I would have commented on this yesterday, but the news about Spider-Man being brought into the Marvel Cinematic Universe was just too good. I’m still stoked about that!
But I digress.
Netflix is making a pretty good niche for itself, yes? Not only do they provide online streaming for movies and available television shows, but they’re producing their own equivalent of television shows, with a wide range of subject material, with exclusive online rights.
The first one of these I heard about was Lilyhammer, concerning a mobster who flips on his mob and gets himself shipped to Norway, having seen the place on the television during the 1992 Winter Olympics. Being half-Viking on my mother’s side, the premise alone managed to intrigue me. I still haven’t watched much of it, but it seems cute and entertaining, so it’s on my list.
I’ve since heard of Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Mako Mermaids, and, of course, the upcoming effort made in partnership with Marvel Studios, adding Dardevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders to their cinematic universe. These are just a few of the shows Netflix has produced, is producing, and will continue to produce. We’ve only just seen the start.
Among their impending endeavors: Netflix has partnered with Nintendo to produce a live-action television-style show based on the classic and ongoing video game franchise, The Legend of Zelda.
I find this to be a most interesting idea.
I can’t recall a single time where anyone – anyone – adapted something we play, like a video game, into something we watch, like a movie, that met with any great success. Indeed, I can’t recall one time where the end product was of any quality to warrant real success.
But this isn’t a movie, is it? It’s not even a kids’ cartoon show, most of which have also been terrible.
This is something brand new, I believe.
And that is significant. No one’s ever done this before, that I can recall, so who’s to say it can’t be done?
As a television show, there is far more space for the gradual development of plot, setting, and characters than a mere two hours on the big screen can provide. When adapting a video game franchise known for all of these, this extra breathing room can be a lifesaver. Also, being live-action, it could be taken more seriously by both the creators and the audience, thus resulting in some actual quality in the finished product.
Indeed, with Nintendo taking part in the effort, instead of just selling the rights and watching whatever happens to their trademark and beloved characters on the screen, quality will probably be foremost in their minds. While I doubt Netflix would be reckless with this, there is a certain amount of comfort to be found in knowing that the people who know and love and rely on this franchise will be part of the process.
So, with absolutely no idea what will really happen, I’m actually excited about this!
And now I can just let my imagination run wild with the possibilities!
Which game might this show be based on? Or will they base it on any single game at all? I wouldn’t. In fact, it would probably be worse for them if they tried to base it on any one of the games. Not only do people have their favorites and least favorites, resulting in an inevitable backlash of titanic proportions, but the most major obstacle I can find to adapting a game into a movie (or television show) is that there is a fundamental difference between the two.
A game is meant to be played, to have constant and entertaining interaction as the player directs the characters to do such-and-such and move along an established plot, investing in it, and often taking a good long while to advance. A movie is meant to be watched, to have the audience just sit back and have everything about the characters, their choices, the plot, and the world it’s all set in brought to them, no activity required on their part. So, a game can have great periods where the player is active, but nothing really happens. Movies do not have that luxury.
It would be brilliant if they created a plot, and a world, independent of the games but with countless nods towards them, not entirely dissimilar to Disney’s approach with Once Upon a Time.
This makes other questions all the more important. Which characters will appear? Will Link be traveling alone, a’la Samurai Jack? Will he have a companion, like Navi, Midna, and Fi? He will doubtless have friends, but will they be with him, fighting by his side? What will the challenges be, with the culture or temples, riddles, monsters, and bosses? Who will the antagonist be, and will there be more than one? Will Ganon/Ganondorf be the ultimate enemy?
What will the fighting even be like? That, right there, can make the difference between thrilling and campy. How realistic will it be? How violent or not? How much magic will there be?
What will the goals of the quest(s) be? Will we see the goddesses?
Will there be an actual love story, in place of the fanfic fodder of the games, where Link gets a specific girl? Will it be Princess Zelda or someone else?
Are they really going to try and pass off Link’s trademark green tunic and long, pointed, green cap as something normal? 😉
Soooo… many… questions! 😀
I know it’ll be a good while before we know anything more about all this, but I am already very intrigued!