Given how little we know about the project at the time of writing, we can only speculate on which familiar (or fresh) faces will be donning tunics, Triforces, and Gerudo gear, but there’s fun to be had in some good old guessing. Below, we have picked out a selection of names that we would like to see take on the roles of Link, Zelda, Ganondorf, and a couple of other Hyrule regulars. With some lesser-knowns alongside the obvious picks, it’s by no means an exhaustive list, and we would love to hear your casting dreams, too. Have a read through some of our Zelda movie cast possibilities, vote in the polls, and then take to the comments to throw other worthy names in the ring.
Let’s get him out of the way right from the jump. Yes, Tom Holland is an obvious choice, especially given the Spider-Man/Sony connection, and if we were putting money on it, this might be where our rupees would sit. He’s reportedly taking some downtime following his last project, the Apple miniseries The Crowded Room, but he’s got form with video game adaptations, having starred in the critically divisive Uncharted movie. When we really think about it, Holland kind of makes sense. A young action man. Certified box-office topper. Could probably rock a green nightcap. Is this the safest of safe bets? Yes, but it’s the popular choice for a reason.
Another obvious candidate. Timothée Chalamet, the prolific star of Dune, Wonka, Call Me by Your Name, and probably five other films in the time that you have been reading this sentence, certainly has the star power and acting chops to lead a Zelda film. And with experience of taking a beloved text and adapting it successfully in another medium, he’d be a solid choice.
Take the wasteland-exploring hero of The Green Knight, add in a pinch of the charisma shown in The Personal History of David Copperfield, and we can picture Dev Patel as a very strong Link. Yes, the actor has traditionally opted for more indie character studies than big blockbusters, but the chance to take on one of gaming’s most iconic franchises doesn’t come around all that often.
Steven Yeun just doesn’t miss. The development of The Walking Dead’s Glenn from nifty teen to pack-leading grown man shows some real potential for what the actor could bring to an adolescent whose destiny is to protect an entire kingdom. Smaller pictures like Minari, Okja, and Nope show that he’s got more than enough charisma, and the MCU’s Thunderbolts will soon add another blockbuster franchise to his repertoire. Not the most obvious pick, but certainly food for thought.
If we’re talking about actors that just give off Link vibes, we have to mention Aramis Knight. Who knows how big of an MCU presence his Ms. Marvel character, Red Dagger, will have in the coming years of spinoffs and sequels, but if there is a moment of respite, we are feeling big Link energy from this particular Knight.
Dallas James Liu
With a back catalogue including the likes of Tekken, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and Mortal Kombat: Legacy, Dallas James Liu certainly has enough action experience to take on a character typically seen in combat-ready poses. Throw in the upcoming role as Prince Zuko in Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender adaptation and we can see all that fighting making for a pretty strong ‘Space World’ swordsman-style Link.
Best known for his scene-stealing turn in A Quiet Place (and, come on, this narrative writes itself if Nintendo and Sony chose to pursue the silent protagonist trope), we’d recommend checking out Jupe’s range in the likes of Honey Boy and The Undoing to see just how much emotion could be brought to Link — with or without dialogue.
Okay, Scobell might not have the largest portfolio at the time of writing (you might remember him from last year’s sci-fi Ryan Reynolds vehicle, The Adam Project), but this actor is soon to lead the Disney+ adaptation of Percy Jackson, so we’re imagining he will have a fair amount of cultural clout by the time the Zelda movie lands. For the slightly more comical take on Link, you could do much worse than go with an up-and-comer like Scobell.
Gregory Diaz IV
Yes, the film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights might not immediately scream ‘Zelda potential’, but Gregory Diaz IV’s performance as Sonny has us picturing a slightly more introspective Child Link, one who understands the weight of saving Hyrule time and again. Plus, if Nintendo decided to go for a Zelda musical, we know just the guy.
Much like Tom Holland, we feel that Zendaya is perhaps the most obvious choice out there when it comes to Zelda casting, but she would certainly bring in ticket sales. Appearing in blockbusters like the MCU’s Spider-Man trilogy, Dune, and The Greatest Showman, Zendaya is no stranger to big-budget filmmaking, but it’s her turns in smaller projects like Malcolm and Marie, Challengers, and (to an extent) Euphoria that make us think she could be a good fit for Hyrule’s monarch. Florence Pugh is a phenomenal actor and when you look at the range on display in Little Women, her reaction to chaos in Midsommar, or her cool combat in Black Widow, it’s easy to see the image of a BOTW / TOTK-style Zelda taking shape. Putting scheduling conflicts aside (because, seriously, Pugh seems to be in everything at the moment), this feels like a winning Zelda candidate if the creators can attract her to the project.
After the huge success of Oscar-winner Everything Everywhere All at Once, Stephanie Hsu has been on our radar — and with good reason. Her Oscar-nominated performance as Joy / Jobu Tupaki in that film last year Blew Us Away™, and having seen her stealing the Small Axe miniseries out from under industry veteran Letitia Wright, we’re thinking she’s fast on her way to leading some A-list projects. Another exciting choice to play the Zelda of adulthood.