Over the years, numerous gaming franchises, from Super Mario Bros and Mortal Kombat to World of Warcraft and Prince of Persia have (albeit with limited success) made the transition to the big screen with live-action film adaptations. However, there has been one glaring absentee in this list, that being the hugely beloved Legend of Zelda series. Brief rumors of a live-action Netflix series were quickly shot down back in 2017, but surely, such a successful gaming franchise can’t go on without some sort of live-action film adaptation down the line? And when such an idea materializes, here is my take on how a live-action adaptation could look like.
The first question to come about would be where (if at all) such a film series would fit in the main Zelda timeline? My answer is that although I did consider a sort of Detective Pikachu scenario (SPOILERS), where the live-action film canonically follows the TV series, the Zelda timeline is confusing as it is and adding a live-action film series into the fray would magnify the confusion. In addition, the film series would intend to draw in an audience who have never played a Zelda game before, so it would make things a lot easier if the film series was completely separate to the games.
The next question would be which game or games would the movie series be an adaptation of? Although concepts would be borrowed from a range of different Zelda games from the series, the movies would tell an original Zelda story with certain plot points not seen before in any game. Not only would this intrigue viewers new to the Zelda series, but would excite devoted, long-term fans as it would keep them guessing about what will happen whilst providing references and Easter Eggs of the games in specific scenes.
And now for the main question. What would be the actual plot of the film? As this film series would be a trilogy, this feature will cover the story of the first film, which would have the full name – Legend of Zelda: Rising Courage. The story begins at a farm, which is run by a middle-aged couple named Leila and Landon. In the yard, Leila is struggling to contain the chickens in their corner. Angrily, she calls out for her son to help. The screen cuts to a teenage boy (around 16-17 years old) lying nonchalantly on a pile of hay. He then stands up, jumps and acrobatically lands on the ground. He then looks up and his face is revealed. It’s the trademark fair skin, blue eyes and full, blond hair. He starts chasing the chickens, picking them up and throwing them into their corner, laughing and being playful in the process. However, he accidentally kicks the last one, causing it to scream in agony. The rest of the chickens hear this and all begin chasing Link around the farm (throwback alert!). The next scene shows Leila tending to her son’s cuts from the chickens. Landon then comes in and reprimands Link, saying how if he can’t responsibly deal with a few chickens, how will he fulfill his dream of becoming a Royal Knight? Hearing this from his father, Link shows an attitude and storms back into his room. That night, Link has a dream of passing the Royal Knight exam, but then being faced with hideous monsters and running away in terror. He wakes up and goes into the farm yard. Landon comes outside to have a word with his son. Link talks about how he dreams of becoming a Royal Knight, but the reason for failing previous exams is due to sudden fear. In hand-to-hand combat with other knights, he has no issues, however, he freezes whenever faced with giant monsters and beasts. Landon gives him a pep talk about how if he keeps pursuing his dream with vigor, one day he will be successful in his endeavor. But in order to do this, he needs to build up his courage. Meanwhile, Landon tasks Link with delivering a shipment of milk to Hyrule Castle Town the next morning.
The next scene cuts to Hyrule Castle. Noblemen are seen together at a round table. Suddenly, a great presence enters the room, stimulating the nobles to stand up. The presence is none other than King Daphnes Bospheramus Hyrule the 3rd (Easter Eggs to Wind Waker and Breath of the Wild!) and his most senior security adviser, General Fronagond. The topic of discussion is of an emerging security threat known as the Legion of the Sacred Eye. With regret in his eyes, General Fronagond declares his sorrow and embarrassment that these people hail from his tribe, the Sheikah, a race of people whose majority live in peace and harmony in the Kingdom of Hyrule. He tells the king that these rogue Sheikah will be his personal responsibility to take care of. The King informs him that he must act quickly before this Legion grows to become as big a threat as the “Desert bandits from the West” a couple of decades back. They discuss the possible motivations of rogues such as the Legion. One noble mentions that possibly they are after the Triforce. This is dismissed completely out of hand by the King, who states that no one has ever shown an interest in taking such a sacred relic, in fact, most people in the land allude to it as a “fairytale”. Only people of the castle have read the scriptures providing information about the Triforce, and even then, no one knows who holds the various pieces of the relic, if at all.
