Hey! Listen! Did you hear? They’re making a live action Legend of Zelda TV series. The much loved, 30-year-old video game franchise from Nintendo is coming to Netflix. I read it everywhere on the internet.
The Wall Street Journal’s source claims it will be “Game of Thrones for a family audience”, which is like saying they’re remaking The Texas Chainsaw Massacre for pre-schoolers, but we won’t dwell.
So, should we start pulling on our green tights, practising our ocarinas and booking a ticket to Hyrule?
Not yet. First, even if the source is accurate, it makes clear the plans are in an early stage of development and are still in need of writers. Also, video game adaptations have a bad track record of actually getting to the screen. Microsoft’s own studio closed last year before producing a single show and a John Woo directed version of Metroid, another Nintendo mega-game, simply disappeared.
The idea certainly isn’t stupid, although it’s worth remembering that Link (the hero) is mute in the games. There was a short-lived cartoon back in the 1980s, which turned the Hero of Time into a randy, sub-Chandler-from-Friends wisecracker obsessed with getting a kiss from Princess Zelda. He even had a catchphrase…
Somehow people still look back on that with nostalgia.
But ever since the debacle of the Super Mario Brothers movie – which the late Bob Hoskins named the worst thing he ever did, his biggest disappointment and the one thing about his past he wishes he could have changed – Nintendo has been reticent to let other people play with their characters.
Zelda is especially hard to get right. Look what happened when Philips were allowed to use Link for their ill-fated CDi console.
Yet that hasn’t stopped the rumours and doomed attempts to get a TV show off the ground. There have been numerous fan-created hysterias over announcements that never came, a phenomenon known among fans as ‘Megaton’ after a piece of equipment in the Zelda games. There have been pitches for movies that were never made…
And there has even been April Fools Day jokes that the fans simply can’t let go. This current rumour seems more solid than most, but getting too excited is to court disappointment.
We’re not saying the rumours are definitely not true. We very much hope they are, if only for the potential opening theme tune. But until an official announcement, maybe it’s best to keep playing Ocarina of Time over and over again.