How The Legend Of Zelda Movie Director Is Approaching Fan Passion And Ideas In The Run-up To The Video Game Blockbuster

 Link flying through the air in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.
Link flying through the air in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.

Getting the opportunity to direct a movie based on a property you love is a dream for a lot of filmmakers… but it means running a gauntlet through a lot of voices. Not only are there producers and executives who have big ideas they want you to incorporate, but there are hundreds if not thousands of fellow fans who loudly proclaim that they know exactly how you should do your job.

If the latter is a poison, one could say that Wes Ball has spent a decade developing a special immunity to it – and it is serving him well now that he is attached to make The Legend Of Zelda, the first ever live-action movie based on the beloved video game franchise.

There are a lot of expectations for what the Nintendo adaptation should be, with gamers having spent decades imagining such a project in their own minds, and when I had the opportunity to interview Wes Ball last week at the Los Angeles press day for Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes, I inquired about the passionate Zelda fanbase. I asked how he was personally processing the onslaught of speculation and expressed desire for the developing blockbuster, and he explained that he sees it all. Said the filmmaker,

Look, I pay attention to it all. I hear it all. Fortunately, my training was on Maze Runner, which was a small but really passionate fan base. And now here I am in an Apes movie with equally passionate fan base and a much bigger one. So I've been playing in this expectations game for a while. I understand it. I hear the fans, and I want them to be happy. I am a fan myself.

Wes Ball only has three completed features as a director on his resume, but he is well-versed all the same in the world of franchise filmmaking. As alluded to by the director, he made his directorial debut with 2014’s The Maze Runner, which is based on author James Dashner’s popular book series. He followed up that work with two sequels – 2015’s Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials and 2018’s Maze Runner: The Death Cure – and he has plans for a brand new Planet Of The Apes trilogy that is launching with the aforementioned Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes.

The development of all the movies on Wes Ball’s filmography have involved fans who have their own vision of what his work should be, and it seems that experience has taught him to create a balance. He has a respect for what the audience wants to see, but it’s ultimately his job to express his personal vision, and that’s what he intends to do with The Legend Of Zelda. He continued,

At some point though, I have to trust my instincts and I have to make choices, and I'll do that – but coming from a place of real respect for and love for that property, which I've grown up with my entire life. It is so close to me and on so many levels.

Anticipation for a Legend Of Zelda movie grew intensely after the success of The Super Mario Bros. Movie in early 2023, and the project was officially announced as being in development last November. Video game mastermind Shigeru Miyamoto is producing the movie alongside veteran filmmaker Avi Arad, but we have not yet heard any news regarding casting or plot.

While we anticipate more news about The Legend Of Zelda (which doesn’t presently have a release date), fans will be able to witness Wes Ball’s filmmaking skills this weekend with the theatrical arrival of Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes, which arrives in cinemas everywhere on Friday, May 10. Stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more from my interviews with the director and the movie’s stars.