The film takes place in the Hyrule of Breath of the Wild between the events of Age of Calamity and Breath of the Wild.
by M.J. Kuhn
The topic of a Legend of Zelda movie is one that has surfaced again and again over the years. It’s an idea some fans find exciting and one that makes other fans (perhaps fans remembering the disastrous “Excuuuuse me, Princess” days of the Zelda TV show) nervous. I tend to fall into the latter camp. The Legend of Zelda is a series of fairly cinematic games featuring a completely silent protagonist. In my opinion, neither of these things scream “film adaptation"!
However, as an avid fan of the franchise, I would love to sit in a theatre or open up Netflix and watch a movie that captures the magic of Legend of Zelda. So, I decided to put my creative thinking hat on and ask myself, “How could a Zelda movie actually work?”
The first thing I decided on is going to be controversial. I’m expecting a lot of you to disagree with me here… but in my opinion, for a Legend of Zelda film to work, Link can’t be the main character.
Before you get out your torches and pitchforks, let me explain myself!
Link is purposely silent. Link is purposely androgynous. As a video game character, Link is meant to be a relatively blank canvas upon which the player can paint themselves, essentially. I legitimately cannot picture a voice, speech pattern, or personality for Link that is satisfying to me, so my Zelda movie concept is going to feature a protagonist who isn’t Link.
Additionally, I believe that we can’t just rehash the story from one of the games. The plots of games like Ocarina of Time or Twilight Princess are undoubtedly strong! But the fact that the plot of those games is strong is precisely why they probably won’t adapt well to film. While it feels like a game with a solid plot is the perfect candidate for film adaptation, I think it’s just the opposite. When you’re playing a game with a great story, you’re not only taking in the story; you’re participating in it. By taking away the ability to interact with the story environment, I predict that a game with a great plot and great gameplay being made into a movie with just a great plot and no gameplay (obviously) is guaranteed to disappoint.
SO, without further ado, here is my proposal for a Legend of Zelda film that might actually work.
The film takes place in the Hyrule of Breath of the Wild between the events of Age of Calamity and Breath of the Wild. Our protagonist is a young Hylian named Harlon who lives with his father in Hateno Village. The story begins with Harlon’s village being attacked by Moblins. Harlon and the other villagers struggle to repel the Moblins, but Harlon’s home is destroyed in the attack, resulting in the death of his father.
Harlon is sick of the constant monster invasions in Hateno. The rest of the village is content to wait for the return of the Hero of Time to save them, but Harlon wants revenge and decides to take matters into his own hands. Instead of reacting to monster attacks as they come, Harlon plans to hunt down the source, ridding Hateno Village of Moblin attacks for good.
Using the hunting and tracking skills his father taught him, Harlon follows the retreating Moblins into the Tabantha region, where he discovers that these monsters aren’t attacking and raiding of their own accord: they are fighting under a single banner. Not Ganon, who is still grappling with Zelda in Hyrule Castle, or even the infamous Yiga Clan, but a power-hungry Rito outcast named Uvekk. Uvekk is desperate to get his hands on the ancient tech lab just east of Hateno and plans to destroy the entire village in order to make it his new base of operations. Harlon makes it his mission to defeat Uvekk and protect his village from destruction.
On his journey, Harlon ends up teaming up with a fellow Hylian named Sarine and a Goron named Durami. Sarine is a talented archer, and Durami has a knack for making creative weaponry. On their travels, they encounter a Sheikah named Jura who has also been looking to stop Uvekk, and she joins their team. Working together, the four of them are able to outmaneuver and outsmart Uvekk. They defeat him, and the Moblins and other monsters under his influence disband and resume their violent--but disorganized--activities.
Hyrule as a whole is not saved, as there is still darkness spreading over the land, but without the coordination by Uvekk, the Moblins around Hateno Village and the surrounding regions are much less effective in their attacks, and Hateno Village remains standing. Harlon returns home, bringing Sarine with him. Woohoo, the end!
I do think it would be cool if in an “end credits” scene we see the cave from Breath of the Wild and sleeping Link, and then right before we cut to black we see Link’s eyes snap open, implying that Breath of the Wild kicks off right after the events of the movie.
Is this film concept perfect? Absolutely not. I am not a screenwriter, nor am I a writer for Nintendo. But I think a concept like this--a completely original story filled with familiar scenery and races but with nothing more than nods and mentions of the usual core cast --has the highest chance of success.
What do you guys think? Is there any way to make a successful Legend of Zelda film? Are you ready to disown me from the fandom for saying such a film shouldn’t have Link as the protagonist? Let’s chat it out in the comments!