The next scene introduces us to Hyrule Castle Town. Link is seen riding a cart into the town, with the milk supply in the trunk. He is waving and showing off to the bystanders, who are either looking at him as if he is crazy or chuckling among themselves. He stops near the milk bar, stands on his cart, and in an attempt to impress the surrounding townsfolk, tries to do an acrobatic jump off of it. However, it goes spectacularly wrong and he lands on his backside. People around him either don’t notice or start mocking, however, while on the floor, he looks up to see a figure who is very amused at his self-inflicted misfortune. The figure is covered in a simple-looking cloak, but is a female with golden yellow hair like himself, prominent blue eyes and a bright smile. At this, Link goes in an absolute trance for a few moments. He is mesmerized at her sight. He quickly gets to his feet and begins cracking jokes. He behaves like a typical hopeless romantic, but instead of being annoyed, this cloaked girl is taking huge enjoyment from it all. But before Link has the chance to ask her name, his eyes catch the Milk Bar, where he sees a bird-like humanoid bringing a carton of milk and handing it to the Milk Bar owner. Link then hurries to the front of the Bar and with great agitation states that his milk should be taken by the owner. To this, the Bar owner simply shrugs Link of, telling him that Holu, a member of the bird-like Rito tribe gave him the required milk supply before Link, therefore, Link could take his milk back to the farm with him. Holu begins taunting Link, mocking him for snoozing on the job. This stimulates a heated argument between Holu and Link, both trading insults. Arrogantly, Holu begins flying away. Link picks up a nearby item and throws it like a boomerang at the Rito’s foot, causing him to fall. Suddenly, an handful of guards patrolling Castle Town surround Link, tie his hands together and escort him towards the castle. The cloaked girl, initially putting her hand on her mouth in shock, takes her hand down, gives a wry smile and walks off.
The next scene introduces us to the hideout of the Legion of the Sacred Eye. It is in a cave on the outskirts of the kingdom. We get our first look at the main antagonists of the film, a band of rogue Sheikah, who curse at the Hyrulean Royal Family among themselves, saying that for too long, they regard themselves as untouchable and are in need of being taught a lesson. They also lament how most Sheikah reject their ideology of wanting the Sheikah to be in control of Hyrule. They discuss how their plan is to soon be set in motion and that they must stick to the plan of the “boss”.
Next, the film takes us inside Hyrule Castle, where Link is sitting at a table in a solitary detention room. He is griping and moaning to himself about the “stupid birdman who got him into this predicament”. Not only would he be in trouble with the guards, but also with his parents for wasting all their hard work gathering the milk. Suddenly, while looking around the room, he sees a few loose bricks in one of the top corners of the room. As quietly as possible, he moves his chair to those loose bricks, removes them and sees a small gap for himself to wriggle into. He crawls through this narrow tunnel he has discovered, albeit with great difficulty. He then carefully slides down a drop and sees an opening at the end. He slowly crawls out through the opening and realizes he’s in the corridor outside the detention room. The next sequences follows Link as he stealthily tries to dodge the castle guards in an attempt to escape. This sequence is a major throwback to the typical stealth missions Link had to undertake in both Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask in Gerudo Fortress. Link does this successfully and arrives at an exit which he believes is the way out of the castle, considering that daylight could be seen. When he goes through this exit, he instead ends up in what looks like a courtyard. Disappointed, Link is on the verge of turning around to find another way out until his eye catches something. In the middle of the courtyard, he sees the back of someone. This someone has long, golden hair, a crown and spectacular royal attire. In an instant, Link realizes the identity of the figure he’s standing behind. It was her, Her Majesty, Princess Zelda. Scared, Link resumes his attempt to leave the courtyard when he suddenly hears a voice, telling him that sneaking out is futile, she already knows he’s there and that attempting to sneak out undetected will be a failure as he will inevitably be seen. Zelda tells Link to come to her. Link’s nerves go into overdrive. Given his well-documented struggles with the Royal Knight examinations, Link never believed he would even set eyes on the esteemed princess, let alone actually talk to her face-to-face. With his heart pounding, Link slowly walks towards her, making constant awkward jokes to calm his nerves. Eventually, he comes close enough to her. Zelda immediately turns around to face him. Link is completely flabbergasted. That same golden hair, blue eyes and glistening bright smile. It was the same girl in the cloak he met in Castle Town before his arrest!
