Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda is one video game property that’s long been regarded by its fans as ripe material for either a live-action film and/or TV adaptation, given its inherent cinematic qualities. There was a short-lived (and frequently parodied) Legend of Zelda animated series released in the late 1980s, but earlier this year a fresh report emerged claiming Netflix is working on a new Zelda series – one that would bring the world of Hyrule to life on the small screen as a family-friendly, lavishing live-action fantasy show.
… But, it seems that might not be the case after all. This new update on a prospective Legend of Zelda Netflix series comes from no less an authority than Nintendo President and CEO Satoru Iwata.
Iwata spoke exclusively with Time about such topics as Nintendo’s future development plans; how the company is dealing with weaker-than-desired sales for its Wii U gaming console; and whether there’s any truth to the Legend of Zelda live-action Netflix series report. Here is what Iwata had to say about the Zelda TV show, specifically:
“As of now, I have nothing new to share with you in regard to the use of our IPs for any TV shows or films, but I can at least confirm that the article in question is not based on correct information.”
It’s worth noting that Iwata’s comment seems to indicate that a Legend of Zelda live-action Netflix series isn’t currently in the cards – but, at the same time, his statement does leave some room for interpretation. The original Zelda Netflix series report (from TWSJ) said the project “had a long road to travel” before becoming a reality, and that a screenwriter had not even been hired to work on the project at the time. So, even the initial report made it clear: the ultimate fate of this Zelda screen adaptation is very much in flux for the time being.
It could just be that a Legend of Zelda series is merely something that Nintendo has casually discussed with Netflix, but that the two companies have not yet reached the deal-making stage required by such a join venture. Similarly, it’s possible that a Zelda Netflix series is one of multiple ideas that Nintendo has talked about internally only – as opposed to being something in “early development,” as the WSJ article suggested.
Truth be told, even fans are somewhat split on whether Legend of Zelda ought to be adapted as a fantasy epic for the small screen – with production values that rival Game of Thrones‘ – or, as a Lord of the Rings-style big-budget feature for the big screen. There are benefits and drawbacks to adapting the Zelda video game lore for either medium, so it could be that Nintendo is currently weighing the pros and cons of both before settling on a course of action (like, say, committing to a Legend of Zelda live-action Netflix series).
There are a number of video game based movies currently in the pipeline (Assassin’s Creed, Uncharted, the Tomb Raider reboot, and so forth), so it’s certainly possible that Nintendo is waiting to see how one of those projects does. Similarly, next month Marvel Studio is going to premiere its live-action Daredevil Netflix series – another geek IP-based project that Nintendo might be watching closely, to see if Marvel’s big-screen success is translated to the Netflix model.
In summation: best to take and “wait and see” approach, with respect to a Legend of Zelda Netflix series right now. In the meantime, feel free and let us know which you would prefer to see: a live-action Zelda television show (be it a Netflix series or cable program) or a big-budget live-action Zelda film feature.
We’ll continue to keep you posted on all Legend of Zelda movie/TV series-related developments in the future.