Only two days ago did the Wall Street Journal report that Netflix and Nintendo were working closely together to try and launch a live-action series based on 'The Legend of Zelda' video game franchise.
Sources say that Netflix is currently seeking writers and wants the tone of the series to be like HBO's Game of Thrones, but with a more "family-friendly" atmosphere.
As far as I know, Nintendo has never ventured to do something so bold before. And you may say: "Aaron, how do you know that TWJ's sources weren't wrong or lying?" Well, I can't give you facts, only speculation, but those who attempted to retrieve statements from Netflix and Nintendo were not given a denial or a confirmation on that matter. The two companies stated that they prefer not to comment on "speculation and rumors," however, if it wasn't happening why not just say "no it's not happening"?
My assumption is that this project is in the very, very early stages of development as a deal between Netflix and Nintendo are probably still being worked out.
But I've already talked about this before when I wrote about the announcement several days ago: Netflix Developing Live-Action 'Legend of Zelda' Series!!! and I know I've also written an article about a developing a live-action movies series: The Legend Of Zelda MOVIE? This Could Be HUGE!.
But I want to get into why a Netflix original series is the best route to adapt The Legend of Zelda to live action entertainment.
1. Netflix Allows for a Good Film Budget
One of the things to draw from the mention of wanting a Game of Thrones style of show is that it has a huge budget which allows itself to do a lot more cool things like shooting at a diverse range of locations instead of being limited to sets and whatnot. Shooting on location always provides a better cinematic experience for the audience as huge panoramic landscapes allow for a much more epic atmosphere, it's one of my favorite things about Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy which was shot on location in New Zealand.
Not only will the cinematography be a visual treat, but the higher-budget that Netflix can allow will provide an opportunity to create epic moments of magic and very large, well-detailed creatures of all sorts.
2. Larger Choice of Actors
Another benefit of having The Legend of Zelda on Netflix is that it allows more actor options to choose from. With the huge budget that Netflix series' have had, they're able to afford A-list actors like they already have with Kevin Spacey on their series House of Cards.
Now, this is one of the fun parts of any kind of movie/TV speculation: casting.
If you've read the article I posted in the introduction where I talk about what how a Legend of Zelda movie series could work, you'll see that I have already fan-cast the three main characters of almost every installment of The Legend of Zelda series:
For the lead role of the series, I'd choose Nicholas Hoult. I think the man is a wonderful actor and definitely has the physical features in his face to pull off a good Link.
He's also got a likable, on-screen charisma in movies such as X-Men: Days of Future Past and Warm Bodies, which I think would benefit Link's character, considering that's never verbally spoken before (except in old crappy cartoons, but we try to forget those).
- Princess Zelda
The Princess of Hyrule needs to be played by someone who has a graceful appearance (and acting chops). Therefore, I still stand by my choice of Elizabeth Olsen to act as the series's female lead.
I think Elizabeth is a great actress and has been chosen for many great films due to her natural talent. She's got a graceful atmosphere that I think is perfect for Princess Zelda. Not to mention, just like Nicholas Hoult looks like Link to me, Elizabeth Olsen very easily resembles a realistic Zelda.
I feel very strongly about Nicholas Hoult playing Link and Elizabeth Olsen playing Zelda because I feel the truly embody or could embody these amazing characters and bring them to life in a really cool way. But the villain of the series, Ganondorf, is just as important as Zelda and Link as far as his impact on the story. He's not a measly villain that should be killed off like some one-and-done superhero movie antagonist. Ganon needs to be played by someone who is strong, intimidating, and intelligent. There's no one better, in my opinion, to play Ganon than Idris Elba.
Idris Elba has been one of those actors that has really grown in the public eye in the last five years. He's been seen doing work in the Thor movies, but many know him from his British crime-show, Luther. The man, in my opinion, could bring all of the qualities of Ganon that I mentioned above.
I think the above cast-inclusions would make for a very entertaining television show and it would be interesting to see all of them holding the three most-critical roles in the series.
3. Freedom for Story Growth
I had always mused at the idea of The Legend of Zelda being turned into a film series, but I never thought it would it have gone to Netflix. I never even thought to wonder what that would have been like. But now that it's here, or at least in the middle of being talked about by Netflix and Nintendo, I'm on board all the way.
To allow the franchise to have a series of it's own, with it's big budget, allows for it to tell the story it needs to tell without being limited to a two-and-a-half or three-hour movie. They can take their time and tell the story they want to tell over however many episodes or seasons they need to tell it. The quest can be as lengthy as it needs to be and allow for character development to grow at its own pace.
A Netflix original series may very well be the best option for future live-action adaptations of video game franchises. We're already seeing Halo being adapted to it's own series on X-Box live but I doubt it could hold a candle to the success that The Legend of Zelda would have, if for nothing more than the mere fact that not everyone has X-Box or premium channels like Showtime, but almost everyone watches Netflix.
4. Could Open Doors to Other Nintendo Possibilities
This is obviously a starry-eyed dream her, but I'm going to allow myself to have it for this moment. You think about the amount of effort that would be put into a Netflix original series centered around The Legend of Zelda series and the success that it could wield, you can begin to think of Nintendo and Netflix venturing hand-in-hand to create other original series centered on some of their other characters. Maybe a 3-D animated series centered on Mario Bros, Donkey Kong, or any one of their more cartoon-ish characters with the help of those who work at Disney Animated Studios.
But as cool as that would be, that wouldn't be where my heart would lay. I would hope that the success of The Legend of Zelda Netflix series could open doors for none other than a live-action adaptation of Metroid.
Only time will reveal what exactly Nintendo and Netflix has in store. For all we know, the deal could fall through and no live-action adaptation may ever be made. But however cautious I remain to prepare myself for disappointment, I will remain hopeful because this is the kind of thing that Nintendo gamers have dreamed of for a long time.
What do you guys think of all of this? Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas on who should play the characters and how the show should be directed, and don't forget to vote in the poll!