Posted on November 20 2023 by Leslie Jacobson
Since the official announcement of a live-action movie based on The Legend of Zelda, the fandom has been speculating everything from who should play what role to who is writing the script. Some have even speculated different actors for the role of Link. Yet, before I would hazard a guess at who should play Link, I wonder what age he should be in the movie.
In most games in the Zelda series, Link appears to be a teenager. He seems to be young teen in a few titles, such as A Link to the Past and part of Ocarina of Time. He looks to be an older teen in Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword, and Breath of the Wild/Tears of the Kingdom. The aforementioned games are some of the most well-known and popular in the series. If the casting director wants to bet on what most audiences will be familiar with, a teenager makes sense.
Of course, Link has appeared as child in several games as well. In the original NES game, he’s not quite an adult, although in some official art he does have the shorter stature and chubbiness of a child. In Ocarina of Time he started off as a child, and was also a child in Majora’s Mask and The Wind Waker. Other games took on the child-looking “Toon Link” look for the hero as well. Many of the games in which Link appears as a child are also beloved entries in the series.
Honestly, looking strictly at the numbers, Link has been a child in half of the released games and a teenager in the other half. “Young Link” and “Toon Link” both appear in the Smash Bros. series, showing the demand for those depictions of Link as well.
So, where does that leave the movie? There’s as much reason to cast a child actor as Link as there is to cast an older teen or young-looking adult.
My personal thought is that the actor cast as Link will have the look of a teenager, but the actor himself will be 18 or older. Child actors have strict laws about when they can work, and their working hours are limited. This means having an official “adult” in the lead role will make the most sense for the demands of filming a movie. Plus, when Nintendo wants to promote the series itself, the image for Link is that of an older teenager, similar to his adult Ocarina of Time/Twilight Princess/Skyward Sword appearances. Most depictions of child Link are in the Toon Link style, and that could look awkward for a live-action movie.
Of course, the movie could take an Ocarina of Time approach and have part of the movie follow Link as a child and then the other part of the movie have Link depicted as a teenager.
What do you think? How old should Link be in the new Zelda movie? What is your preference? Let us know in the comments!
Featured artwork: windsleeper
Leslie is a mom, a cosplayer, an educator, and a fervent fan of The Legend of Zelda series. She lives in an area of the United States that reminds her of the Akkala region in the fall and Hebra the other 11 months of the year. She owns The Legend of Zelda t-shirts older than most of her students.