always loved about Zelda, as not only was it never afraid to be weird, it was more than ready to be unnerving. From the shrieks of ReDeads to the Gloom Hands of Tears of the Kingdom to the entirety of Majora’s Mask, the Zelda series has become pretty well-known for being willing to give players a little scare.

From fantasy to horror and all things weird, showing off a wide variety of the various creatures and races that inhabit Hyrule would play a big part in capturing the soul of the series. I’d even go so far as to say I’d love if a Goron or Zora teamed up with Link and Zelda partway through the adventure. Not only would it take some of the pressure off Link to carry a conversation, it could also allow the audience to become intimately familiar with Hyrule’s many cultures.

The Pitch

I’ve been throwing around a lot of scattered ideas for this project, and I’ve worked some of those and a few others into a rough plot summary for a Zelda movie. Obviously, not every plot point of the film has been thought out, but I’d like to put forward the bones of an idea for how this movie could be structured.

The Kingdom of Hyrule is in a broken state. As monster attacks are on the rise, the many races that once stood united under the banner of the royal family have long since relegated themselves to their own corners across the land. The king of Hyrule is convinced that the king of the Gerudo, Ganondorf, is behind these attacks, as rumors have been circulating about the Gerudo man’s proficiency for dark magic.

Meanwhile, in the village of Kakariko, an 11-year-old boy named Link lives peacefully with his mother and father, but this peace would not last. One night, a horde of monsters attacks the village, but Link, ever the courageous spirit, wants to join the fight with his father and the other adults. Link’s parents have another idea, and instead keep him locked inside their home’s cellar for his protection. As the night goes on, Link can only bang on the door while listening to the distant cries of his family and friends as Kakariko village is razed to the ground.

Impa, captain of the Hyrulean army, leads her troops to Kakariko Village to respond to a distress signal only to discover that they are too late. As the army scans the village for any signs of life, Impa hears muffled crying beneath a pile of rubble. After moving the debris aside and opening the cellar doors they discover Link, the lone survivor of his village.

While Impa is flooded with compassion for the boy, she is also taken aback by his shocking resemblance to murals depicting the ancient hero of legend. She stows these feelings for the time being as she takes the child to Hyrule castle to report her findings.

Impa presents the survivor to the king and he too immediately sees the resemblance to the hero of Hyrule. Impa and the King both silently agree that it would be wise to let the boy live in the castle where it is safe, though they don’t share their reasoning with Link just yet. The king’s daughter, Princess Zelda, is excited to meet someone her age, though all her attempts to break the ice with Link prove fruitless.

A couple of years pass and Link and Zelda’s relationship progresses at a snail’s pace. Every attempt Zelda makes to try and connect with Link is met with one-to-two-word responses. Link makes it clear in all but words that his interest lies in training with Impa and Hyrule’s soldiers. The young man quickly becomes proficient with the sword and shield in an attempt to prove to himself and his parents that it didn’t have to be this way. The king and Impa have no qualms with Link’s training, knowing that it may prove useful in the years to come.

As the years rolled on, tensions between the Hylians and Gerudo hit an all-time high. While no proof of Ganondorf’s treachery has been found, the king has decided that his people need to be prepared. He summons both Link and Zelda and explains to them the history of the Triforce and Master Sword, legendary items of the goddess that could help keep Hyrule safe as it teeters on the brink of war. The king wishes he could have waited until Link and Zelda were older to tax them with such a tremendous burden, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

The king tasks the pair with collecting the items, along with trying to uncover what Ganondorf and the Gerudo are planning. Link is, for the first time in years, visibly excited at the thought of receiving a powerful sword and the opportunity to exact vengeance. Zelda too is excited to leave the castle walls and have the opportunity to reconnect with the dispersed people of Hyrule (as well as the hope that visiting the temples will help her unlock her magical abilities), though she worries of both Link and her father’s dismissive treatment of the Gerudo.

The king reveals to Link and Zelda the secret location of the master sword in the Lost Woods, but tells them that in order to pull the sword, they must first enter the Temple of Courage so that Link may receive the Triforce of Courage first. The temple is located near the village of the bird-like Rito and the king warns that they may be apprehensive with strangers.

After Link and Zelda depart to make preparations, the king tells Impa to protect the pair from the shadows as they travel. While the king does want the duo to collect the artifacts, he also wished to have evidence of Ganondorf’s treachery. While Impa has trepidations about sending the two youth out on the dangerous quest and effectively using them as bait, she ultimately bites her tongue and accepts the mission.