Link looks at Zelda and gasps. Zelda just begins laughing. Link immediately inquires what she was doing in the Castle Town dressed as a commoner. Smiling, Zelda replies that she enjoys mingling with the common folk and understanding how they lead their lives, their interests and what they are expecting from their monarchy. This baffles Link, who cannot believe no one recognizes her as the Princess, to which she explains that without all the Royal attire, the crown and shining jewelry, people may comment how she has a resemblance to the Princess, but unlike Link, who has seen her close up in both get-ups, won’t be able to tell it is actually her. Smiling, Link tells her that she should come and visit his farm, but suddenly, two guards storm in and begin dragging Link out. Zelda orders them to stand down, but the guards respond by saying that General Fronagond would like to see Link. Link is brought to the esteemed office of the General, with Zelda following him in. Zelda attempts to vouch for Link, stating that she was the one who asked him to stay in the courtyard, however, Fronagond is having none of it, saying that one of his primary duties is the well-being of the Princess and he is tasked to protect her with his life. He severely reprimands Link, telling him that he ought to throw him into the castle dungeons, however, he is willing to give him a chance at redemption. He will avoid being taken to the dungeons should he agree to voyage to Zora’s Domain and receive a Sacred Spear promised by the Zora King for the Hylian Royal Family. Pumping his fist into the air, Link agrees. Fronagond warns that to prevent him running away, if he fails to return within two sunsets, he will officially be classed as a fugitive and should he be found, beheaded in front of the castle. Link gives his words, but before walking out, looks towards Zelda and gives her a wink. In return, she gives an awkward smile.
Back at the farm, Link tells the day’s events to his parents. Upon hearing all of this, Landon entrusts Link with his most esteemed horse to aid in his journey, named (you guessed it) Epona. Link heads off for Zora’s Domain early the next morning. While looking at his map for the right directions, he hears a familiar taunting voice. It’s Holu, the troublesome Rito whom he met at Castle Town. He begins mocking Link again, to which Link picks up a tree branch and begins attacking Holu. Link can get nowhere near the agile Rito, who makes light work of him and brings Link to the ground. However, instead of continuing his mockery, Holu actually begins giving Link combat advice. Begrudgingly, Link admits to his shortcomings as a warrior, despite his dreams of becoming a Royal Knight, but following this, he vows that once he fulfills his dream, he will crush Holu in a rematch. Holu laughs, declares that it will never happen, but before flying off, points Link to the right direction towards Zora’s Domain. Link finally reaches Zora’s Domain, which exists on the main Hyrule bay. The Domain has a very similar design to that of BOTW, as do the Zora, either being of red, blue and green colors. As a whole, the Zoras welcome Link with open arms and he is escorted to the King. Link inquires about the Sacred Spear they promised to give to the Hylian Royal Family. The King responds that he would gladly give it to Link, however, to hold such an artifact, he must prove his worthiness. The King tells Link about how the Zora used to enjoy going to a temple in the sea to perform traditional rituals, however, one day a fearsome monster entered and began killing his people. As this monster had electrical attacks, the Zora were no match for it given their weakness to electricity. This left them stuck, unable to enter their sacred temple. Given the weakness of other races to water, only a Hylian can enter and combat this monster. If Link could defeat this monster and bring back its eye as evidence, he would be considered worthy to take back the Sacred Spear to Hyrule Castle. This puts Link in a very complex dilemma. His fear of fighting monsters is what has kept him from becoming a Royal Knight, making his first instinct to run far away from this task, however, if he returned to Hyrule Castle empty-handed, he would be executed by General Fronagond. He had no choice. Somehow, someway, he had to defeat this monster and take the Sacred Spear. With great fear and trepidation, Link accepts. Generously, the King orders his son, the Prince to swim Link to the underwater temple (Prince Sidon Easter Egg) and gives him a normal Zora spear. The Zora prince takes Link to the entrance of the temple, which is in an isolated rock visible from the surface. The scene ends with Link entering.
