According to The Wall Street Journal, a source close to the matter says Netflix is in the early stages of creating a live-action show based on The Legend of Zelda video game series. The premise of the show is basic to Zelda fans: ordinary boy (Link) saves a princess (Zelda) from evil forces while saving the kingdom of Hyrule and becoming a hero in the process. The tone of the show is described as a light-hearted Game of Thrones made for a family audience, as Nintendo’s games traditionally are. The project is in very early stages, not yet having a writer, and may be canned before it gets off the ground. Nintendo over the years has been super protective of its intellectually properties, especially after the uber-flop that was 1993’s Super Mario Bros. live action movie. It’s understandable that Nintendo would be hesitant to potentially shed a bad light on their characters especially now as they struggle to sell gaming consoles.
It seems only recently that Nintendo has been willing to license-out it’s characters for to other companies. The most recent Dynasty Warriors game, named Hyrule Warriors, featured the land of Hyrule with many of The Legend of Zelda’s characters such as Link, Zelda, Ganondorf, and Tingle. While the game’s skin was uniquely “Zelda,” the gameplay was classic Dynasty Warriors, a.k.a. not a real “Zelda” installment. Expanding past video games, Nintendo’s characters have been popping up in things like toys, candy, and board games.
Personally, as a big Nintendo fan and an even bigger Zelda fan, I’m glad to see Nintendo letting its lore expand past games. In my opinion, Nintendo’s mythology and characters can go toe-to-toe with any fantastical worlds like Disney or Nickelodeon. Its characters are varied and deep and speak very well to a child audience as well as adults. The only difference between Disney and Nintendo is the different mediums the two companies chose to pursue. Had Nintendo wanted to make cartoon shows and movies, I’d be willing to bet that a certain Italian plumber would have more resonance than a talking rat.