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The Legend of Zelda's Link Was Inspired By Walt Disney's Peter Pan

Posted by Orla Madden

From one green hero to another

Clad in green garments, sporting a pointy hat and defined by elf-like ears, you'd think we were talking about Hyrule's hero - Link. Wrong. We have Peter Pan in mind, the protagonist from one of Walt Disney's most famous animated productions, who became an inspiration for the The Legend of Zelda's main character.

In an interview with French site Game Kult, Shigeru Miyamoto was asked about the origin of Link. Miyamoto explained that they wanted to make the character recognizable, so as a result, sprite designer Takashi Tezuka turned to Disney when putting together the design for Link. (We're guessing Tinkerbell is Navi but slightly less annoying, right?)

Miyamoto also gave some insight into the origin of the character's unique name. When the team began designing the first The Legend of Zelda game, the Triforce fragments were supposed to be electronic chips. The series was planned to take place in both the past and future, and the hero was the "link" in the middle - hence the name.

In that same interview, Miyamoto discussed how baffled he is that anyone would want a new F-Zero game - something which has already stirred up quite a bit of debate on this very site.

[via gamekult.com, neogaf.com]

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User Comments (58)

Donjwolf

#3

Donjwolf said:

It's funny. Peter Pan talked but Link never does. Tinkerbell never talked but Navi does. A lot.

Kaine_Morrison

#4

Kaine_Morrison said:

He said in a previous interview that Link was based off of Legolas from The Lord of the Rings....

iphys

#9

iphys said:

Wow, that seems like such a ripoff. I wish they would have never admitted it if it is true.

LordJumpMad

#10

LordJumpMad said:

They should of have watch BraveHeart, maybe then, we wold have had a cooler link, with blue face paint

Haxonberik

#12

Haxonberik said:

Not really surprising. More surprising is the fact that triforce parts were first supposed to be electronic chips.

EvisceratorX

#14

EvisceratorX said:

Miyamoto better be careful with what he says. Disney is notorious for being one of the most obsessive companies about copyright infringement. :P

Gamesake

#18

Gamesake said:

All you guys know Sonic the Hedgehog was based on Felix the Cat, right?

@Alien_Mosky Wasn't Mario originally a quick replacement for Popeye?

CrazyOtto

#19

CrazyOtto said:

@Gamesake I was about to post that Sonic's desgin was probably inspired by Mickey Mouse.

Another fun fact: Yellow Kirby in Kirby's Return to Dreamland looks alot like Pac-Man. You can also play as a pink Pac-Man in Pac-Man Battle Royale.

aaronsullivan

#26

aaronsullivan said:

Just a heads up:
Braveheart would have been a good inspiration if it hadn't come out almost a decade after link was created.

Though Legolas as an inspiration is possible, it certainly wouldn't have been from the movies as they came even later than Braveheart and though his name roughly means green leaves, I'm not sure he's ever described as wearing green, (in the Bakshi LOTR movie he wears whit I think and he's barely in the rankin and bass version).

He does look a bit like Robin Hood, which could have been an inspiration but if Miyamoto says its from Peter Pan it probably is.

I think I remember reading something about this link to future and past as something that Ocarina sort of used. The original idea maybe came up again and inspired the young and old Link, maybe? Even if my brain is making that up, it seems like a possibility.

Zombie_Barioth

#30

Zombie_Barioth said:

Wow, so that makes the Kokiri.....the "lost boys". Maybe thats why the Deku tree doesn't want them to leave?

I'm surprised I didn't notice this sooner, though I wasn't much into Disney growing up so it wasn't on my mind very often.

@EvisceratorX I'm no expert but I would think they would need a stronger case than "Link looks like Peter" or "they both have fairy friends". Otherwise they would probably already have done something.

Tsuchiya

#31

Tsuchiya said:

I can't really see the likeness beyond the green tunic and a fairy, besides Zelda being good of course. Had he said Hols Prince of the sun then I could see it but maybe Miyamoto never saw that film. It's not a million miles away from a Zelda adventure.

Radbot42

#32

Radbot42 said:

It'd be interesting if they had a game with lost boys reference and a pirate based villain, could be a sequel to Wind Waker

theblackdragonAdmin

#36

theblackdragon said:

Disney wouldn't have much of a leg to stand on, though, considering the Peter Pan IP belongs to a children's hospital. Whether from them or the hospital, though, It's much too late for anyone to do anything now, especially considering apparently no one else made the connection until this interview. there's a difference between 'inspiration' and 'derivation'.

Tsuchiya

#37

Tsuchiya said:

@EvisceratorX

And that's what causes blank expressions when you ask someone who Totoro is. Shame really given Disneys "Help" dubbing Ghibli films. Sorry, ruining. Seriously, do Disney even read Hayao Miyazaki's scripts?

Princess Mononoke can at times remind you of your average Zelda romp.

DerpSandwich

#42

DerpSandwich said:

Holy cow, it sounds like the original Zelda nearly had a very different story! Imagine...

Link to the Future!

triforcepower73

#46

triforcepower73 said:

I remember when I was 7 and I showed my mom the twilight princess trailer. She was very strict about teen and mature rated games. But she commented, when link was riding epona, that he looked like peter pan.

retro_player_22

#47

retro_player_22 said:

With the way Link could shoot an arrow with a bow, you could also say he could be a Robin Hood inspiration too. Rob himself also wore green clad and a green cap just like Peter Pan and Link.

JebbyDeringer

#49

JebbyDeringer said:

Green was the only bright colour clothing available back in the day, every hero wore it =p

Wasn't there some relation to Legend with Tom Cruise? That movie is far too similar.

Noob_The_Third

#52

Noob_The_Third said:

@Gamesake: I thought original mario looked the way he did because the hat was so they wouldn't make hair and the moustache so he wouldn't have a mouth.

AntiGuy

#54

AntiGuy said:

...REALLY??? my life has been nothing but a big fat lie... sarcasm* I don't really like to act like a douche but this is pretty much obvious...

Henmii

#57

Henmii said:

That Peter Pan was the inspiration for Link was quite obvious.

"Miyamoto also gave some insight into the origin of the character's unique name. When the team began designing the first The Legend of Zelda game, the Triforce fragments were supposed to be electronic chips. The series was planned to take place in both the past and future, and the hero was the "link" in the middle - hence the name"

This is new to me. It also sounds as if Zelda could have been much more sci-fi then it now is! Maybe it's not such a bad idea if Retro makes a sci-fi Zelda, if only once!

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