There’s some unfortunate news for fans of The Legend of Zelda excited by the rumors of a live-action Netflix series based on the games. They’re not true, according to Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata.
Rumors of a live-action Zelda series have circulated since February 6th, when The Wall Street Journal published a story citing an anonymous source claiming that such a show was being co-produced by Nintendo and Netflix. According to this source, the show would follow the general premise of the Zelda video games, following a young hero named Link fighting to rescue Princess Zelda and defend the kingdom of Hyrule, and was envisioned as “Game of Thrones for a family audience.”
However, Iwata has now squelched those claims in a new interview with Time magazine, saying:
“As of now, I have nothing new to share with you in regard to the use of our IPs for any TV shows or films, but I can at least confirm that the article in question is not based on correct information.”
The news is likely to come as a disappointment to many Zelda fans, whose options for live-action depictions of The Legend of Zelda universe are currently limited to the full-motion video sequences of Zelda’s Adventure for the Phillips CD-i. Beyond that, if you’re willing to settle for animation, there’s only the extremely short-lived 1989 cartoon and the unspeakably hideous animated cut scenes of the CD-i games The Faces of Evil and The Wand of Gamelon. So ardent The Legend of Zelda fans interested in seeing a dramatization of the series have been hungry for it for a very long time.
Though considering how attempts to adapt video games as television shows or movies have tended to go in the past, it might well be a mercy. It’s never a promising sign when one of the artistic peaks of an entire genre is the first Mortal Kombat movie.
On the other hand, Iwata’s denial as quoted by Time is very specific. He does not actually say there’s no The Legend of Zelda show in development, just that the WSJ article is incorrect. A literal reading of his words does not rule out the possibility of an animated Zelda series, for instance, or a Zelda series not produced by Netflix, or a Zelda series that isn’t for a family audience that shows Link graphically disemboweling his enemies and visiting the lady in The Adventures of Link who was always inviting him inside her house to be “healed.” Still, tempting as it may be to hold on to hope, it’s probably better not to get too invested in a theoretical possibility that requires a man who doesn’t speak English as his first language to cunningly craft technically true but completely misleading statements like some sort of malicious horror movie genie.