Will there be a Legend of Zelda series on Netflix?

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

People have been wondering for years whether there will be a Legend of Zelda adaptation TV show or movie, and whether it'll come to Netflix. Well, that first question has been answered, although the latter still hasn't.

On Tuesday, November 7, Nintendo (Zelda publisher) confirmed that a live-action Zelda adaptation had been in the works for several years, and that development had officially started too. The Maze Runner director Wes Ball is set to direct and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom writer Derek Connolly will write the script.

This is the latest in a long line of rumored (or confirmed) Legend of Zelda adaptations, and while some have been tied to Netflix, this one isn't. Let's take a long look at the older and newer attempted adaptations now:

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 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.

The upcoming adaptation

The upcoming live-action Zelda adaptation doesn't have a confirmed release date, plot, cast or release platform. We do know that it's a movie, not a TV show.

Nintendo will produce the show, alongside Sony Pictures, and people who are keen to see Zelda on Netflix will find one name conspicuously absent from the list of involved production companies: Netflix itself.

Like 2023's The Super Mario Bros. Movie, it's unlikely then that the Legend of Zelda adaptation will be a straight-to-Netflix creation, as Nintendo's few produced movies have all been theatrical releases.

However, the movie could eventually come to Netflix already, as many big-name movies do. Many Sony movies serve time on the streamer, like Venom, Uncharted and 65 all proving popular on the platform, so it's possible that a Zelda show will follow suit. The best judge will be whether the Mario movie does so first.

Could a Legend of Zelda TV show happen?

After the Netflix episode, and the confirmed upcoming movie, the  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 seemingly focused on big-screen productions if The Super Mario Bros. Movie and the Zelda film adaptation are any judge, but that doesn't rule out TV.

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)

Helping the matter is Netflix's prevalence in animated adaptations of existing franchises. We've seen movies or TV shows for Cyberpunk 2077, Dragon Age 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 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 around the time of the movie adaptation.

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.