For a long time there have been rumors about a Legend of Zelda television series appearing on Netflix (and no, it has nothing to do with that series- because it never happened). It was first reported in this article here, with claims that the series will be like ‘a family friendly game of thrones episode’- presumably instead of the elaborate betrayals, the big plot twist in a Zelda series would be: ‘Oh no! The green thief King with evil eyes is actually the villain! Who saw that coming? (Seriously, how was Princess Zelda the only one who saw this coming?)
However, the owners of the rights to Zelda have since claimed the original article was not based on fact, but have not stated definitively that it won’t happen- suggesting that they would not rule out the possibility. It’s very unlikely to happen, but if it did? How could they make it good? Well, the difficulties would start with the two main heroes: Link and Zelda.
The Hero- How Are We Going To Give This Guy A Personality?
Making Link into a decent hero is my biggest doubt about why this series could work. As pointed out by this article, Link’s personality is the biggest stumbling block in making this series good. Link has always been a bank slate player insert, and no personality to speak of (except Windwaker Link, but they’re hardly going to go with the Windwaker canon for this show). He is never proactive, only reactive to certain situations, and his actions are solely based on requests and instructions from the people around him. So how do we give this guy a personality?
But if they do it right, this could be an opportunity to give Link a real personality for the first time. One thing that could translate well is his sheer determination; he travels day and night to save Hyrule; he witnesses all the worlds he traveled in ruin. His childhood friend remains a child while he’s become an adult- showing how much he’s lost and far away he is from his chilldhood innocence. I think the personality that would best suit him would see him start off as a carefree, spirited child who is forced to grow up too fast (literally) to save the world, and transforms into a fire forged hero. Either way, I think a lot of his growth would be pushed forwards by the people around him. And no character dynamic will be as important as his dynamic with Princess Zelda.
The Princess-Make Her A Badass Strategist
If this series is going to do well, our resident damsel in distress really needs to stop damselling and start being an awesome character (or stay an awesome character throughout the game. Not take a level in badass and then turn into a flailing victim the minute she puts on a dress- looking at you, Sheik and Tetra). In some of the earlier articles there was talk about it being ‘a boy rescues girl’ story, but that would be a horrible choice for a tv show.
A high fantasy setting, a pretty-boy lead and a magical Princess (not to mention the amount of prominent females this series have) are things that are really going to appeal more to girls- and I honestly think fifty percent (or more) of the potential audience would be female. We had fought our issues with damsel-in-distress princesses with Disney; now they’ve upped their game with Tiana, Elsa and Anna, and they’re about to up it again with Moana. We expect better and don’t need another 50s Disney princess; now we expect a Princess who’s capable and an interesting character. Zelda needs to be a strong lead. But strong in what way?
When people talk about wanting to make Zelda stronger, they always talk about her improvement in terms of physical prowess. However, what I would like to see from the Princess isn’t necessarily turning her into Zelda: warrior princess (or Zelda: Warrior Queen like in Hyrule Warriors). Zelda’s the holder of the Triforce of Wisdom, and I always wanted to see her come into her own as a strategist and leader, someone who planned the next move while Link went and collected the Triforce Shards/ Sages etc. In the games her ‘Wisdom’ is more like ‘special purity pureness spirit power’ and her track record for strategy was appalling. Imagine if she became a good leader in the series.
Imagine if Gandorof’s forces were at Hyrule’s Gate; the Royal Family had fallen and Zelda was the last ruler left to defend it. While Link has to travel around the world on a desperate quest to get the Spiritual Stones, Zelda has to quickly learn to become ruler and hold the kingdom, while trying to form diplomatic relations with the Zora and the Gorons. That would be a hell of a lot more interesting than ‘Help! I’m trapped in crystal!’ (why didn’t Ganondorf use the same spell to capture Link? Why does he underestimate Link every single game and go after Zelda? Leave Zelda for later- take out Link first.) So, if the series ever happened, what I’d love to see most from Zelda is not just someone who’s a good fighter, but a brilliant leader.
Would a Legend Of Zelda series on Netflix be a good idea? What would you like to see? I’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments.