Nintendo and Sony have recently announced the first-ever live-action film adaptation of the classic video game The Legend of Zelda, an action-adventure game franchise created by the Japanese game designers Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka. But while fans are clamouring for Tom Holland to be cast as Link, Nintendo might already have someone else in mind for the live-action The Legend of Zelda movie.
As you may know, the Zelda series centres on the various incarnations of Link, a courageous young man of the elf-like Hylian race, and Princess Zelda, a magical princess within the bloodline of the goddess Hylia, as they fight to save the magical land of Hyrule, from Ganon, an evil warlord turned demon king, who is the principal antagonist of the series.
As with Mario and many of Nintendo’s other properties, it goes without saying that Link is an iconic character in pop culture.
News of the film adaptation was unceremoniously announced on the Nintendo website. A nonplussed press release from the gaming company read, ‘The film will be produced by Shigeru Miyamoto, Representative Director and Fellow of Nintendo and co-producer for The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Avi Arad, Chairman of Arad Productions Inc., who has produced many mega-hit films.’ Arad is an influential Israeli producer and CEO of Marvel Entertainment.
Arad has produced many Marvel and Sony films like the X-Men trilogy, Sam Raimi’s Spiderman trilogy, Venom, Into the Spiderverse and Spiderman: No Way Home. Nintendo and Sony also announced that Wes Ball, director of the upcoming Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, will direct The Legend of Zelda.
Nintendo enjoyed a lucrative box office for their previous adaptation, The Super Mario Bros. Movie. The gaming company teamed with Universal Pictures to produce the film, and together, they enjoyed a billion-dollar box office. Film adaptations of popular games used to be a financial dead end, but The Super Mario Bros. Movie and others like Sonic The Hedgehog, Uncharted and Pokémon Detective Pikachu have shown that these adaptations have turned a corner and can be successful.
Nintendo worked closely with Sony Pictures on the Mario film, and the gaming giant is now looking toward their next collaboration, hoping to reap similar rewards with The Legend of Zelda. For years, fan casting for the mythical film has been pushing Tom Holland as the perfect choice to play Link.
The Spiderman: No Way Home star may be rumoured to play Link due in part to his close ties to Avi Arad, who worked with Holland on the Spiderman series of films and Uncharted. The latter was a surprising hit for Sony. The film had plenty of detractors and naysayers, mainly gamers who abhorred the liberties the makers of the film took with the source material. Still, it succeeded with average filmgoers and was a sign which signalled that game adaptations have finally arrived and can become big hits apart from players and fans of the games the films are based on.
Holland has a youthful, elven look, which corresponds with Link. However, some The Legend of Zelda fans argue that Holland is far too old to play the lead. The Hylian elf is under eighteen in most of the games, and the original game features a Link that was ten years old. Holland is 28 and will be closer to 30 when the film is released.
Enter Walker Scobell
Online chatter suggests that Sony and Nintendo should look toward an actual younger actor like Walker Scobell for the role of Link. Scobell is a 14-year-old rising star who appeared alongside Ryan Reynolds in Netflix’s The Adam Project and is also set to appear in the upcoming Percy Jackson and the Olympians television fantasy series for Disney+.
Scobell has an uncanny similarity to Link, a diminutive stature and the bearing of an elvish or forest creature. Scobell is also a good actor and a great fit to play Link.
While some feel he is too old, Tom Holland would also make a good casting choice. Holland can still pass for his late teens and could play a slightly older version of Link. The only question is whether the role should go to a rising star like Walker Scobell or a famous actor like Holland.