A live-action film based on the hit game franchise The Legend of Zelda is in development, gaming giant Nintendo confirmed on Wednesday.
The film will be directed by Wes Ball, who directed The Maze Runner series and the upcoming Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes. It will co-financed by Nintendo and Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Shigeru Miyamoto, Legend of Zelda creator and representative director at Nintendo, will produce the film with Avi Arad, producer of films including the Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse.
“I have been working on the live-action film of The Legend of Zelda for many years now with Avi Arad-san, who has produced many mega hit films,” Miyamoto said in a statement on X, formerly Twitter. “It will take time until its completion, but I hope you look forward to seeing it.”
Zelda is one of the most beloved gaming franchises of all time, beginning with the first 2D 8-bit game in 1986. Set in the fantastical kingdom of Hyrule, the franchise follows an elf-like hero called Link who must repeatedly save the land and its princess, the titular Zelda, from evil forces – most often the villanous Ganon.
Consisting of 19 games and three remakes, the Zelda games have sold more than 130m copies around the world, with the most recent installments, 2017’s The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild and its 2022 sequel Tears of the Kingdom, considered to be among of the best video games of all time.
A Legend of Zelda film has long been anticipated by fans of the franchise, but Nintendo has remained very protective of its properties since the release of the universally panned Super Mario Bros film in 1993, starring Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo.
A Zelda animated series was released in 1989, and Netflix announced it was developing another animated series in 2015, but no show materialised.
But a Zelda film began to seem more likely after the huge success of Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros film last year, which made more than $1bn at the global box office.
“By producing visual contents of Nintendo IP by itself, Nintendo is creating new opportunities to have people from around the world to access the world of entertainment which Nintendo has built, through different means apart from its dedicated game consoles,” the company said in a statement announcing the Zelda film.
“By getting deeply involved in the movie production with the aim to put smiles on everyone’s faces through entertainment, Nintendo will continue its efforts to produce unique entertainment and deliver it to as many people as possible.”