The next scene takes us to the middle of a skirmish. Hylian Knights, commanded by General Fronagond are fighting a faction of the Legion of the Sacred Eye, who are led by a female, middle-aged Sheikah. The Knights are at a disadvantage, until three Legion fighters are shot down by three arrows. The Knights turn around to see who did this. Sitting on an impressive horse is Princess Zelda herself, with bow in hand. The knights move onto other targets and Zelda faces off against the leader of the faction. This leader brings out an impressive-looking blade, Zelda brings out her trusty rapier. We see an impressive battle play out, which is even for quite a while, until Zelda brings out her bow and hits her opponent in the leg. This brings her to the ground and Zelda holds her rapier to the faction leader’s neck. Elsewhere, the knights make light work of the other Legion members. The leader is taken prisoner and brought back to Hyrule Castle. She is interrogated by Zelda, with Fronagond present to protect the Princess. The faction leader reveals her name to be Impa and begins chastising Fronagond as being a traitor to his people. After the trading of harsh words between one another, Impa reveals that the Legion are planning to revive an Ancient Leviathan, which will lay waste to Hyrule and from the ruins, the Legion will bring about a new order restoring the Sheikah back to their lost glory. Laughing, Fronagond states that the Seal of the Leviathan is heavily guarded in the Castle, no one can get to it without being eviscerated by the guards. He orders for Impa to be locked away in the Castle dungeons. Whilst she is being taken away by the guards, Zelda notices a sinister and eeire smile on Impa’s face. She tells Fronagond she has a very bad feeling that Impa has most likely set her plan in motion already. Fronagond responds that he will leave no stone unturned to hunt down every single member of the Legion and obliterate them until they are no more. The scene ends with Impa left in her prison. She again gives a sinister smile and begins reciting a mysterious ritual.
The next sequence of scenes is a full big screen adaptation of a typical dungeon quest for Link. It shows Link having a weird but wonderful journey through this Temple fully inspired by Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess. Only difference is we get Link reacting to pretty much everything. And staying true to the games, Link enters a room in the temple to discover probably the most popular item in the Zelda series, the Hookshot. However, before he can snare it, an oversized frog, around his height tries to attack him with water bubbles. Given that his opponent is around the same size as a normal Hylian, Link doesn’t fear it like he would a big beast, hence he takes it on in combat. Initially, Link struggles, but begins to implement some of the combat tips given to him by Holu the Rito before coming to Zora’s Domain. Finally, Link trips up the frog, jumps in the air and thrusts his spear straight through its chest, killing it instantly. In his rather typical style, Link begins celebrating by jumping up and down (like Wind Waker Link). He almost forgets to take his newly-discovered toy with him. With the Hookshoot, Link is able to get from place to place easily within the temple. Eventually he reaches a large room. Link has a rather creepy feeling. Suddenly, a huge figure falls from the ceiling. Link is horrified by this new site. A giant spider, its body light blue, legs yellow and a red eye. Link’s anxiety and fear of giant beasts comes flooding back. The spider begins shooting electrical beams at Link, who is hastily dodging everything. Link has no courage to mount an attack against this fearsome creature, his best bet is to run, but being aware of the consequences of such an action, Link has no other alternative but to fight. Whilst dodging, Link sees a crack in the ceiling. Quickly, he aims his Hookshot at it and pulls hard. This causes parts of the ceiling to fall hard on top of the spider, completely immobilizing it. Link then thrusts his spear straight through its eye. He digs it in even further and pulls it out with great power. This causes the eye to come out along with the spear. Link proceeds to hold up the spear and begin loudly gloating to himself. He exits the temple to see the Zora Prince waiting for him. He is overjoyed to see the eye on Link’s spear. Link returns to Zora’s Domain to a hero’s reception. The Zora King expresses his great gratitude to Link and presents him with the Sacred Spear along with a Zora Medallion, bestowed only to great friends of the Zora race. A young Zora Princess runs up to Link and asks him to marry her. Amused, Link laughs it off with a joke. Mounting on Epona, Link begins his journey back to Hyrule Castle. He defeated two monsters, he thinks to himself as he rides back. Surely, this would do wonders for his lifelong dream of becoming a Royal Knight. He would take the test again and this time, there’s no way he could fail. He could picture himself, in Royal Knight armor and a bright smile alongside a blushing Princess Zelda, who he would make his wife. His daydreams are cut short, however, when he hears a loud scream. Link sees a group of Hylians running towards him. Link stops and asks them what happens. Panicked, the Hylians point towards Castle Town, which is nearby. Link sees vast amounts of smoke emerging from that direction. He gets upon Epona once more and makes haste towards Castle Town.
