Nintendo Should Adapt The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time For Netflix
The collective imaginations of every hardcore Nintendo fan exploded when they FINALLY announced movies based on their most popular franchises. Immediately, speculation focused on Mario, Metroid, Pokemon and more.
Perhaps the most polarizing property is The Legend of Zelda. We’ve all wondered what a live action Zelda movie would look like. But adapting a game like Zelda would be extremely difficult with a hero, Link, who never speaks. That’s just the obvious problem. The world of Hyrule is full of monsters and exotic locations that require a massive budget to realize on the big screen. Given those challenges, it makes sense that Nintendo also announced the majority (read: all) of their projects would be animated.
Let’s assume the first big project is a Super Mario feature comparable to any of Pixar’s films. Where do you go next? Metroid? Donkey Kong? Do you create an animated film based on The Legend of Zelda? If yes, which game do you focus on first? Would you create an original story or adapt an existing game?
More importantly, is it possible to adapt a Zelda story in one film? I propose a different approach. Netflix. The popular streaming company was once rumored to be involved in a Zelda pitch that never came to be. What if Nintendo adopted the Netflix model of releasing content and produced a standalone animated series for the franchise? Partner with a studio like Pixar (Something that could be easier now that Netflix/Disney have struck an exclusive deal for distribution rights.) and produce 10 (or more) one hour episodes.
An entire season of Zelda released side by side with a Mario movie would be amazing. Especially for hardcore/lifelong Nintendo fans. What about the story? I was born in 1983 so naturally I gravitate to the original classics on NES and SNES. However, I believe the perfect choice to adapt is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. From a generational standpoint, people my age were in their early teens when the N64 classic was released. Furthermore, Nintendo released an HD remake a few years ago for a whole new generation of players.
Many Zelda games share similar gameplay elements in drastically different worlds. Future seasons of the show could feature entirely different animation styles and locations… I may or may not be getting ahead of myself. Let’s focus on the first 10 episodes shall we?
THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: OCARINA OF TIME
[Note: These rough episode breakdowns focus mainly on story. Character arcs, weapons and world details are left out… for now…]
Episode 1: Awakening
The show opens with flashes of an injured woman entering Kokiri Forest with an infant boy. The world of Hyrule is in the midst of Civil War. She entrusts the boy to The Great Deku Tree who agrees to protect him. The woman succumbs to her injuries and the boy, Link, is raised as a Kokiri.
Years later, Ganondorf appears in the Forest seeking a Spiritual Stone. The Great Deku Tree refuses to give it to the King of Thieves and receives a death curse as a result. Fearing the end, The Tree calls on Link to fulfill his destiny and save the world from the impending darkness.
The Great Deku Tree’s call awakens Link from a deep sleep. Waiting in his home is Na’vi. A fairy. She helps him acquire a sword and shield, despite the objection of fellow Kokiri Mido. Along the way, he is helped by his close friend Saria.
Eventually he makes his way to the Great Deku Tree who explains the curse and what Link must do. Reluctantly, Link enters the tree and defeats the enemies inside. But it’s already too late. The Great Deku Tree will die but not before giving Link The Spiritual Stone of the Forest.
The Tree explains the stones are the key to unlocking the Sacred Realm where the mysterious Triforce is kept. Link is tasked with finding the other two Spiritual Stones before the evil Ganondorf.
Link watches as the Great Deku tree dies. With his final words he tells Link to seek out… Zelda.
Episode 2: Hyrule
Saria waits for Link at the edge of Kokiri forest. She gives him the Fairy Ocarina. The two share an emotional goodbye before he leaves the forest and enters Hyrule. Almost immediately he is attacked by a troop of Stalchildren. With little fighting experience, the battle is awkward but Link prevails.
The vast landscape of Hyrule is overwhelming for him but he pushes forward encountering various creatures along the way. One evening, he finds Lon Lon Ranch and meets Talon, his daughter Malon and the jealous Ingo.
Ingo wants the ranch to himself and constantly plots to take it from Talon. He allows several creatures to enter the ranch. As a result, the Lon Lon Ranch barn is overrun with dangerous Skullwalltulas. Link helps them defeat the creatures and unknowingly makes an enemy in Ingo.
During his time at the ranch, Link befriends a young horse named Epona. Malon teaches Link to play Epona’s Song on his Ocarina and he shares a moment with both Malon and Epona the horse.
Link leaves the ranch. Days later, he sneaks into Hyrule Castle to find Zelda. After a suspenseful search he meets Impa, a Sheikah who leads him to the princess. She tells him of a dream she had where a forest boy arrives to help her defeat the evil Ganondorf. Together, they form a plan to find the two remaining Spiritual Stones and keep the Triforce out of his hands.
