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The Legend Of Zelda Director, Writer, Producer, And More Details

"The Legend of Zelda" is jumping from your Nintendo Switch to the big screen. 

After years of fan anticipation, Nintendo has confirmed that the iconic video game series is getting the cinematic treatment. Over the last decade, significant efforts have been made to bring video games to cinemas. While there have been a ton of duds, the last few years have proven that these projects can succeed, if done right. Consider "The Super Mario Bros. Movie." While it received mixed reviews, the project earned a whopping $146 domestic debut, then legged its way to $1.3 billion worldwide, making it the highest-grossing film based on a video game ever made. Now video games are looking like the next big medium for Hollywood to mine. Moreover, Nintendo, which has dominated the gaming industry for over four decades, is undoubtedly eager to monetize its ever-evolving portfolio of characters. 

As a result, all eyes are on the upcoming "The Legend of Zelda" film. Based on the iconic franchise of the same name, "Zelda" continues to be relevant over 30 years after its debut. While details on the upcoming film are limited, it's already one of the most anticipated blockbusters in recent memory. Here's everything we know about this upcoming journey to Hyrule.

When will The Legend of Zelda be released?

In its official announcement, Nintendo was tight-lipped regarding a release date for "The Legend of Zelda." Seeing as the film was announced with minimal personnel and little to no plot information, it's fair to say that audiences won't see the live-action "Legend of Zelda" flick for quite some time. We can speculate based on the production timeline for "The Super Mario Bros. Movie," though. That picture was announced in early 2018, and the animated film's voice cast wasn't announced until late 2021. The first look at the film was released in October 2022, seven months before it graced cinemas and broke records. 

All in all, it took five years and some change for "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" to hit cinemas. However, it's not exactly apples to apples, as "Mario" is animated and "Zelda" is on track to be a live-action effort. Seeing as we don't know how much preliminary work has been done on the picture, it's fair to say that "Zelda" won't be hitting cinemas anytime soon. However, now that "Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes" has hit theaters, director Wes Ball is free to focus on his new fantasy tale. And maybe the film's debut could coincide with the release of the next "Zelda" game? That too is uncertain, but "Tears of the Kingdom" was released on May 12, 2023.

What is the plot of The Legend of Zelda?

We don't yet have any concrete plot details for "The Legend of Zelda." We do, however, have some intriguing comments. In conversation with Entertainment Weekly, director Wes Ball described his "Zelda" movie as "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." According to ComicBook.com, Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida remarked at the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show that the movie will be "an amazing tale of adventure and discovery."

These are pretty enticing visions. Beyond that, all we can do is speculate — but there's a lot of material to work off of. Unlike the "Mario" games, which mostly all feature the same plot, the "Zelda" games are drastically different and follow their own chronology. It remains to be seen if the folks behind the film will decide to tackle a specific game or take a more original route, but if we had to guess, we think "Ocarina of Time" might be especially likely to act as source material. Released in 1998 to critical acclaim, "Ocarina of Time" is generally recognized as one of the best games of all time. It does a particularly excellent job introducing Link, Zelda, and chaotic kingdom of Hyrule. Crucially, while Link and Zelda are popular characters, they're not as universally recognizable as Mario. For a "Zelda" film to truly succeed, it'll have to introduce the franchise's basics in an effective manner — something "Ocarina of Time" succeeds at.

Who is starring in The Legend of Zelda?

Nintendo and Sony Pictures, which are both distributing and co-financing the picture, haven't announced any cast members for "The Legend of Zelda" film. Considering that production on the project seems to still be in its early stages, it stands to reason that a cast won't be revealed for quite some time. However, it's more than likely that preliminary conversations surrounding potential actors have already started. After all, "Zelda" has what it takes to be another billion-dollar project for Nintendo, and they're likely interested in actors who can commit to multiple projects for the next few years. 