Link reaches Castle Town to see multiple areas under attack by various people. He is about to be impaled from behind when at the last moment, General Fronagond comes in and strikes the would-be attacker down. Link is baffled as to what is going on. Fronagond tells him that they had made a grave mistake in imprisoning the Legion member Impa. She had intended to be captured by Zelda and the Hylian Knights. Once she was sent to the dungeons, she had used a powerful Sheikah spell to decimate the dungeons, igniting a mass breakout. As a result, all the criminals had escaped and were running amok all around Castle Town. The Hylian Knights were trying their best to recapture the criminals, who were of various races. Fronagond then hands Link a sword, which he calls the Recruit’s Sword and gives Link a motivational speech. This inspires Link who begins to fight against the escaped criminals. The next sequence of the film depicts fast-paced sword-fighting, mainly focused on Link, but also Fronagond and other Hylian Knights. The criminals are eventually brought under control. Thinking that victory is secure, Link begins his usual celebrating, until suddenly, a very panicked Princess Zelda enters the fray. Horrified, she tells Fronagond that the Ancient Leviathan Seal has disappeared. Link immediately puts two and two together. The mass dungeon breakout wasn’t the Legion’s endgame, it was just a misdirection for the main plan, keeping the Hylian forces distracted for Impa to steal the Seal. Link, Zelda and Fronagond all rush out to Hyrule Field to be met with a site of Impa and other Legion members standing in a circle with the Seal in the middle. But it’s too late. The resurrection ritual is complete and the Seal begins rising from the ground. Black smoke seeps out of the Seal and the smoke begins taking a physical form. The form is complete and the Ancient Leviathan lives again. Resembling a giant moblin, it is the most fearsome creature Link has ever seen. All of his fear and anxiety of large monsters returns with an absolute vengeance. A battle ensues between the Legion and Hylian Knights. The Leviathan begins making its way towards Hyrule Castle. Zelda attempts to slow it down by shooting arrows. Frozen in fear, Link is unable to move, but then, Fronagond comes to him and again gives him a motivational speech, how he can become a hope for Hyrule and help save everyone from total oblivion, all he needs to do is let go of his fear once and for all. Hearing these words, Link rides Epona with great zeal towards the Leviathan and Zelda. Zelda is being overwhelmed by the beast. She is on the verge of giving up, accepting the mighty blow that the Leviathan is about to deal to her with his vicious weapon. But in the last minute, Link musters all his bravery into one move. He jumps off Epona, dives forward, pushes Zelda out of the way and takes the Leviathan’s blow head on. Link’s body is sent flying. He lands violently on the ground near where the battle is taking place.
Everyone sees Link’s lifeless body. The blow was far too strong for even the mightiest of knights to tolerate, let alone a farm boy. Fronagond sees and puts his hand on his forehead. Legion members start to snigger. Zelda, who began to bond in the short time she has known Link, feels her heart sink. She kneels beside Link’s body and begins to sob. However, she senses something. Link’s left hand begins to move. It forms a firm fist. Suddenly, a green triangle forms on the fist and begins to glow spectacularly. Link then abruptly sits up. His eyes open and his pupils are also glowing green. Zelda and Fronagond look in astonishment. It quickly dawns upon them. The scriptures were right all along. The Triforce does exist. And Link is the hidden wielder of one of the three pieces of it, the Triforce of Courage. Link’s brave sacrifice has caused this dormant power to manifest within him.
Link stands up, and with a serious tone unusual for his normally lively and cheerful self, tells Zelda to stand back as he is about to end this. He goes and stands in front of the Ancient Leviathan. He declares that he is going to completely obliterate it and charges forward. A spectacular battle ensures between Link and the Leviathan. There is a weapon struggle as Link pushes his sword against the Leviathan’s mace. Link overpowers his opponent. With agility much enhanced than normal, Link clinically slashes at all of the Leviathan’s limbs, which is now no longer able to stand. He then jumps in the air and deals an almighty vertical slash. The Leviathan is cut in half, the body turns completely black and blows up, leaving nothing. The Legion members who are still alive give a shriek and flee from the scene. The Hylian Knights begin to cheer. Fronagond smiles. He can’t quite believe the finishing move Link had just executed. Even the most senior of knights struggle to master it. The green glow in Link’s pupils disappear. Although he himself is also visibly confused at what has just happened, he looks towards Zelda, gives a smile and proceeds to hold out his sword, slash left, slash right, and stylishly rotates his wrist twice before sheathing his sword, holding the pose for a few seconds, clearly attempting to show off to the Princess. Zelda is laughing and giddy on the inside, but tells Link that he wouldn’t have done it without her coming to “wake him up”. Fronagond walks up to Link and tells him that in all the time he has served the Royal Family, he has never seen such courage from an individual, and the manifestation of the Triforce of Courage is testament to that.
