Back in 2015, word started going around that Netflix was planning a Legend of Zelda live-action series. However, as soon as we learned of the series, it was reported that Nintendo had pulled the plug. So what happened? As it turns out, Nintendo got antsy about word of the show leaking out and decided they didn’t want to move forward after all – which seems like a strange reason, all things considered.
The confirmation of why Netflix and Nintendo canceled the live-action The Legend of Zelda TV series comes from Adam Conover (via Collider). During an appearance on The Serf Times podcast, Conover talked about how he was working on a different Nintendo property – a claymation Star Fox adaptation. However, both Star Fox and Legend of Zelda got shut down after word of Zelda leaked to the Wall Street Journal.
“Then, a month later, suddenly there were reports Netflix wasn’t going to do its Legend of Zelda anymore,” Conover said. “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 program to adapt these things.”
I’m not entirely sure why Nintendo would be so freaked out about a story leak that they’d pull the plug entirely. But hey, that’s their prerogative. That said, Nintendo hasn’t had the best luck when it comes to live-action adaptations of their properties. So maybe they just got cold feet. The Legend of Zelda remains a wildly popular series for Nintendo. And while there was an animated series based on the games that ran in 1989. There have been no live-action adaptations. Although you have to figure a live-action adaptation is bound to get people interested. Will Nintendo ever try to adapt Zelda again, be it live-action or some other medium? There’s an animated Super Mario Bros. movie due out in 2022. And perhaps Nintendo is waiting to see how audiences react to that before moving forward with adaptations of other games.
The first Legend of Zelda game was released in 1986 and told the story of an elf-like boy named Link who is on a quest to rescue Princess Zelda. Several sequels followed, the most recent being the acclaimed 2017 release The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and 2019’s The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. Which is a remake of the 1993 game for the Game Boy.