Since the official word broke that Nintendo is pursuing a live-action adaptation of The Legend of Zelda, my head has been spinning with possibilities of what the film will look like. Hyrule is undoubtedly one of the most lush, intricate, and enigmatic kingdoms under Nintendo’s imaginative umbrella. When Maze Runner director Wes Ball approaches Link and Zelda’s world, he must pull out all the stops. Thankfully, it sounds like Ball is off to a great start. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Ball said he wants The Legend of Zelda to feel like a live-action Miyazaki film, which is music to my ears. Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, The Boy and the Heron, Princess Mononoke) is the legend who co-founded Studio Ghibli and is often called the “Godfather of Anime.” Imagine Link, Zelda, and Ganon inhabiting a world as fantasy-driven as Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro or Howl’s Moving Castle. The possibilities are endless.
Ball says his vision for The Legend of Zelda is “this awesome fantasy-adventure movie that isn’t like Lord of the Rings, it’s its own thing. I’ve always said, I would love to see a live-action Miyazaki. That wonder and whimsy that he brings to things, I would love to see something like that.”
The film will be produced by Shigeru Miyamoto, Representative Director and Fellow of Nintendo, and Avi Arad, Chairman of Arad Productions Inc. Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. will handle worldwide distribution of the Legend of Zelda movie, as well as co-finance the project with Nintendo. Miyamoto confirmed on X/Twitter that he has “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.” He continued: “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.”
The first Legend of Zelda game was released by Nintendo in 1986 and followed Link, a young hero who seeks to save the Kingdom of Hyrule and rescue Princess Zelda from Ganon, an evil villain who desires the Triforce to gain ultimate power. Nearly twenty sequels followed the first game, and the franchise has become one of Nintendo’s most acclaimed.
“It’s going to be awesome,” Ball promises. “My whole life has led up to this moment. I grew up on Zelda and it is the most important property, I think, that’s untapped IP, if you will. So we very much are working hard to do something. We’re not just trying to do it because we can. We want to make something really special.”
Ball says he plans to focus on The Legend of Zelda after his next project, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, wraps post-production.
“We’re working on the script, and whether it’s the next one or not, it’s hard to say exactly,” he explains. “But certainly the plan is, after Apes is done, to have a little bit of a rest for a moment, and then dive into [Zelda] and hopefully give fans what they’re hoping for, and also invite new people in. I think Nintendo’s desire is to introduce people to this world that’s been around for 40 years now.”
I like what I hear from Ball and am excited about his intentions for the adaptation. I wish him and his team the best when developing this treasured property because fans will be loud about every decision and detail. Godspeed, Mr. Ball. You’re a brave soul.