As evidenced by the billion-dollar box-office success of The Hobbit series and HBO's record ratings for Game of Thrones, the fantasy genre is perhaps the only thing more popular than zombies in Hollywood these days. It helps if producers align themselves with a preexisting property that sports a built-in, cult-like audience, and Netflix has reportedly found its gateway into the world of fantasy with a live-action series based on Nintendo's classic The Legend of Zelda video game.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Netflix is in the early stages of developing their live-action Zelda series with the rare cooperation of Nintendo. Netflix reportedly envisions the series as a family-friendly Game of Thrones.
Simply developing a Zelda series represents a thawing of sorts for the video game giant, as Nintendo is notoriously protective of their franchises ever since the 1993 live-action Super Mario Bros. film was a commercial and critical disaster. A short-lived The Legend of Zelda animated series ran for 13 episodes in 1989, where it featured on the Friday episodes of the Lou Albano-starring The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!.
At its core, The Legend of Zelda tells the story of a young swordsman named Link tasked with rescuing Princess Zelda from the evil sorcerer Ganon in the fantasy world of Hyrule. The Legend of Zelda video game franchise has spawned more than a dozen sequels – including the much-acclaimed A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time – over a handful of Nintendo platforms.
Given all the different Zelda games for the series' writers to draw from, there should be ample material if producers and Netflix opt to go the Game of Thrones route with the beloved Nintendo hero. In that HBO show, each season is based on a novel taken from author George R.R. Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice series.
The planned Zelda series is just the latest addition to the Netflix original programming arsenal, joining a Daredevil reboot, the Wet Hot American Summer reunion, BoJack Horseman, the upcoming season of House of Cards, Adam Sandler's four-picture deal and a new series from Judd Apatow.