Next, Impa is seen back in the Castle dungeon behind bars. Zelda suddenly enters the corridor. Impa asks whether she has come to mock, but in contrast, Zelda replies that she just sees Impa as a frustrated warrior who’s been misguided in life. Angrily, Impa tells Zelda to leave, as she will never understand the struggles she has been through in life given her Royal status. After a back and forth conversation, Zelda tells Impa that she won’t give up on her as she sees a good side behind all the bluster, after that, she leaves.
The next scene shows a ceremony in Hyrule Castle. Link is stood in front of the King, Fronagond and Zelda. The King lauds Link and as a reward for his actions, enrolls him into the Academy of Royal Knights. Link’s face lights up. He bows before the King, who presents him with the official token of acceptance, the Hylian Shield. In a small audience, Link’s father Landon looks on proudly, his mother Leila is visibly emotional. A young voice starts tugging at Leila’s cloak, wanting to see what is happening. She responds and kneels down to pick up a little girl, who looks around seven years old, same blond hair and blue eyes as Link. She begins cheering and declaring how awesome her big brother is. A small crossbow can also be seen coming out of one of her pockets. Link accepts his Hylian shield, looks towards Zelda and gives her a wink. She rolls her eyes, but gives a smile. The screen cuts to the credits.
As has become popular in modern-day cinema, there is a post-credits scene. It takes us back to the Legion’s lookout. Two Sheikah, bruised and battered, are hobbling in. They enter the main room, where a figure stands in the shadows. Embarrassed, they lament their failure and ask forgiveness from this figure, whom they refer to as their boss. The figure comes out of the shadows. It is revealed to be none other than General Fronagond. After an initial stern expression, a sudden smile surfaces. Surprisingly, he declares that in contrast, the two Sheikah have done a great job. They both feel an uncomfortable presence lurking behind. Fronagond then states their purpose has now been fulfilled, and as a result, the time has come to “cut them loose”. At that moment, both Sheikah are impaled by spears. When the spears are withdrawn, the two Sheikah fall to the ground, revealing two female figures standing behind them. Both are dressed in purple clothing, have distinctive olive skin and prominent red hair. They both kneel down in front of Fronagond and call him His Majesty. Fronagond begins moving both arms in a random way and then tightens his right fist. The ground begins to shake. His fist starts radiating a sinister red light. A red triangle forms on his fist, followed by his body being overtaken by a silver light. When the light dims, in place of Fronagond stands an imposing and menacing being. He has greenish-grey skin, red hair and beard, a red jewel on his forehead and black armor. With an evil smile, he states that after years of waiting, he has finally found what he is looking for. The hidden wielder of the Triforce of Courage. Now that the search is over, he will begin phase two of his plan of securing the entire Triforce and usurping control of the land of Hyrule. The emblem on his chest still has the name Fronagond emblazoned on it. The letters begin rearranging themselves. They stop moving to reveal that Fronagond was just an anagram of the true name, which now spells none other than “GANONDORF”. The trademark Ganondorf music begins playing in the background. He gives his typical evil laugh and the screen cuts to black.
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A lot of different considerations went into creating this pitch. Firstly, I thought of what could make this seem distinct from the games. The games have always given us a Link who is for the most part, silent, stoic and void of much personality. I did think about making Link true to the games in personality, however, then I remembered that the whole point of Link being this way is for him to act as a “link” between the gamer and the game itself. Such a concept would not work in a live-action film, as we are merely the audience. Also, I feel that a lot of good storytelling would be compromised if we had a Link who was essentially exactly like the games. Hence, I decided to give Link a lively, cheerful and sometimes boisterous personality, who likes to make wisecracks, but he is definitely not intended to be annoying like the Link from the ill-fated animated TV series. Having said that, this is the first film in the series, where Link is essentially a total commoner on a farm, living a relaxed-paced life with his parents (something also never seen in any Zelda games), so having a carefree type of personality is understandable. The next films will see a Link who is now living a different kind of life with much more responsibility on his shoulders. Inevitably, this will lead to character development and Link gaining more maturity, and potentially, more seriousness in personality like the games, but retaining his fun side also. The main reason why the first film would be called Rising Courage is because the story mainly follows Link overcoming his fear to manifest the hidden Triforce of Courage and realize his potential. Finally, what outfit would Link be sporting in the film? Throughout the trilogy, I intend to have Link wearing different get-ups (like BOTW). So as a commoner from the farm, he would be in an attire inspired by what he is seen wearing at the beginning of Skyward Sword, I find it to be meek but classy. But towards the end of the trilogy, Link will definitely be adorned in the trademark all-green garb, but how does that actually occur? You will just have to find out!
