In the age of massively successful superhero movies and shared cinematic universes, it was only a matter of time before video games started to get the same treatment. Sure, there have been movies that use video game properties as their source material for years, but the quality of these pictures typically left fans wanting something more. With the added benefit of incredibly realistic and convincing digital effects and new animation techniques that bring video game worlds to life, it makes sense that video game film adaptations are seeing a resurgence in popularity. Of course, none of this would be possible without the incredible success of the Super Mario Bros. Movie.
Hugely successful animation studio Illumination’s partnership with Nintendo to create an animated feature that does the iconic Italian plumber justice is currently sitting as one of the most successful motion pictures of 2023. The film, despite receiving middling reviews, was a huge hit with audiences and video game fans alike, doing a great job at capturing some of the magic that continues to help Mario endure more than 40 years since his debut. Now that Nintendo has quantifiable proof that a film adaptation of one of its marquis franchises can be a success, it only makes sense that the rumor mill is churning once again regarding a Legend of Zelda adaptation.
The Legend of Zelda Movie Rumor – History
The truth is, there have been rumors of a Legend of Zelda film adaptation for more than a decade. Following the disasterous live-action Super Mario Bros. starring Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo, Nintendo understandably put some distance between its hugely successful IP and any on-screen adaptations. The one exception to this rule was the Pokémon franchise, which can count a hugely successful animated series and several feature-length films as part of its multimedia legacy. For a number of reasons, perhaps because of the importance of the Zelda franchise as a narrative-driven series, The Legend of Zelda has largely evaded every receiving more than a successful manga adaptation.
Back in 2008, popular games media site IGN made headlines with an April Fool’s Day prank that left fans reeling. Releasing what appeared to be a genuine trailer for a live action Legend of Zelda movie, the clip quickly went viral before the world collectively realized what the publication date was. Once everyone came to their senses and saw through the ruse, though, it still helped to beg the question over what a Legend of Zelda movie might look like with the benefit of modern filmmaking techniques. With The Super Mario Bros. Movie grossing well into the billion dollar mark, the writing is now on the wall for a genuine attempt at a Zelda movie or series.
The Legend of Zelda Movie Rumor – Recent Rumblings
The most recent rumor surrounding a film adaptation of The Legend of Zelda comes courtesy of a tweet from user MyTimeToShineHello, posting that Universal is currently working on a live-action film adaptation of Nintendo’s popular franchise. While many were quick to jump on the ensuing hype train and imagine their favorite actors in several iconic roles, others have pointed out that a live-action adaptation doesn’t make much sense. The Legend of Zelda is one of Nintendo’s most successful IP, and the two most recent entries account for over half of the series’ entire sales. If a live-action adaptation were to flop, it would tarnish the series’ sterling reputation.
In the pre-MCU era, a live-action adaptation of The Legend of Zelda would have never worked. That said, the success of the MCU and the feats that modern day effects studios are capable of now make a worthwhile live-action Legend of Zelda movie a possibility. Still, unless the production were able to source some serious high-caliber talent and net a gifted screenwriter to pen the script, a live-action Zelda film has every chance to flop – and hard. What’s much more likely, and more sensical, is that The Legend of Zelda will get its own animated feature like Super Mario Bros.
The Legend of Zelda Movie Rumor – Why An Animated Adaptation Makes Sense
The Zelda series has an absolute treasure trove of source material to pull from in crafting a film adaptation. That said, much of the series’ trademark charm comes from its ever-changing and evolving art style and design aesthetic. When it comes to whether it would be easier to capture the series’ tone and feel in a live action or animated film, the answer is abundantly clear. The Legend of Zelda would absolutely benefit from a talented animation studio’s handling. For evidence of how a film adaptation can shine with the right studio, look no further than The Super Mario Bros. Movie.
Illumination have several successful and great-looking animated features under their belts, including the hugely successful Dispicible Me and Minions franchises. The work that the studio accomplished with Mario is nothing short of eye candy for fans who have grown up playing the games and spending countless hours in The Mushroom Kingdom. If anyone is going to realize Hyrule successfully, it will need to be an animation studio that understands the world and the creatures that inhabit it. Even though there’s much more narrative potential in a Legend of Zelda movie than there is with Mario, it’s a safe bet that the movie itself will feature plenty of fan-service and nostaligia, and Nintendo and Illumination have already proven that they can successfully nail that in spades.