Cancelled Zelda movie trailer resurfaces after 16 years

Cancelled Zelda movie trailer resurfaces after 16 years
Images via Nintendo

Written by 

Tom Chapman


14th Nov 2023 14:25

Hyrule is calling us, and to be honest, it's about damn time. Although there's the often-forgotten animated series from 1989 and the canned plans for a live-action Netflix seriesThe Legend of Zelda has never managed to break its way onto the silver screen. That's all changing with Sony's upcoming outing.

With Link first trying to save the kingdom back in 1986, we've got many decades of lore and games to pick from when it comes to bringing Zelda to life as a movie. The success of The Super Mario Bros. Movie has renewed our hope in video game adaptations, and once upon a time, Zelda could've taken the Mario route.

2007 Zelda movie trailer resurfaces

As reported by The Digital Fix (unearthing an old Forbes article), animator Adam Holmes pulled together a CGI Zelda pitch trailer for Imagi Animation Studios in 2007. In case you don't know, Imagi was remembered for 2007's TMNT and 2009's Astro Boy, before going bankrupt in 2010.

Back in the day, Holmes shot and edited the CGI trailer, featuring Link, Zelda, and an oddly handsome Ganondorf. Princess Zelda is transporting a mythical artefact (we assume part of the Triforce) before a gang of nightmarish Bokoblins attacks her carriage. Link saves the day, boldly brandishing his sword against Ganondorf.

We're reminded of the art style of Star Wars' The Clone Wars, but with a darker tone, we can't help but think about what could've been. The CGI trailer doesn't seem to replicate the style of any of the games, suggesting Holmes' project would've branched out from what we'd seen from the past of the Zeldaverse.

What happened to the animated Zelda movie?

The Legend of Zelda cartoon 1989
Click to enlarge
DIC Entertainment

According to a 2013 IGN article, Nintendo passed on the Zelda movie due to the failure of 1993's live-action Super Mario Bros. movie. The Bob Hoskins-led movie is largely panned as one of the worst of all time, with Hoskins famously distancing himself from it. Still, 14 years after the Mario debacle, it's sad to think Nintendo was still wary. 

It's been a slow and steady climb to where we are today. Following Super Mario Bros., we've only had a handful of movies like 1999's direct-to-video Donkey Kong Country: The Legend of the Crystal Coconut until 2023's record-breaking Mario. For better or for worse, all of that's about to change.

There's already been talk of a Mario Cinematic Universe, potentially expanding into a Donkey Kong or Luigi's Mansion spin-off. Beyond that, The Super Mario Bros. Movie was littered with Easter eggs, hinting at everything from Starfox to Sonic. 

Of course, the fact The Maze Runner's Wes Ball is working on a live-action Zelda suggests that it'll be separate from all of the above. There are obvious worries that the sheer scope of Zelda makes it too hard to adapt, but with fans waiting years for this, we hope it's too big to fail. Please, don't let this one fail.

Tom is Trending News Editor at GGRecon, with an NCTJ qualification in Broadcast Journalism and over seven years of experience writing about film, gaming, and television. With bylines at IGN, Digital Spy, Den of Geek, and more, Tom’s love of horror means he's well-versed in all things Resident Evil, with aspirations to be the next Chris Redfield.

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