The Legend of Zelda Series Producer Eiji Aonuma has expressed interest in Nintendo bringing Link to the silver screen, though he admits the decision is outside his control.
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Amid the rip-roaring success of The Super Mario Bros. Movie — reaching over $1 billion worldwide less than a month after premiere — fans have been wondering what Nintendo IP will be adapted next. Nintendo veteran Shigeru Miyamoto suggested there would be a future production, emphasizing, “Nintendo is like a talent agency. We have many other entertainers (on our roster).”
Another Nintendo success story is The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, selling 10 million units worldwide in three days and becoming the fastest-selling title in the history of the series. Along with rave-reviews, it’s become the sixth game in 30 years to have perfect scores from both Japan’s Famitsu and the UK’s Edge magazines — as well as the fourth Zelda title to do so.
With the series and video game films on everyone’s minds, Series Producer Eiji Aonuma has discussed a potential movie.
In an interview with Polygon’s Mike Mahardy, Aonuma and Game Director Hidemaro Fujibayashi discussed The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom — touching on game design and inspirations, development, changes from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, plus influences from prior titles and other video games.
While Aonuma and Fujibayashi were asked what content didn’t make the cut, neither could answer without causing trouble. Mahardy followed up ,”Just to ask you another question you probably can’t answer: Does the recent success of the Mario movie have you excited for the prospect of a Zelda adaptation?”
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“I have to say, I am interested. For sure,” Aonuma responded. “But it’s not just me being interested in something that makes things happen, unfortunately.” Fujibayashi added, “Maybe the voice of the fans is what’s important here.”
The closest The Legend of Zelda has gotten to an adaption was the 1989 DIC Entertainment US cartoon, shown as part of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! Aside from the dated and cheap animation, the show has gained infamy for portraying Link as snarky and arrogant, and on the surface motivated by getting a kiss from Zelda.
When rejected or hindered, this leads to the show’s notorious “Well excuuuse me, princess!” catchphrase, which eventually grew into a meme.
Beyond that, The Legend of Zelda outside of video games has been restricted to comic books and manga, the latter typically based around particular video games. This would seemingly give Nintendo and Illumination an open slate on what to do, and there are some clear directions they would go in. Even so, several key questions arise.
Looking to popular fantasy adventure films would likely be a good starting point, such as Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Working alongside Illumination — and CEO Chris Meledandri also being on Nintendo’s board of directors — also nigh-guarantees a CGI film.
An original story inspired by the series would also fit the trend set by The Super Mario Bros. Movie and — arguably to a lesser degree — Sonic the Hedgehog, rather than a direct adaption of a single game’s plot.
One of the key questions would be the film’s tone. Much like how fans were divided between Winder Waker having a colorful and child-friendly art style, and Twilight Princess being far darker, what would this hypothetical Zelda film aim for? Illumination’s typical tongue-in-cheek sass may give fans flashbacks to DIC’s efforts, and a soundtrack loaded with pop music is also unlikely to fit a fantasy epic.
Would the film have plenty of side-characters as in Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom, or would it focus on Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf? Do you keep Link mute or dare to give him a voice again? Which games do you take as inspiration for Zelda’s personality? Do you focus on recent game elements like Link having powers or revert back to the classic green tunic and an arsenal of tools and weapons?
For now, it seems the fate of the film’s existence rests rests on fans making their voices heard.
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