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Here's Why Nintendo Canceled The Netflix Live-Action Zelda TV Series

Way back in March 2015 a rumor began to circulate thanks to a Wall Street Journal article that Netflix was set to adapt one of Nintendo's crown jewels into a live-action series — The Legend of Zelda. Since the original The Legend of Zelda was first released on the Japanese Famicom system on February 21, 1986, the ongoing game series has seen dozens of entries spanning across every generation of video game consoles. And while Link, Zelda, Ganondorf, and the rest of the franchise's icons have appeared in cartoons, comic books, art books, and even in their own themed version of Monopoly, there has never been a live-action series.

The likelihood of the project seemed to fizzle over time, but nearly six years to the day since the initial Netflix rumors we're finally hearing an update — and it's not a good one. Apparently, while the new rumor insists that there was an agreement between Netflix and Nintendo to bring the land of Hyrule to the streaming platform (along with another series we'll talk about momentarily), it seems somebody decided to back out.

There are a lot of reasons why TV shows don't make it past the planning stages, but the supposed reason why we're not getting a Netflix Zelda series is very atypical — and very, very Nintendo.

Did Nintendo panic after a Netflix leak?

Comedian and host of Adam Ruins Everything Adam Conover revealed in a video for The Serf Times that it was Nintendo themselves who pulled out of negotiations with Netflix. Not only is The Legend of Zelda off the board at Netflix, but so too apparently is a claymation-style Star Fox show that was allegedly set to be produced by College Humor in the style of The Fantastic Mr. Fox.

According to Conover (who was working with College Humor at the time), because Netflix leaked news of a possible live-action The Legend of Zelda series, Nintendo "freaked out" and "pulled the plug on everything," including the Netflix series, College Humor's Star Fox show, and any other potential adaptations.

Conover pointed out that Nintendo's intellectual property had not been adapted in any big-budget way for many years, and it's certainly true that Nintendo has historically held very tight control over their characters. One of the rare exceptions to the rule would be the often-mocked The Legend of Zelda games created for the Philips CD-i video game system (which were recently, unofficially remade on PC).

In very recent years, Nintendo has ventured to stick one scaly toe out of its koopa troopa shell. There's the Nintendo World Theme Park in Japan and, as of now at least, a still-planned CGI Super Mario Bros. movie in development.

However, a Legend of Zelda live-action series is unequivocally not happening — at least not now. If Conover's story is to be believed, we have Nintendo's cold feet to blame.