The Wall Street Journal reported in 2015 that Netflix was working on a live-action “The Legend of Zelda” television show and described the project as “‘Game of Thrones’ for a family audience.” The project was in its early stages at the time and casting details and a prospective release date were never provided. The Journal’s article proved to be the “Zelda” show’s undoing and also inadvertently killed another television adaptation of one of Nintendo’s oldest franchises, according to Adam Conover, the creator of TruTV’s “Adam Ruins Everything.”
Conover explained the “Zelda” show’s premature death in a recent interview on The Serf Times YouTube show. Conover noted that he was involved in a claymation television adaptation of Nintendo’s “Star Fox” franchise around the time of the Journal’s “Zelda” report and said that Nintendo swiftly axed both series due to the leak of the latter title.
“We had a secret project at CollegeHumor where we were gonna make a claymation version of Star Fox with Nintendo,” Conover said in the interview. “It was gonna happen, we were gonna make a ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ style ‘Star Fox.’ Then a month later there were reports that Netflix wasn’t doing ‘The Legend of Zelda’ anymore. Then I heard from my boss that we weren’t doing ‘Star Fox’ anymore. Someone at Netflix leaked ‘The Legend of Zelda’ thing and they weren’t supposed to talk about it. Nintendo freaked out because it was the first time they had done any television or other adaptations for years and years. But when Netflix leaked it, they freaked out and they pulled the plug on the entire program to adapt these things.”
CollegeHumor’s claymation “Star Fox” show was never announced or leaked in the media.
Netflix and Nintendo did not return requests for comment.
Though Nintendo was involved in several adaptations of its franchises in the late 1980s and 1990s, including an animated “The Legend of Zelda” show that aired in 1989, the company has been reluctant to allow film or television adaptations of any of its video game IPs in recent years — “Pokémon” being the notable exception. The 1993 live-action “Super Mario Bros.” film, which starred Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo, and Dennis Hopper, remains infamous for its negative critical reception.
Adam’s explanation about the Nintendo shows can be viewed below: