Netflix Cancelled A Live-Action Zelda Series

Netflix Cancelled A Live-Action Zelda Series

Written by 

Tom Chapman


3rd Feb 2021 09:45

While Netflix had the chance to "Hyrule" it over the ratings, it turns out the streaming giant once axed its plans for a live-action The Legend of Zelda series. Since the release of The Legend of Zelda on the Nintendo Entertainment System back in 1987, we've watched Link and Zelda become a gaming golden couple that rivals even Peach and Mario. Despite Link's name not even appearing in the franchise's title, that hasn't stopped the tunic-wearing Hylian being an icon of Nintendo alongside the likes of Pikachu and that portly plumber.

When it comes to the Zelda series, we've come a long way from the 2D dungeon scroller of the '80s, with a particular high being the Nintendo 64's The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Dubbed by some as the best video game of all time, some thought nothing would ever be able to topple Ocarina from the top. Even though the jury's out, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has given Ocarina a run for its money on the Nintendo Switch. As the franchise continues to keep us dancing like Durina the Goron, fans are rightly asking, where is a live-action Zelda series?


What was the live-action Zelda series?

Netflix is no stranger to fantasy epics, with the runaway success of The Witcher kick-starting a slate of similar shows on the platform. However, it turns out that long before Geralt of Rivia was bewitching viewers, there were plans for a live-action Zelda series. College Humor star Adam Conover claims a live-action Zelda series was in the works around 2014 while he was working on a claymation Star Fox series for Nintendo. Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto was reportedly involved in at least the Star Fox show, but it's Conover's Zelda story that is arguably more impressive.

According to Conover, Nintendo axed both Star Fox and The Legend of Zelda when someone leaked information about the latter. He goes on to speculate someone at Netflix was responsible for the leak. Discussing what happened, Conover explained, "Suddenly, there were reports Netflix wasn't going to do its Legend of Zelda anymore. I was like 'what happened?' And then I heard from my boss we weren't doing our Star Fox anymore. I was like 'what happened?'. He was like, 'someone at Netflix leaked the Legend of Zelda thing, they weren't supposed to talk about it, Nintendo freaked out and they pulled the plug on everything, the entire programme to adapt these things". 

Back in 2014, we were still riding high on the success of Game of Thrones (in a pre-Season 8 world) and there were only dreams that The Witcher would come to live-action. These days, HBO is still expanding its Thronesverse, The Witcher is going strong, and Amazon is working on an epic Lord of the Rings adaptation. Ultimately, Conover said he's glad Netflix didn't end up making Zelda, saying, "This is not Lord of the Rings". In 2015, the Wall Street Journal claimed a source "familiar" with Netflix confirmed the live-action Zelda series, which they described as "Game of Thrones for a family audience".


Will there still be a live-action Zelda series?

The world of Zelda extends far beyond the video games thanks to board games, comic books, novels, and even a short-lived animated series in 1989. Pop culture loves the Zelda franchise, while Robin Williams named his daughter Zelda due to his love of the series. In fact, both Williams and his daughter were featured in an advert to promote Ocarina on the 3DS. Surely Zelda Williams is made for a role in a live-action Zelda series?

Of course, Nintendo has a chequered past when it comes to live-action adaptations. While Detective Pikachu was a record-breaking hit for video game movies, will anyone ever forget the dumpster fire that was Super Mario Bros.? If we are going to get a live-action Zelda series, here's hoping it leans into the Game of Thrones-style of action and doesn't water it down for a family audience. Zelda games have always been best when they're at their darkest, and let's be honest, Hyrule isn't exactly the happiest realm of the land. 

Rumours of a Zelda series have been doing the rounds for longer than anyone would care to admit. The problem is, it's such a huge franchise to tackle. With multiple timelines and eras to pick from, where do you even start with a live-action Zelda series? The logical route to go down would be a gritty adaptation of Ocarina that unfolds over a multi-season arc that tackles young and adult Link. Then again, that's just a hopeful pipe dream for now. With Zelda celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2021, could this year be the time for a big announcement? Here's hoping?


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Images via Nintendo | Netflix

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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