Between The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Five Nights at Freddy's and Gran Turismo, 2023 has been a huge year for video game movies. But a new project has been announced that could leave all three of those projects in Epona's dust. That's right, the iconic and best-selling Legend of Zelda franchise is finally getting adapted into a feature film, but don't expect it to follow in the boot-steps of Mario and Luigi's animated adventure. This project will be fully live-action, although one can expect for there to be plenty of CGI.
As officially revealed by Nintendo, development is moving forward on the new project with the video game mastermind Shigeru Miyamoto, who will serve as producer alongside Hollywood producer Avi Arad, who is best known for being behind the scenes of Sony's Marvel franchises, from Daredevil and Hulk to Across the Spider-Verse and the upcoming Kraven the Hunter.
Here's the message that Miyamoto shared on X accompanying the official release:
This is Miyamoto. I have been working on the live-action film of The Legend of Zelda for many years now with Avi Arad-san, who has produced many mega hit films. I have asked Avi-san to produce this film with me, and we have now officially started the development of the film with Nintendo itself heavily involved in the production. It will take time until its completion, but I hope you look forward to seeing it.
Incredibly, the game developer shared the Legend of Zelda live-action movie has been years in the making, with the creative team apparently feeling good enough now with their progress to go public with the confirmation. And even though some of us here at CinemaBlend had hopes for a Zelda film that followed Mario as an animated feature, it sounds like we can look forward to seeing a real actor taking on the role of the tunic-favoring Link. I hope the sword budget is out of this world.
What's more The Legend of Zelda already has a director in the form of Wes Ball, who helmed the Maze Runner trilogy, and also directed the upcoming blockbuster Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes. At this point, fans may or may not have some concerns about Ball bringing such a highly lauded franchise to live-action for the first time, with Avi Arad's track record also a potential cause for worry. Movies like Ghost in the Shell and Morbius, for instance, do not stand tall as "great uses of IP," but it's impossible to lose faith in a project like this with Miyamoto guiding things.
It sounds like Illumination's CEO Chris Meledrandri wasn't lying when he previously debunked rumors about his company reteaming with Nintendo for a Legend of Zelda movie. In fact, the gaming giant will be working with something of a rival entity for this, as it will be co-financed by Sony Pictures Entertainment, which will also be distributing the adaptation. But don't go expecting PlayStation 5 to start teasing any exclusive spinoffs, at least I hope. If this movie makes as much as Mario did, all bets may be off.
No premiere window has been announced, of course, with Hyrule's gates only now starting to open for the production to kick off. But here's hoping this is the fastest movie ever filmed that also manages to be amazing and completely perfect. A tall order, but one that a hero like Link will surely be up for.