The Legend of Zelda is one of Nintendo’s most beloved video game series, and players have long hoped that it will one day get adapted into a live-action fantasy movie franchise. Although other gaming series have struggled to make the jump to live action, the expansive and immersive world of The Legend of Zelda makes it ideal for a movie series in a similar vein to The Lord of the Rings, as there are endless amounts of epic stories to explore. The characters in The Legend of Zelda are one of the series’ most important aspects, though, meaning that the movie’s casting needs to be perfect.
With the success of live-action video game movies like the Sonic the Hedgehog series, it may finally be time for a The Legend of Zelda adaptation to get its chance. Although The Legend of Zelda doesn’t feature a continuous overarching story, each of the games tells a similar story, albeit in a different location or time period. The games typically follow a young hero named Link, who goes on an adventure to save the magical Princess Zelda from an evil Gerudo sorcerer named Ganondorf. For this casting, the characters will mostly be based on the popular Breath of the Wild interpretations, and who would suit these versions of the roles.
Link – Lucas Till
Link is a difficult role to cast, as the young adventurer is a silent protagonist in the games. Throughout the series, Link has been characterized in tons of different ways, whether he be a kid, a time traveler, a wolf, or a general in Zelda’s army. For Nintendo’s first Zelda movie, what’s most important about Link is his endurance and his selflessness; always doing whatever it takes to protect the land of Hyrule and save Zelda. In Breath of the Wild, Link is an adult warrior who has been asleep for 100 years and wakes up with nothing besides the desire to defeat Calamity Ganon and save Hyrule.
With this description in mind, Lucas Till has some real potential in the role. The 32-year-old actor is the spitting image of an older version of Link, with his young looks and build making him the ideal Link actor. Although Lucas Till hasn’t starred in any major movies, he was the star of all five seasons of the MacGyver reboot, proving that he can carry a franchise, and can fully dedicate himself to the Zelda movie series. Till also played Havok in the X-Men prequel series, showing that the talented actor has experience in big action movie franchises.
Zelda – Saoirse Ronan
Princess Zelda is the ruler of the land of Hyrule, using her magic to protect its citizens. Although she’s powerful and bears much responsibility, Zelda is also kindhearted, with the princess being beloved by almost all the people of Hyrule. Zelda is also an incredibly studied character, having extensively studied her magic, as well as the history of Hyrule and the powerful Triforce. Notably, Zelda isn’t just a damsel in distress, as she also can transform into her unrecognizable disguise as a Sheikah ninja named Shiek.
Saoirse Ronan is an incredibly popular and marketable actress, and casting her as Zelda alongside Link in The Legend of Zelda would be a huge asset for the film. Ronan has experience playing royalty in Mary Queen of Scots, and her performances as Jo March in Little Women and Agatha in The Grand Budapest Hotel are perfectly in line with Zelda’s character. Ronan is also 28-years-old, putting her at around the same age as Till, and her role as Zelda would be a rare excuse for her to use her natural Irish accent. The actress would also work as Shiek, utilizing the more demanding attitude Ronan shows in Lady Bird.
Ganondorf – Riz Ahmed
Ganondorf is the most variable character in The Legend of Zelda lore, with the character’s interpretations varying wildly from game to game. Sometimes he’s a humanoid sorcerer named Ganondorf, sometimes he’s a massive tusked monster named Ganon, and sometimes he’s even a cloud of destructive Calamity energy. For the live-action movie, though, it’d be better to have Ganondorf, with him possibly turning into a monster during the climax. Ganondorf is the only male member of the Gerudo tribe, with the character becoming corrupted and wanting to take over Hyrule.
Although he is a more unorthodox choice, Riz Ahmed has what it takes to pull off The Legend of Zelda‘s Demon King and ensure the role has its necessary nuance. Ahmed is an incredibly talented actor who adds extra dimension to his roles, with his performance in The Sound of Metal getting him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. Ahmed has also played villains in Venom and Four Lions, giving him experience that would help with the complicated motivations of later iterations of the series antagonist.
Impa – Zoe Saldana
Impa is the bodyguard and advisor of Princess Zelda, with the character frequently being interpreted as a warrior throughout the series. While she used to be portrayed as elderly, more recent incarnations have shown Impa as an acrobatic warrior in her prime – although she still tends to be older than Zelda. Whoever plays Impa in the video game adaptation needs to be able to play a stoic and brave figure, and be able to hold her own in a fight.
Zoe Saldana is an ideal Impa, as the actress has been playing characters similar to Impa all her life. Saldana plays Neytiri in the Avatar movies, a fierce warrior whose tribal ties are reminiscent of Impa’s ties to the Shiekah. Saldana has been in massive franchises including Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Trek, and will hopefully bring similar levels of success to the Zelda film. Zoe Saldana was also in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, which, much like Zelda, is a mashup of fantasy worlds with the past.
The Old Man – Andy Serkis
In most Zelda games, the Old Man is the first character Link encounters, with the unhinged cave-dweller giving Link his sword and begining the epic fantasy series. Andy Serkis has experience with this type of character, having played Gollum, as well as the seemingly unstable villain Ulysses Klaue in Black Panther. In Breath of the Wild, the Old Man is revealed to be the spirit of the former King of Hyrule, and if the film chooses to follow this twist, Serkis can pull off the royal role as well. Serkis’ performances as Caesar in Planet of the Apes and Alfred in The Batman show that he can play a determined leader and someone who’s high-class.
Riju – Yasmina El-Abd
Riju is a young Gerudo princess who only appears in Breath of the Wild and its spin-off. Since Ganondorf will be in the Zelda film, the Gerudo will be important, meaning that the leader of the Gerudo must appear as well. Although she’s relatively unknown, Yasmina El-Abd co-starred in the HBO Max fantasy adventure show Theodosia, and The Legend of Zelda video game movie is where her career could really take off. Looks-wise, El-Abd is a perfect pick for the young princess, and Theodosia proves she has a history of acting around the types of tombs and artifacts that will populate the Gerudo kingdom.
Tingle – Patton Oswalt
Tingle is one of the stranger characters in the Zelda series, being a middle-aged man that believes he is a fairy. For a character as strange as Tingle, few performers could channel their acting abilities into the role as perfectly as Patton Oswalt. Oswalt has a history of playing comedic characters, and has made small appearances in all sorts of nerdy franchises, such as the MCU, Rick and Morty, and Teen Titans. Oswalt would be right at home in a movie based on a Nintendo video game series, and in the live-action Legend of Zelda movie, Patton Oswalt is arguably the only one that can pull off Tingle’s wonderfully bizarre characterization.