Recently, there were some rumblings of Netflix working on a television series adaptation of Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda games. It turns out they were, in fact, just rumors. However, this got me thinking. How would a live-action Zelda show, work? Here’s what I’d do:
First up, we have Link, our protagonist. In the games, Link never speaks (primarily because there hasn’t been any real voice acting in any of the Zelda games, but also because the few games Link spoke in were so horrible, Nintendo decided to silence him forever). The same would apply to the television show. In games like Ocarina of Time or Twilight Princess, Link has a sidekick that does most of the talking for him. The TV show would keep the sidekick, but dial them down a bit. Instead, we would let the actor portraying Link, actually, you know, act. He would never say a word (outside of the occasional “Yah!” or grunts from the games), but his expressions and mannerisms could speak volumes. As an example, let’s adapt a scene from Majora’s Mask, where Link only has three days to stop a world from being crushed by its own moon.
Int. Woodfall Temple – Odolwa’s Lair
Link looks around the seemingly empty empty room. While investigating, the faint sound of tribal music can be heard in the background. As Link and Tatl search, the music gets louder and louder, until trumpeting the arrival of ODOLWA, a tall, slender warrior-creature complete with a sword and shield. Link is able to dodge an Odolwa’s initial strike, and the two come to blows. As the two are engaged in combat, the room begins to shake. Sporadically at first, but the shakes begin to happen with more frequency.
As Tatl fails to get Link’s attention, we see the moon inching closer and closer to Clock Town. Exterior shot of Woodfall Temple shaking. Link continues to battle Odolwa with ferocity.
Link, I know beating this guy is important to you, but we’re out of time.
With this, Odolwa’s lair begins shaking violently, pushing Link and Odolwa apart. Link gives Tatl a defeated look and pulls out his Ocarina. As Odolwa rises to his feet, Link begins playing the Song of Time. Odolwa makes his way toward the hero, who gives the creature a very determined look. Link will fix this. Time skips as Link and Tatl travel back to the first day.
With this, I would love to see the show tackle Majora’s Mask for a season. In fact, every season of the show should tackle a different Legend of Zelda game. Some games are larger than others, so they may take a couple of seasons. To give viewers a breather, there would definitely be filler episodes. This would be easy, as the game already has this built in with side-quests. In Ocarina of Time, there is a sequence of trading and quests you can take that eventually net you the most powerful weapon in the game, the Biggoron’s Sword. The show could play this for laughs as Link is constantly getting side-tracked by people asking for help on his quest to take down Ganon.
I mentioned earlier that each season (or seasons) would cover a different game in the series. In the games themselves, each adventure takes place in a different point in time, with a different Link in (almost) every game. The television show could pull this off as well, with a new cast ever few seasons, and a new Link (kind of like how the Doctor “regenerates” every few seasons in Doctor Who).
The tone of the show would be a light-hearted adventure. Yes, it’s a fantasy setting, but this isn’t Game of Thrones, or even Lord of the Rings. This is the tale of a young man exploring strange lands and helping out every person he can. If anything, I would compare the tone of the show to Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. In this show, there was a definite goal, or big bad each season, but there were plenty of stops along the way, and a lot of room for fun to be had. That’s what it all boils down to. The Legend of Zelda games are some of my favorites among video games for one reason and one reason alone: They’re fun. You want to make a Legend of Zelda show that can stand alongside it’s video game father? Just make it fun.