As Link and Zelda depart, Ganondorf too catches wind of the pair’s quest and recognizes the trap the king has set. He ultimately decides to have his monsters provide minor opposition to the duo on their trek while also acting as spies, as they might uncover the secret of the Master Sword and Triforce’s location.

Link and Zelda’s journey is fraught with difficulties, and the two butt heads over their tactics in solving conflicts. Link believes they should act first and ask questions later, while Zelda feels he is barbaric. Zelda thinks it wise to assess the situation from all angles and try to encourage non-violent solutions, but Link thinks she’s a coward. Over the course of their journey, the two will slowly come to see eye to eye. Link will realize that minimizing damage does not make someone a coward and Zelda will come to see how easy it is to be paralyzed by decision making.

As the two near Rito village they come across a Rito fledgling being attacked by monsters. Zelda urges to save the poor citizen and Link agrees thinking it will grant them favor with the Rito. Zelda is concerned by Link’s callous thinking, but goes along with the plan for the sake of the young Rito. The Rito introduces herself to the pair and takes them to her village where they are welcomed openly.

Upon arriving in Rito village, Zelda is fascinated by the Rito’s culture whereas Link is more concerned about getting to the temple. Eventually, the village leader decides the two are worthy to receive the Triforce of Courage and takes them to the Temple of Courage. The Rito fledgling wants to assist them and follows the duo into the temple despite the leader’s warnings.

The temple proves to be the first major obstacle in Link and Zelda’s journey and it’s within they begin to reconcile their differences for the first time. This change is sparked when Link saves the young Rito from one of the dungeon’s traps and Zelda sees that he is willing to act selflessly as a hero should. Link explains to both Zelda and the Rito that he does care about protecting others; he just prefers doing that by eliminating all threats. It’s at this moment that Link realizes there are some threats that can’t be bested in a fight.

Eventually the trio make it to the dungeon’s center and Link is able to claim the Triforce of Course for himself. With this in hand, the team set off once more for the Lost Woods to claim the sword of evil’s bane. While the young Rito stays behind on Link and Zelda’s commands, she must quickly flee when a horde of monsters raid the village. The village leader tells the Rito to warn Link and Zelda of the coming monster horde. Impa, who has been watching from the shadows this whole time, shirks her responsibility to tail Link and Zelda to help the Rito fight off the invading monsters.

Ganondorf, who has also been watching the progress of the pair, notices that they are clearing the way to the Master Sword and decides that now is the time to exact force. He and his top Gerudo warrior set out to follow the pair through the Lost Woods and steal the Master Sword from under their noses. While the Gerudo questions why Ganondorf would show his hand now, Ganondorf explains that the king and people of Hyrule are already suspicious of the Gerudo, so revealing their true intentions now is fine. Ganondorf’s main goal is to destroy Hyrule’s safety net before it is even set up.

While Ganondorf and his right hand Gerudo tail Link and Zelda, they come across the young Rito who was sent to warn the pair, which Ganondorf sees as an opportunity. When Link and Zelda finally find the Master Sword’s pedestal, Ganondorf and the Gerudo warrior reveal themselves and their captive before Link can pull the sword. Ganondorf says they’ll let the Rito go if they leave the sword and hand over the map to the other temples of the Triforce. Zelda retorts that Ganondorf would have no hope to wield the sword, to which Ganondorf reveals he intends to use his magic to destroy the blade and the hopes of Hyrule with it.

Zelda frustratedly asks why they would do such horrible things, to which Ganondorf reveals the ugly truth about the royal family. He tells the story of how the Gerudo were shunned long ago by the people of Hyrule and how the royal family condemned the Gerudo desert as a land of thieves. While the Gerudo had accepted their lot as the most hated people of Hyrule, Ganondorf stoked in them the fires of revolution and the desire to take revenge.

Zelda is shaken by the realization that everything she was taught was a lie, frozen in thought by what their next action should be. Link recognizes Zelda’s choice paralysis and decides to do what he does best; act. He quickly lunges for Ganondorf in a futile attempt to free the Rito from his grasp, and Ganondorf chuckles at the risky maneuverer, saying the boy may be the hero after all. Ganondorf then realizes it’d be best to nip this in the bud right there and begins to strangle Link. Seeing Link in the grasp of Ganondorf riles up strong emotions in Zelda, which unleashes in the form of a blinding light, the first use of Zelda’s powers. Ganondorf and the Gerudo are blinded by the light, allowing Link and the Rito a chance to get away. Link quickly runs to the sword and begins to pull it from its pedestal.

