Following the success of Pokémon: Detective Pikachu and The Super Mario Bros Movie, Nintendo has confirmed that a live-action movie based its The Legend of Zelda franchise is in the works. Perhaps more surprising is that the company’s old console wars rival, Sony, is co-producing the film. The film will be produced by Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto and Avi Arad, chairman of Arad Productions.
I have asked Avi-san to produce this film with me, and we have now officially started the development of the film with Nintendo itself heavily involved in the production. It will take time until its completion, but I hope you look forward to seeing it. https://t.co/2H9lzzS5Pv
— 任天堂株式会社 (@Nintendo) November 7, 2023
This is not the first time that news of a Legend of Zelda film adaptation have circulated around the internet. Film studios such as Universal and Illumination (the latter of which would go on to produce The Super Mario Bros Movie) have been rumoured to be working on the movie. Now an official announcement has been finally made, with Sony Pictures Entertainment attached. According to Deadline Hollywood, The Maze Runner director Wes Ball will direct the movie with Jurassic World writer Derek Connolly writing the script.
An adaptation of the Legend of Zelda presents some unique challenges in regards to the depiction of its protagonist, Link. Pokémon: Detective Pikachu made the canny decision to adapt a spin-off game, giving the film more leeway to utilise a voiced protagonist with his own clear identity as opposed to the silent avatars usually played in the mainline Pokémon video games. While the Super Mario Bros Movie was not the first time Mario has been fully voiced, the casting announcement was still controversial. With this The Legend of Zelda movie being live action, there will likely be even more scrutiny surrounding whoever is eventually cast, on top of how Link and Zelda are depicted. There is also the question of which incarnation of the video game series will be adapted, with the many previous entries varying widely in tone, setting and supporting cast. The important thing is that Nintendo has confirmed that it will be heavily involved in the production, which should at least ensure a good degree of quality control.
A film adaptation of The Legend of Zelda sounds like a no-brainer, but it will be a challenging endeavour. With the Zelda franchise overall having sold over 150 million units, many gamers have a strong attachment to the characters and setting, so getting this adaptation right is crucial. No release date or window has yet been announced, so we will have to await more information as the movie is developed.