While we don't know who is starring in the flick, it's obvious that Nintendo will want Link, Zelda, and Ganon in the film. The games have shown these characters at various ages, but it's likely that we'll see our heroes (and villains) as young adults, allowing the actors to grow into the roles. One especially popular fan casting is Tom Holland as Link. Holland previously played Nathan Drake in the "Uncharted" film and is a sort of poster child for Sony Pictures, making him a solid option. However, Link is typically mute in the games. How will the actor translate this? We don't yet know, but it's an interesting hurdle that'll have to be tackled. As for Zelda, the internet has cheekily suggested Zendaya for the role. Another popular fan cast is Anya Taylor-Joy, who voiced Princess Peach in the "Mario" film.  

Who is directing The Legend of Zelda?

In its internet-breaking statement, Nintendo confirmed that Wes Ball will be directing the upcoming "Legend of Zelda" picture. Ball is best known for directing the "Maze Runner" trilogy for 20th Century Studios. Indeed, he made his directorial debut with 2014's "The Maze Runner," which features Dylan O'Brien in the lead role. The sci-fi flick received mixed-to-positive reviews but ultimately broke out as a box office success, grossing just shy of $350 million worldwide. Ball is clearly one to play ball with franchises, as he was later brought in to helm "Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes," the sequel to Matt Reeves' acclaimed "War for the Planet of the Apes." 

Ball couldn't be more excited about helming the project — or more qualified. "My whole life has led up to this moment," he enthused to Entertainment Weekly. "I grew up on 'Zelda' and it is the most important property, I think, that's untapped IP, if you will." His bonafides go way back: In 2010, Ball shared on X, then known as Twitter, his hopeful intentions to helm a "Legend of Zelda" project. "Since I could never even hope to have the chance to direct it... the next big mo-cap Avatar-like movie should be... THE LEGEND OF ZELDA," Ball shared, 13 years before the announcement was made. How's that for the power of self-belief? 

Who is writing The Legend of Zelda?

While Nintendo's initial announcement only featured the confirmation of director Wes Ball, Deadline says that the video game adaptation is being written by Derek Connolly. The screenwriter is most well-known for his collaborations with Colin Trevorrow, having written his debut feature "Safety Not Guaranteed." He also co-wrote the director's billion-dollar-grossing "Jurassic World" and its (underrated) sequel "Fallen Kingdom." 

Connolly has proven himself as one of Hollywood's go-to writers for franchise fare, having co-penned Universal Pictures' "Kong: Skull Island" and 2019's "Detective Pikachu," which happens to be based on one of Nintendo's most memorable characters. Connolly was also previously attached to the long-gestating "Metal Gear Solid" film, though it remains to be seen if that picture will ever manifest. He's previously worked with several writers to bring his pictures to life, so it remains to be seen if someone else is brought on board to help him breathe life into the upcoming video game flick.

Though we don't know much about the writing process thus far, we do know it's underway. In conversation with Entertainment Weekly, Wes Ball remarked, "We're working on the script." This project is rolling, and fans couldn't be more excited.

Who is producing The Legend of Zelda?

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the upcoming "Legend of Zelda" film is its production team. In its official announcement, Nintendo confirmed that Shigeru Miyamoto, one of the lead creative execs at the Japanese company, would be producing the film. Nintendo is notoriously protective of its characters, so it speaks volumes that one of the film's lead producers is one of the minds behind the franchise. Miyamoto will no doubt help ensure that the "Zelda" flick is as authentic and engaging as possible. Joining Miyamoto as a producer is Avi Arad. 

One of the most prolific Hollywood producers of all time, Arad has been working with the "Spider-Man" franchise since its cinematic debut in 2002. Arad has also produced hits like the first "Iron Man" and the 2022 "Uncharted" flick. Arad has a proven track record in terms of delivering hits and has a positive relationship with Sony Pictures, which is both distributing and co-financing the flick. 

Notably, Nintendo's initial press release reveals the company is financing more than 50% of the film. With Nintendo responsible for more than half the film's budget, it's likely that Arad and Sony Pictures won't have as much sway as the execs over at the video game company. For hardcore "Zelda" fans, this is an exciting bit of behind-the-scenes news to digest.