Last month rumours of a Netflix exclusive Legend of Zelda series emerged from the internet. With the possibility of a series becoming a reality, the question occurs more and more, Could a Legend of Zelda live-action series work?
Minds remain pessimistic of the idea, we’ve seen an official series of the franchise before, but excuuuuuuse me, surely there must be a better way to reproduce the legendary games to an actual engaging series.
There’s been attempts to make a fan-series before, and even now The Zelda Project which has been in production for two years is attempting “to bring to life the characters, settings, and overall feel of Ocarina Of Time through photography and film”. The teaser trailer uses the epic Hyrulian music, vivid lighting and cheap CGI to achieve an enticing trailer. It’s cheesy, it’s cringeworthy, but it works.
Let’s be realistic here, an attempt to turn the campy save-the-princess plot into a fully fledged live-action series could never become a fully serious series. The land of Hyrule is diverse with the central Hyrule Castle, the Gorons and Zoras roaming the land and the daft iconic outfit – it all sounds too ridiculous to be taken seriously. But more importantly is the protagonist. Link is a voiceless character who we’re meant to believe is a hero. There is no real characterisation to him other than his attraction and relationship with Princess Zelda – but it’s essential that a series does vocalise Link into more than just a hero.
The beauty of Link in video games is that the player can imagine Link’s personality. We’re left with open expressions and scenes where we just assume what Link had responded to others. Link doesn’t even have to be called Link! Immediately when starting the game you’re asked to name your character, leaving the player to imagine his name, his personality and his responses to others.
If Netflix are to create this series, we must have a successfully imaginative mind that can create an electrifying persona to Link rather than our stereotyped hero. Several Netflix exclusive programmes such as Orange is the New Black or Bojack Horseman have proven that even the unlikely storylines such as life in a woman’s prison or a parodical cartoon of a washed-up actor can work under the right moderation. If the correct writer, director and actors are picked, we could have ourselves another unlikely storyline to become a success.
To be truly successful, I personally believe that Nintendo need little input to the programme. Nintendo are dedicated in portraying the land of Hyrule in a family friendly way, when in reality Hyrule is violent, corrupt and dangerous. That doesn’t mean we need to make The Legend of Zelda become Game of Thrones; a series could still lack excessive violence, profanity, sexual scenes and still be mature. With the recent re-make of Majora’s Mask, it’s only right to highlight just how mature and frightening the land of Termia is. There’s still a variety of characters with various saddening storylines, it’s actually the perfect dystopian Zelda game! But Link himself must also be as explored as these other characters. Link needs more to him such as a backstory, a broken-hero persona or something else engaging. In fact, Majora’s Mask could be the perfect founding template for a successful live-action series.
Not only is maturity important, but also the acceptance that Hyrule is absurd. We need meta jokes that accept that certain parts of the Zelda formula such as Princess Zelda being in peril, Links green costume are too ridiculous. Even action-based programmes need their comical relief – and meta jokes is most probably the best way to achieve this.
So yes, I’d like to think that under severe control and production, a Zelda live-action series could work. Of course the rumours that Netflix are considering one is interesting enough – but if it actually happens should Nintendo fans rejoice or cry in peril?
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