She teaches him to play ‘Zelda’s Lullaby’.
Episode 3: Zora’s Sapphire
The episode begins as Link discovers Lake Hylia. It’s a gorgeous place. Thanks to Zelda’s intructions, Link finds a hidden entrance behind a waterfall and plays ‘Zelda’s Lullaby’ to open it.
He enters the secret passageway and makes his way into Zora’s domain. Once there, he meets King Zora who is desperate to rescue his daughter Princess Ruto. Link agrees to help and enters the mouth of a giant whale like creature called Jabu-Jabu.
Link defeats the evil inside, rescues Princess Ruto and receives his second Spiritual Stone, Zora’s Sapphire, as a reward.
He leaves the Zoras behind. Somehow he loses his way and finds himself in The Lost Forest. Thankfully, Link finds Saria who teaches him ‘Saria’s Song’ and guides him through a secret passage into Goron City.
Episode 4: The Song of Time
The Goron’s sacred cavern is infested with ancient creatures. Link convinces the Goron Darunia to trust him by playing his Ocarina. He enters the cavern and defeats the enormous dragon-like creature Dodongo. For completing this quest, Darunia entrust Link with Goron’s Ruby. The final Spiritual Stone.
Link immediately heads back to Hyrule Castle to find Zelda. But he is too late… Ganondorf has attacked the castle. Link arrives as Impa races out of the castle with Zelda. Zelda throws an Ocarina into the moat.
Meanwhile, Ganondorf appears at the gate. The villain doesn’t consider Link to be a threat so he knocks him down and pursues Zelda.
Link retrieves the magical Ocarina of Time from the moat. When Link touches the instrument he is connected psychically to Zelda. She teaches him ‘The Song of Time’.
Link finds the Temple of Time and enters using the song Zelda taught him. Once inside, he finds the Master Sword. He pulls the swords from it’s resting place and opens the door to the Sacred Realm. Suddenly, Ganondorf appears. The King of Thieves suspected Link knew the way inside the Sacred Realm all along. Link is helpless as Ganondorf enters the Sacred Realm and touches the Triforce.
Episode 5: Power, Wisdom & Courage
The opening sequence of this episode tells the story of three Goddesses: Power, Wisdom and Courage. Each represents one segment of the Triforce. If you possess these three qualities when you touch the Triforce, it remains in tact. However, if someone with evil intentions touches the Triforce, it is split apart…
We then flashback to a time before Ganondorf called himself the King of Thieves. We follow his dark decent as he betrays his family and friends. We see his lust for power first hand. The episode is dominated by Ganondorf’s backstory. We find out he was responsible for wounding Link’s birth mother long ago. We find out he knew Zelda and Link’s plan all along and how he managed to sneak inside the Sacred Realm.
However, once he touches the Triforce, it breaks leaving him with only the Triforce of Power… He escapes the Sacred Realm, declares himself the King of Hyrule and uses his newfound power to unleash countless horrors across the land.
Seven years pass…
Suddenly, Link is awakened by a Sage named Rauru. Link learns how much time has past and gets a glimpse of himself. He’s an adult now…
Episode 6: Seven Years
Still inside the Sacred Realm, Rauru reveals that he was the one who sealed Link inside for seven years. He tells Link about Ganondorf and the state of Hyrule. He also explains the only way to defeat the villain. Link must use the Master Sword and awaken five other sages hidden in temples around the world.
Rauru gives Link the Light Medallion.
Suddenly, Link is transported back to the Temple of Time where he meets Sheik. A mysterious Sheikah who promises to help Link find the other five sages and the Medallions he needs to unite them all. Sheik instructs Link to seek out the Goron Darunia.
Link meets a devastated Darunia who reveals Ganondorf attacked years ago and nearly destroyed the entire Goron race by feeding them to the dragon, Volvagia. The remaining Goron were trapped inside the Fire Temple.
Link destroys the dragon, frees the Gorons and Darunia awakens as the Sage of Fire. Darunia gives Link the Fire Medallion.
Episode 7: Epona
The episode begins in a flashback. Ganondorf has just acquired the Triforce of Power. He attempts to force the Zoras to serve him. They refuse. As punishment, he freezes them in ice…
Seven years later, Link searches the frozen Water Temple for Princess Ruto. Suddenly, he is attacked by Morpha a tentacled gel filled giant. It nearly destoys Link but he prevails lifting the frozen curse in the process. The Zoras are saved. Princess Ruto awakens as the Sage of Water and gives Link the Water Medallion.
