Rumors of Legend of Zelda series planned for Netflix met with glee, skepticism

Fans of The Legend of Zelda rejoiced this weekend as reports surfaced that the perennially popular video game is coming to Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) as a live-action series.

Unnamed sources told The Wall Street Journal that the project, which is described as being like "Game of Thrones, but for families" is still looking for writers and is in very early stages--meaning that there's a chance it may not get off the ground. Netflix is reportedly working closely with Nintendo on developing the series.

That caveat didn't stop legions of Zelda stalwarts from speculating as to what the series may be. The Verge put up a list of actors it thinks would fit best in key roles--including Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams and Beast of the Southern Wilds' Quvenzhané Wallis as young Link and young Zelda, respectively, Laurence Fishburne as the King of Hyrule, and Beyoncé as the Fairy Queen.

Others are more skeptical that the series will come to fruition. While noting that the show makes sense business-wise, the Guardian's tech blog argued that players used to the games' open-world concept, obfuscated timeline and differing aesthetics would make transitioning to a naturally rigid TV series difficult. Zelda has already failed as an animated series, it noted. And as a coup de grace, the post threw out its highest-scoring card: a trailer for the disastrous 1993 Super Mario Bros. live-action movie.

Still, Netflix has made a number of interesting content bets that have paid out. Its series House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black have racked up award nominations and wins. Online video services from Hulu to Yahoo to AOL spent much of last year launching or growing their own original content units to keep up.

Further, content guru Ted Sarandos' controversial same-day streaming and theatrical release of a sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon hasn't even happened yet. But other providers--including Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and, perhaps inadvertently, Sony Pictures--are announcing their own narrowed or simultaneous VOD-theatrical releases.

Finally, the popularity of games online--not just playing them, but watching live-streamed games via providers like Twitch or Dailymotion--indicates the audience for such a series may be in place. Achieving success with a live-action Link may not be that far-fetched.

For more:
- The Wall Street Journal has this story
- The Verge has this story
- The Guardian has this post

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