Will there be a Legend of Zelda series on Netflix?

The Legend of Zelda and Netflix logos
(Image credit: Nintendo / Netflix)

If you're an avid Netflix user, or a Legend of Zelda fan, you've probably been hearing rumors about a streaming service adaptation of the popular video game franchise for many, many years now.

While there has been a TV adaptation of The Legend of Zelda before, in the form of a single-series cartoon from 1989, people are getting excited at the prospect of another, newer version hitting the small screen once again. But is there anything in these rumors?

Well yes, but also possibly no — there's already a storied past behind the adaptation and an uncertain future. We'll run you through what we know, and what we could see going forward.

The 2015 adaptation

Even since 2015, before Stranger Things debuted and the same year Netflix's first film, Beasts of No Nation, graced the platform, we've heard news of an adaptation of The Legend of Zelda.

Rumors of a Netflix show based on the Nintendo property were seemingly vindicated in February of the year when the Wall Street Journal (opens in new tab) broke the news of the upcoming adaptation.

Apparently, this show was set to focus on a boy called Link saving a princess named Zelda — seemingly, it didn't veer too far from the source material. An intriguing quote from the Journal's source compared it to Game of Thrones, except designed for family audiences. Presumably without all the violence, murder and warfare, then.

Promotional artwork for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Promotional artwork for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Image credit: Nintendo)

Years of silence ensued, until 2021. Voice actor Adam Conover, who was apparently working on an adaptation of Netflix property Starfox at the same time, spoke to the podcast The Serf Times revealing more about Zelda.

Apparently, after the Wall Street Journal leak, Nintendo decided to pull the plug on both the Zelda Netflix show and Starfox. Nintendo is known for keeping a tight lid on its upcoming projects, so pulling the plug on an in-production show wouldn't be out of character, especially if shooting hadn't started.

Could a Legend of Zelda TV show happen?

After the Netflix episode, the movie or TV future of Zelda is uncertain — but that doesn't mean that the adventures of Link and Zelda are totally gone from the small screen.

Nintendo is currently gearing up for the release of the Super Mario Movie (opens in new tab), set to release in April 2023, which follows the well-received Detective Pikachu from 2019. Both movies are part of a new push from Nintendo to make big-budget adaptations of its popular franchises (not including the frequent anime and animated adaptations of the latter).

The Super Mario movie poster showing Mario facing away from the viewer surrounded by Toads

The Super Mario movie poster showing Mario facing away from the viewer surrounded by Toads. (Image credit: Nintendo)

Fans likely hope that if the Mario movie is popular, Nintendo will start to adapt more of its popular properties — The Legend of Zelda would be an obvious choice, before other games like Animal Crossing or Splatoon.

Helping the matter is Netflix's prevalence in animated adaptations of existing franchises. We've seen movies or TV shows for Cyberpunk 2077, The Witcher, Godzilla, Pacific Rim, Monster Hunter and League of Legends, to name a few, and each is a Netflix Original.

So a Legend of Zelda anime would fit right into the streamer's wheelhouse and would fit well with the style established way back with the 1989 show.

For now, we don't know more about a Legend of Zelda live-action or animated adaptation for Netflix — and that's probably a good sign, if the alleged reasons for the 2015 version's cancelation are true. Hopefully, we'll hear more in the future, especially with a new game in the enduring series releasing in May 2023.

Tom Bedford
Streaming and Ecommerce Writer

Tom is the streaming and ecommerce writer at What to Watch, covering streaming services in the US and UK. His goal is to help you navigate the busy and confusing online video market, to help you find the TV, movies and sports that you're looking for without having to spend too much money.