Alright. So we all know that a Legend of Zelda live-action series is reportedly being developed for Netflix. For the sake of this article, we'll assume this is true. Although frankly, it's not confirmed yet...
So first off, YAY!
Or is it "Nay?"
This brings up many questions about how they are going to translate this beloved video game series into an enjoyable live-action series that, most importantly, won't disappoint the fans. Today we're going to get into some of those questions, so let's call Epona, saddle up, and get right into it:
#1: The Issue of Link
Translating Link is clearly going to be one of the hardest things about this show. For starters, he has about (roughly) 2 lines of dialogue across all the games and one of them are just him saying his name (CD-I games, *shiver* do not count and are not considered canon according to Nintendo). Adding dialogue to the character will feel extremely odd for longtime players of the franchise. Newcomers won’t feel it, but when it comes to the success of this show I believe it heavily relies on the support of the fans. A talking Link will feel quite strange for the fans coming from a character who we are only used to hearing “HA!”, “HYAH!” and “AAAAAHHHHHH!” from.
Also, getting the right actor is going to be... quite difficult. I truly cannot think of an actor that I would be okay with playing Link, and believe me...I have tried. I've considered just about every actor with a name and I just CANNOT see anyone playing Link. Some people suggested Nicholas Hoult or Grant Gustin and all I have to say to that is, "...Meh."
Nicholas Hoult just isn’t Link, and Grant Gustin is a pretty-boy-tween-dream who would be even worse, and the only reason people are suggesting him is because he's hot right now because of The Flash television series.
The point is that I grew up with The Legend of Zelda, as some of you reading this did as well, and playing Link as long as I have has created this image of him in my brain that is so unshakable. I have sadly come to the conclusion that I do not really want to see a live-action version of him. That being said, if this rumor is real, I would suggest the possibility of an actor who may not have made a name for himself yet, I’m open to suggestions of current actors but I highly doubt I will agree. Not because I don’t want to (In fact, quite the contrary), I just simply cannot bring myself to get excited about seeing him in live-action, period. Regardless of who the actor is.
#2: The Other Characters
This is much easier, and for some reason this barrier I have for Link is nonexistent with the other characters. Zelda is an interesting character that is very dynamic, Ganondorf is possibly my favorite video game villain of all time, and Navi is an annoying little sh*t.
I’ll leave the fan cast up to someone else because I’m at a loss for who could play them, but I would have no problem seeing these characters translated into live-action. There are so many other characters that it’s hard to even think of them all, but that’s what I’m assuming the main cast would be (minus Navi, hopefully). I’m not sure why I have no problem with these characters being translated and not Link, but for some reason or another, that’s the way it is.
#3: The Plot
Alright, we’re getting to the sensitive bits now, Netflix and Nintendo need to tread very lightly on this in my opinion. Firstly, no matter what they do, they won’t please everyone. That’s a given, it’s the rule that goes for every new movie or series or whatever. The difference is with The Legend of Zelda having such a large following. I'll wager nearly every one of those fans will AT LEAST watch the first episode too, and the majority of those fans need to be satisfied or the chance of the show succeeding are significantly lowered. Obviously. That being said it also has to appeal to a new audience because, well it just has to draw in viewership. The show won’t be able to survive on fan support alone, especially because not every fan will enjoy it. The fact that it's on Netflix will help that, but I truly believe that it still needs to introduce the world of Zelda to people who otherwise wouldn’t have checked it out, and it needs to do it well. Secondly, I’m thinking it should be an original story as opposed to being based off of one of the games.
Hear me out. Those stories are amazing stories, but I feel that those stories are best told through the medium of video games. I’ll admit it has a little to do with the fact that I am already worried about the show being good in general, but if they pollute my favorite stories I won’t be able to forgive them. On the other hand, if they perfectly translate them it could be wonderful. But let’s be honest which one is more likely? And besides that, there are other factors...
This is one of the reasons why I think they should make it an original story. They need to prove that they can translate this world without sticking to a script, winning the hearts of the fans and the non-fans alike.
But all of that being said, here is my main reason for saying that if this happens they should make it an original story…
#4: The Official Zelda Timeline
This is not only why I think it should be an original story, but also one of the main reasons why I don’t believe this rumor is going to come true at all. Nintendo likes to leave things intentionally ambiguous, they make their fans debate and argue and speculate/theorize because they want the creative interaction, and one of the things that makes this possible is the medium of video games. With a live-action series they simply cannot be as ambiguous as they love to be, they have to explain things or people will get frustrated and stop watching.
Let Me Explain:
Nintendo has released an Official Zelda Timeline that essentially confirmed the existence of the Zelda Multiverse. The Zelda Multiverse is based on the "Many Worlds Theory" which states that every possibility of every situation will happen, just in an alternate universe. For example, if you were forced to choose between having Life Cereal or Apple Jacks this morning, you created an alternate universe where the other "You" chose the cereal that you didn’t. So how does this apply to Zelda? Well, according to the Official Zelda Timeline, The Ocarina of Time is where the Zelda Universe splits into 3 different realities, and multiple games/stories are told based on each one, in other words, there is not a simple beginning and end. There is a beginning and multiple endings. I won’t get further into it, but if you want to learn more about that there is a video I linked up there when I was talking about the cereal that I recommend watching if you haven't already.
The point being there is no one definitive story line to The Legend of Zelda, their method of storytelling is much better suited through video games, and would not translate well from video games to live-action. There are some other things that I don’t believe would translate well, and there are more things that Nintendo loves to be ambiguous about in The Legend of Zelda, but I’m going to end it here because this is starting to get long and I think I could probably talk about this for approximately way too f***ing long.
The Bottom Line:
This hurts me to say, but I have come to the conclusion that even though I love The Legend of Zelda very much, I do not want to see a live-action iteration of it. In my personal opinion they should continue with their amazing storytelling through the wonderful games they have made and continue to make.
Thanks so much for reading, and let me know how you feel in the comments. I have prepared my body.