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The Legend of Zelda looks perfectly campy in fan-made ’80s dark fantasy trailer

This is what a live-action film might have looked like

Nicole Clark (she/her) is a culture editor at Polygon, and a critic covering internet culture, video games, books, and TV, with work in the NY Times, Vice, and Catapult.

Zelda and Link are heroes and household names at the top of everyone’s minds, given the success of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and its predecessor Breath of the Wild. But the franchise has never gotten a live-action film release — though a silly animated series was made in 1989 — even as juggernauts like Pokémon adaptation Detective Pikachu have graced theater screens. A fan is rectifying this grave injustice in the form of a trailer, that imagines The Legend of Zelda as a 1980s dark fantasy film.

Video editor Dom Nero pays overt homage to The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, even from the trailer’s opening. The fan-made trailer flashes the logo for Jim Henson’s production company, the writer and director behind these two films (and the creator of The Muppets, of course.) Nero even edited credits into the end of the trailer, imagining that this film would be created by Nintendo and The Henson Company, and produced by Shigeru Miyamoto, Steven Spielberg, and Ridley Scott.

The trailer also mashes up famous scenes from The Princess Bride and cult classic The NeverEnding Story — a film that I watched as a kid, and that I thought was a fever dream for years after. That film’s Hungry Rockbiter gets a cameo and genuinely looks like the type of enemy Link has fought — a Talus, probably — but with classic ’80s flair. Famous Zelda iconography, like the Triforce, also make appearances in the trailer.

It’s a fun watch that inspires nostalgia for something that never existed (but perhaps could have). This might be what the film would have looked like, had one come out around the time the first Zelda game was released in 1986.

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