How ‘The Legend of Zelda’ Leaks Killed the Netflix Live-Action Series

Nintendo has closely guarded their IPs after the disastrous The Legend of Zelda cartoon and the Super Mario Bros. in the 90s. However, that never stopped fans from pushing for something like a Legend of Zelda movie or TV show. And in 2015, it seemed fans might see an epic Hyrule story when live-action Legend of Zelda leaks came from Netflix. However, the rumors actually killed the project altogether.

A reenactment of JRR Tolkien's 'The Hobbit' which uses elves, similar to Hylians that would have appeared in a Nintendo and Netflix collaboration if not for the live-action 'Legend of Zelda' leaks
A reenactment of JRR Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ | Michal Cizek/AFP via Getty Images

Nintendo was making a  live-action ‘Legend of Zelda’ Netflix series

Imagine the year 2015, A Link Between Worlds released a few years before, and Nintendo announced Breath of the Wild.

Suddenly, news outlets started reporting a leaked Legend of Zelda live-action series from Netflix. Fans imagined who could play Princess Zelda, Link, Ganondorf, the King of Hyrule, and others in the Legend of Zelda live-action cast.

RELATED: ‘The Legend of Zelda’ Timeline, Simplified: Hylia and the Hero of Time, From ‘Skyward Sword’ to ‘Ocarina of Time’

And then silence from Nintendo.

Many fans assumed the reports had just been rumors. However, comedian Adam Conover knew more about the story than rumors.

Adam Conover explained how the live-action ‘Legend of Zelda’ leaks killed the Netflix show

An internet comedian turned TV host seems like an odd origin for a heavily-guarded secret. However, Conover gave some context about how he knows what went down regarding the live-action Legend of Zelda Netflix show. It had less to do with the behind-the-scenes drama surrounding the Link and Zelda and more with Nintendo’s IP protectiveness.

“At the same time I worked at CollegeHumor, we had a secret project that we were gonna make a claymation version of Starfox with Nintendo,” Conover told The Serf Times podcast at around the 39-minute mark. “I know this because Shigeru Miyamoto came to our office.”

The Starfox project would parody the Wes Anderson film Fantastic Mr. Fox but with Fox McCloud and Falco. Conover hoped to meet Miyamoto himself but was not in the office that day.

“Then, like a month later, suddenly there were reported that ‘Netflix isn’t doing this Legend of Zelda anymore,’” Conover recalled about the live-action project. “And then I heard from my boss that we’re not doing Starfox anymore.”

When he pushed his boss for more info, he revealed that someone at the streaming service caused Nintendo to bail from the video game adaptation project.

“And then I went and asked him, and he said ‘Oh, someone at Netflix leaked The Legend of Zelda thing, they weren’t supposed to talk about it,’” Conover continued. “Nintendo freaked out because it was the first time they had done anything [with] IP in years for any project.”

‘Super Mario’ movie from Illumination might signal Nintendo trying again

Nintendo took a huge risk partnering with Netflix, but the live-action Legend of Zelda leaks made them uneasy enough to back out. Fans wouldn’t see Link, Princess Zelda, or Ganondorf on-screen after all.

“They had no television, no adaptations of any kind for years and years. But when Netflix leaked it, they freaked out and pulled the plug on everything,” Conover said. “That was my first experience seeing a news story and knowing what was behind, [I said] ‘No one is reporting on the fact that what happened Netflix leaked this and ended up killing the whole project.”

But at least a parody trailer of “The Fantastic Mr. Strafox” came out online.

While leaks stopped Nintendo for another few years from trying adaptations, the Super Mario Bros. movie might change all of that.

Nintendo partnered with a huge company, Illumination, for an animated Mario movie. They cast stars like Jack Black as Bowser and Chris Pratt as Mario.

Depending on how fans receive the Mario movie, Nintendo might try at another Legend of Zelda series in the future.

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