A Link To Live Action – Thoughts on Link’s Prospects For A New Series
The Wall Street Journal’s recent T all of a rumored love-action series based on Nintendo’s “The Legend of Zelda” series has set the internet aflame with speculation, from whether it could possibly be a good product to the specific storylines and continuity factors Netflix should use. While there are plenty of tantalizing ideas that could explore the periphery of the Zelda universe, it’s more likely that Netflix will stick closer to the series core mythology- more specifically, the story of Link. But who *is* Link? We all know him as a green-clad hero, but there are several directions the character has taken in the past, and a couple of these would be pretty likely picks to work from when crafting the show’s story.
1) The wandering hero
In the original The Legend of Zelda, Link was a traveler who came to Hyrule and got involved in the quest to save Princess Zelda from the evil Ganon. While the outsider can be a good archetype to use when you want to introduce a world from scratch, a lot of possibilities for depth and character relationships are left behind. I don’t think this one is likely for a proposed series.
2) Chosen One from the Kokiri Forest
Ocarina of Time cast Link as a young boy, the sole human living among the fairy-like Kokiri in the Lost Woods. Chosen by the Deku Tree to go on a quest to save the world, he embarks on his journey. The likelihood of this origin being chosen depends, on my estimation, in the length and target audience of the series. Going with a plot that involves talking trees and fairies would mean going for a fantastical approach to the series that might not mesh well with an older teen and adult audience, and would also mean dedicating time to exposition regarding the Kokiri, the Deku Tree, and the Lost Woods. This would also mean either casting a fairly young Link for the whole series or taking on Ocarina’s time-travel plotline, and we don’t yet know how closely Netflix plans to follow any one game.
3) The Village Boy
Link has often been cast as an ordinary villager, whether a youth at his coming-of-age as in Wind Waker or a shepherd like in Twilight Princess. Rosing from being an everyman to the hero of the land, Link could have a lot of character growth and this approach leaves the writers plenty of room to define a character and backstory. I think this is moderately likely, but I think a couple others offer more dramatic flair.
4) The Knight in Training
Both Skyward Sword and Hyrule Warriors start with an older, presumably late-teen Link in training to become a knight and protect the land when he becomes drawn into an adventure much larger than he had imagined. I think this would be a good base for developing the series’ incarnation, but O also have a feeling that this one would be picked only if the writers are aiming for an older demographic. It does mean best with a “Game if Thrones for the family,’ though, given the inherent martial undertones.
5) The blacksmith’s apprentice
A Link Between Worlds, and Minish Cap all put Link in the role of an apprentice blacksmith, forced to take up the sword by events unfolding around him. This element is ripe for the picking, in my opinion, as it gives Link a profession and reason to he familiar with arms before his adventure begins without necessarily committing to a more military basis like above or pinning down the age range for the character.
6) Descendant of Knights
The manga versions of A Link To The Past and Oracle of Ages both cast Link as a descendant of the line of knights of Hyrule. I like this element and hope it makes its way into the series- it adds an element of destiny but doesn’t detract from any other character traits, and can easily be combined with other story elements.
Of course, it’s impossible at this point to accurately predict where Netflix and Nintendo will take this TV project, or whether it will move forward at all. If it does go into production, I hope that they do draw on at least some of the existing Zelda lore and base their Link (if there is one) on some of the elements pointed out above.
Which parts do you hope make the transition to love action? Share in the comments!