The Legend of Zelda series tells a unique story where every Link and Princess Zelda are new incarnations of the same people in every game. Well, almost every game. Sometimes, Legend of Zelda games feature the same hero and princess from another game, like A Link to the Past and Link’s Awakening. However, for games starring ‘Toon Link,’ fans ask if The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is the same hero as Wind Waker and Spirit Tracks.
Link in ‘Phantom Hourglass’ is the same one in ‘Wind Waker’
At the end of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, the old King of Hyrule uses the Triforce to wash away Ganondorf and the last of the kingdom. He sends Link and Princess Zelda to search for a new land to rebuild the now-lost kingdom of Hyrule.
Phantom Hourglass picks up after the end of Wind Waker, making Link the same hero in both games.
Link and Princess Zelda (who re-assumed her pirate identity Tetra) chased down a ghost ship that had kidnapped some island locals. They manage to capture it, but Link and Tetra disappear into the World of the Ocean King.
After defeating the evil Bellum, they return to their world and continue their quest to establish New Hyrule. Eventually, they do discover a new land where they rebuild New Hyrule. However, the new country had its own history of good vs. evil.
‘Spirit Tracks’ is a different Link than in ‘Phantom Hourglass’ and ‘Windwaker
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks takes place about 100 years after Phantom Hourglass and Wind Waker. While Hylians and other characters in the Zelda series frequently live well over 100 years, Link and Princess Zelda’s dynamic is entirely different.
While the royal family rules over New Hyrule, Link works as the apprentice of master engineer Alfonzo.
The game confirms Princess Zelda in Spirit Tracks directly descended from Tetra. She is actually Princess Zelda V as Tetra’s great-great-grandaughter. However, Link does not seem to have descended from the Phantom Hourglass and Wind Waker Link.
While Link and Zelda in Spirit Tracks are a different hero and princess from Phantom Hourglass and Wind Waker, they look almost identical to their predecessors.
And of course, thanks to Demise’s curse in Skyward Sword, every Link and Zelda have the destiny to face evil. The demon king Malladus emerges to cause trouble for the two. However, Link and Zelda managed to seal him away.
If Link and Zelda are separate from their other incarnations, why do fans get confused with these versions of the hero and princess?
‘Toon Link’ likely caused the confusion in ‘The Legend of Zelda’ series
Super Smash Bros. Brawl added Toon Link to the roster and a stage based on Tetra’s pirate ship from Wind Waker. While Link’s design in Brawl clearly originated from Twilight Princess, the cel-shaded Toon Link could have come from Wind Waker, Phantom Hourglass, Four Swords, or even Minish Cap.
Many fans have assumed that ‘Toon Link’ is one character. However, the cel-shaded Toon Link has actually represented six different incarnations of Link.
In addition to the two from Spirit Tracks, Phantom Hourglass and Wind Waker, Toon Link appeared as the heroes in Minish Cap and Four Swords. Tri Force Heroes used Toon Link as the green-haired hero, though Nintendo confirmed that he was the same hero as A Link Between Worlds.
Finally, he appeared in Four Swords Adventures as one of the latest incarnations of Link in The Legend of Zelda timeline.