Link returns to Lon Lon Ranch. Talon is away leaving the ranch for Ingo to manage. Ingo treats Malon horribly making her do whatever he wants by threatening her horses.
Link find Malon broken and alone. She explains Ingo’s plan to take the ranch away from her father. Suddenly, Ingo finds Link. He hasn’t forgotten the fairy boy who foiled his plans seven years ago.
He kidnaps Malon. As they escape, Epona the horse comes to Link’s aid. Together, they chase down Ingo and run him out of the ranch forever. Malon allows Link to keep Epona. The focus of this episode is the strong connection between Link and Epona.
As he leaves the ranch riding Epona, he is blocked by a ghost like creature, Phantom Ganon. The monster shows Link an image of Saria in pain. Then disappears.
Episode 8: Phantom Ganon
Link and Epona race towards Kokiri forest and the Forest Temple within. On the way, Link is haunted by the monsters he’s defeated, the friends he’s failed to protect and the looming threat Ganondorf poses to Hyrule.
He enters the forest and meets Mido who helps him find the Forest Temple entrance. Once inside, a more confident Link destroys every enemy in his path. Until he comes across the mysterious Poe Sisters. They present a difficult puzzle for him to solve. He must do so quickly, as Mido is being held captive and will die if he fails.
Link solves the puzzle and enters a large chamber where Phantom Ganon awaits. Link’s new sword fighting abilities are no match for the ghost at first. Phantom Ganon travels between massive paintings on the walls attacking Link at will. Finally, Link is able to trick the Phantom into revealing himself and defeats him.
Link and Saria share a moment then she reveals herself to be the Sage of the Forest. She gives link the Forest Medallion.
Episode 9: Shadow and Spirit
Link is awakened by Sheik. A fellow Sheikah (and Zelda’s protector), Impa, has surfaced and needs help. Link sets out to find the Shadow Temple.
Link arrives to find Impa under attack by twin witches named Koume and Kotake. He helps fight them back. Before they flee to the Spirit Temple, they unleash Bongo Bongo. A giant beast with one eye and massive hands that detach from his body.
Impa and Link team up to defeat the creature. This awakens Impa as the Sage of Shadow. She gives him the Shadow Medallion.
Sheik appears to teach link the ‘Requiem of Spirit’ allowing him to return to his younger form. He plays the song on his Ocarina and passes out. When he wakes, he is younger, alone and stands before the Spirit Temple.
Inside, Link is stalked by the twin witches. Fighting off visions of his past, Child Link overhears a conversation between Ganondorf and Nabooru. Link follows and discovers she plans to betray Ganondorf. The King of Thieves discovers the plot, brainwashes Nabooru and locks her away. Link plays the ‘Requiem of Spirit’. As an adult, he now knows exactly where to find Nabooru and how to save her.
He finds her hidden cell but he’s attacked by an armored Knight. Link survives long enough to defeat the Knight. In doing so, it’s revealed the Knight is actually Nabooru! Suddenly, they are ambushed by the witches. During the battle, Nabooru helps Link defeat twins. She is the Sage of Spirit and hands Link the Spirit Medallion. The time has come to confront Ganondorf.
Episode 10: The Hero of Time
Back at the Temple of Time, Link finds Sheik. He reveals himself to be Zelda! Years ago, Zelda disguised herself as a male Sheik with the help of Impa. She reveals herself to be the seventh sage.
Suddenly, Ganondorf appears. After years of hunting, he has finally found her. He takes her to his tower fortress.
With the help of the Sages, Link is able to break the magical barrier surrounding the fortress. On top of the tower, Ganondorf stands with the Trifoce of Power embedded in his hands. He already knows the Triforce of Courage resides within Link and the Trifoce of Wisdom within Zelda. Link and Zelda realize their destinies brought them to this place. To defend the world and defeat Ganondorf.
Zelda is encased in glass as Link struggles to battle Ganondorf. Finally, Link realizes the true potential of his power and defeats his nemesis. Zelda is released from her glass cell.
Suddenly, Ganondorf summons the remainder of his power and transforms into the enormous Ganon. The creature hunts them both down causing enormous damage to the tower. It crumbles beneath them with Link and Zelda narrowly escaping death.
When the dust settles, Link and Zelda find themselves face to face with Ganon. Combining their courage and wisdom, they defeat Ganon and restore the Triforce to it’s rightful place. After sharing an emotional moment, she guides Link back to the Temple of Time. Once there, he returns the Master Sword and…
He awakens a boy again in Kokiri Forest. Hyrule is back to normal. He makes his way back to Hyrule Castle and finds Zelda. The two share a smile.