Exclusive: Legend Of Zelda Movie In Development From Illumination

Our sources say Illumination, the same studio behind The Super Mario Bros. Movie, is developing an animated movie adaptation of The Legend of Zelda.

By Michileen Martin | Published

legend of zelda movie

The greatest hero of Hyrule is finally on his way to the big screen. Our trusted and proven sources tell us Illumination — the same studio behind projects like the Despicable Me franchise and the upcoming The Super Mario Bros. Movie — is developing an animated The Legend of Zelda movie. Assuming it eventually makes it to the big screen, it will be the very first film adaptation of the franchise.

With everything from Fallout to Mass Effect to Tetris getting adapted into either a film or TV series, the time for a Legend of Zelda movie is certainly ripe. The most recent entry, 2017’s open-world The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been unashamedly touted as the best game ever made, including in Japan according to Game Informer. With the franchise’s popularity reaching new peaks, a trip to the big screen was inevitable.

The biggest surprise is that — again presuming the movie is ever produced — that it’s taken this long for The Legend of Zelda movie to get made. The first game was released in Japan in 1986 and North America the following year, to massive success. The Zelda franchise has since produced a total of 19 games, with a 20th — The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom — scheduled to come out in May.

While this will be the first Legend of Zelda movie, there was a not well-loved animated series in 1989. The show was loosely based on the events of the first game but ultimately only produced 13 episodes.

gaten matarazzo Zelda
Zelda and Link in the short-lived The Legend of Zelda animated series

In spite of it not being released until April, Illumination’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie continues to receive criticism for casting Chris Pratt in the voice role of Mario, and The Legend of Zelda movie could face criticism for anyone being cast as the voice of Link. While the sword-wielding hero does speak in the games, players never hear his voice; thereby making it easier to put themselves in his shoes. One of the criticisms of the 1989 animated series is that the hero was given a voice, performed by Jonathan Potts, which caused a disconnect with fans.

One solution could have already been suggested from an unexpected source. Actor Gaten Matarazzo — better known as the hero Dustin on Stranger Things — recently talked about hoping not only to eventually see an animated The Legend of Zelda movie, but that the studio would make the film’s setting “a vocally silent world.” Matarazzo’s vision had the film’s visuals and musical score doing all the heavy lifting.

It’s far too early to tell exactly what kind of concept Illumination will go with in The Legend of Zelda movie, but a film in which none of the characters speak seems a little too outside of the box for the folks behind Despicable Me and The Secret Life of Pets, but who knows? Faced with the difficulty of adapting such a world to the big screen, maybe they’ll listen to Matarazzo’s advice.