The character of Zelda in this pitch is very much inspired by her A Link Between Worlds and Smash Bros Ultimate iteration. She has a cheerful and fun-loving personality, explaining how she begins bonding with Link in such a short amount of time, but given that she is also a skilled warrior, has a serious side with a strategic mind. Her competency as a warrior is a tribute to Zelda from Hyrule Warriors. From the first film, it is clear that we will get to know Zelda a lot more as the trilogy progresses.
Certainly, the biggest twist of the film would be the reveal of Ganondorf masquerading as General Fronagond all along. The audience is meant to think that Fronagond is merely a male adaptation of Impa, given his supposed Sheikah origins. I wanted to have Ganondorf’s first appearance in the trilogy to be as dramatic as possible, but in a slightly novel way. He has always been seen in the games as a known threat who is feared all across the Kingdom. But I thought “what if he is revealed to be someone who was universally trusted by the protagonists all along”. Of course we can’t have Ganondorf in his true form to be the King’s right-hand man, so giving him a disguise would add to the drama in his eventual reveal. But the pitch to the second film of the trilogy will go on to provide a comprehensive backstory which led to such a scenario. Although most people won’t really see such a reveal coming, this plot point is actually loosely inspired by A Link to the Past and Agahnim’s story, who was also really a disguised form of Ganon who gained the Royal Family’s trust. Also, Ganondorf’s reveal would serve as an interesting plot point. Near the end of the film, Fronagond is seen to become something of a mentor to Link and this mentor-ship plays a huge part in Link being able to win the day. So how will this impact Link and even more interestingly Zelda, who has only ever known Fronagond to be her bodyguard and protector? In contrast, Impa has always been depicted in various games as a benevolent character whom Zelda can trust with her life. I decided to flip the script here and make her an initial antagonist. However, she is a character who will undergo heavy character development, and by the end of the trilogy, become someone much more truer to the Impa we all know and love.
Now for throwbacks, references and Easter Eggs to the games. The film begins with Link being attacked by chickens, something seen across various Zelda games throughout the years. The full name of the King of Hyrule (Daphnes Bospheramus) is a reference to both Wind Waker and BOTW. The character of the Rito Holu, whom Link has comedic run-ins with is inspired by everyone favorite BOTW Champion Revali. We will definitely see more of him as the trilogy progresses. Link’s escape from the dungeon into the courtyard is a throwback to many stealth missions seen in the games.
The film’s main antagonists, the Legion of the Sacred Eye are mildly inspired by the Yiga Clan from BOTW, a point bolstered by the fact that all this time, they have (albeit unintentionally and unknowingly) been serving the interests of Ganondorf. As for Link’s journey to Zora’s Domain, his attacking of Holu with a tree branch is a fun Easter Egg to the fact that in BOTW, Link’s first weapon is mostly a tree branch. Zora’s Domain’s location in the film is a reference to Great Bay in Majora’s Mask, as that was also based on a beach, however, the Domain itself is meant to look similar to that of BOTW, as are the Zora race. The Zora Prince swimming Link to the Water Temple is a cool throwback to Link battling Vah Ruta in BOTW, which has the iconic scene of Link swimming on Prince Sidon’s back. Having said that, the Zora Prince from the film here has no similar personality traits to Prince Sidon at all, in fact, he’s meant to be a pretty boring character. However, the young Zora Princess asking Link to marry her is a comical throwback to Princess Ruto and the scene from Ocarina of Time where she gives Link the Zora Sapphire. She is in no way, shape or form meant to be an alternate love interest for Link, although one is planned to appear later in the trilogy.
In the battle at Castle Town, Fronagond gives Link the Recruit’s Sword, a reference to Spirit Tracks. Speaking of the final battle of the film, Link’s death before the manifestation of the Triforce is hugely inspired by Ganondorf’s execution scene, where his death is the trigger for the Triforce of Power activating within him. Last, but not least, the ending shows Link to have a younger sister. The fact that she has a crossbow coming out of her pocket means the character is a reference to Linkle from Hyrule Warriors.
I hope you enjoyed what I’ve had to offer in this first part of a Legend of Zelda Live-Action film trilogy pitch. What did you think? Please let me know in the comments, or join our Discord server, where we discuss everything Zelda!