Ganondorf and his Gerudo aide recover from being stunned and rush to stop the boy when suddenly Impa appears from the shadows to protect him. Zelda is confused by Impa’s appearance, to which the Sheikah woman quickly apologizes for her deceitful nature. As this happens, Link finally pulls the Master Sword and charges towards his foes. Ganondorf grows furious, his plan to distract Impa by attacking Rito village has failed and now the boy has claimed the sword for himself. Ganondorf summons a horde of monsters to distract the party as he and his Gerudo warrior make their escape, warning Link and Zelda that this will not be the last time they meet.

The team is able to fight off the monsters and return the Rito to the village. Once back, the village leader recognizes the bravery of Link, Zelda, and the fledgling and says that the young warrior has permission to join the duo on their quest, to which all parties happily agree.

Things are not as amicable between Zelda and Impa,as the young princess feels betrayed by the woman she viewed as a mother and is furious that her father would try to hide the dark secrets of her family from her. Impa tries to explain that the king and the kings before him had reasons for what they did, but Zelda is furious that they have to clean up a mess started by her forefathers. Zelda refuses Impa’s request to return to Hyrule castle and says that she and Link will continue their quest to ensure peace and not war.

With a heavy heart, Impa departs to report to the king, knowing well that Zelda’s hopes for peace are the innocent dreams of a child. There was undeniable proof that Ganondorf is a powerful magic user and that the monster attacks were his doing. As soon as Impa reports this news to the king, Hyrule will be at war.

As Link checks the items in his bag, he makes a shocking discovery. Meanwhile, while Ganondorf and the Gerudo return to the desert, the warrior reveals that all is not lost. The evil warrior managed to steal the map to the other Triforce temples during the chaos of the fight; Ganondorf unleashes a wicked laugh, as this is far from over.

If anything, I hope this proves that there is some merit for a Zelda story told as a film and that there are a lot of ideas that could be mined from even the most cursory glance at the series. The temples of the Triforce were something I invented to keep dungeon-crawling in the film without it becoming too overbearing. If sequels for this film were produced, they would also feature other familiar temples as well as new party members from other Hyrulean races. To be clear, I don’t think this idea is the only way a Zelda film could work; far from it actually. I just wanted to prove that somehow it can be done.

Conclusion

What are your thoughts on the Zelda Movie news and my ideas for it? Am I too optimistic? (Probably) What concepts do you want the film to explore?

About jmaldonado

jmaldonado

A recently graduated creative writer hoping to work his way into the greater gaming sphere.

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Comments (5)

hawk

1M ago

This was a fun article on the way the movie could go... and I think your idea COULD result in a good movie.

So many things have to go JUST RIGHT for a movie to be good. The very idea of a live-action Zelda movie is littered with land mines ready to ruin the whole movie, should they make a wrong decision or get a bad performance. I'm bracing for the worst and hoping for the best.


gamefreak613

1M ago

@hawk

Nice pitch! I'm excited to see where the movie might go and I think there's good room to flesh out the story as you pointed out. I'm wary of course of any movie adaptation of a game, but since they're going forward with it, I might as well hope for the best. Fingers crossed that the film will both be true to the roots of the franchise in gaming while still being a good movie on its own merits.


tendonin

1M ago

Here's my idea:
Make Zelda the actual main character. Not in reference to the old jokes about Link being "Zelda", but to downplay the issues with translating Link into another medium. Basically do a perspective flip on Skyward Sword or Tears of the Kingdom, with Link doing his heroics separately for a good part of the film. Yes, this would piss off a vocal portion of the internet. They can cope, like people did with Chris Pratt. It's an adaptation.

Also, I'd like to see the film structured like It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World or Puss 'n Boots: The Last Wish with the Triforce as the prize. Ganondorf seizing the Triforce as the "all is lost moment" only for the Triforces of Wisdom and Courage to elude him like in Ocarina would make for a nice plot twist.


jmaldonado

1M ago

@tendonin

Refocusing on Zelda would be a great way to work around Link's limitations but I would still like them to be together for a good portion of the movie.

It's funny you mention Puss and Boots 2 because that was an inspiration for how I handled the Triforce, I do like the twist you suggest of Ganon losing the other pieces I completely forgot about that plot point.


enthropy

1M ago

What it SHOULD be is a Zelda movie. Do NOT make it too Hollywoody with over the top action scenes just for the sake of it or anything Hollywood really apart from budget. Just focus on making a damn good Zelda movie with lots of Zelda elements in it.
Of course with an original story. We all know what happens in OOT anyway.

Staying skeptical, but damn me I'll be keeping an eye on this (like us all =) )