"This ancient harmony between the Dark One, the Princess, and the Hero of Time, was a Cycle, repeating century after century at the edge of a knife. But what would happen if someone...evened the scales?"
The Legend of Zelda: The Sage of Darkness is an independent film based on The Legend of Zelda series, created by Titus Studios. Production began in 2004 and ended in 2008. In the same year, it was released on YouTube as well as a separate DVD. A sequel to the film, called "The Sage of Darkness: Remnant of Shadows", is planned but to date, it has little to nothing to do with the Zelda universe.
- Starring -
Dan Hogan Natalie Feldbusch Michael Stevenson Connor Osborn
- Co-Starring -
Blake Henderson Steve Hogan Nick Brys
A classic tale of the Princess Zelda, the Hero of Time, and the Dark Lord, Ganon, is retold once again as never before. Darkness has fallen over Hyrule as a young descendent of the evil Ganondorf has seized control of the kingdom. In desperation, the princess must turn to a young farm boy named Link in order to take the kingdom back and restore balance to the world. But lurking in the shadows, a dark and mysterious figure has his own agenda, and he will stop at nothing to put a rest to the ancient legend. Winner of three Film Festival Awards, this epic tale of power, wisdom, and courage will transport you to a world unlike any other.
(This synopsis is property of Titus Studios)
"Long ago, in the land of Hyrule, there was a legend..."
The film starts with the telling of the legend of the Cycle of Eternity, with the Skull Kid narrating. It shows Ganon assassinating the King of Hyrule with his sword and killing the Royal Guards as well. He spots a maiden who has witnessed the murder, but allows her to leave, believing that she is no threat. He then raises his arms, the Triforce appearing above him. The Skull Kid then declares:
"In a world of darkness and fear, a hero would arise."
It is then that Zelda arrives, accompanied by the Hero of Time and six Sages. The Hero duels Ganon and strikes him down, allowing the Sages to seal him away to the Sacred Realm. The narration ends with a Sage laying a book down on an altar and the Skull Kid declaring:
"This ancient harmony between the dark one, the princess, and the Hero of Time, was a Cycle, repeating century after century at the edge of a knife. But what would happen if someone... evened the scales? As they say, those who do not learn from history, are doomed to repeat it."
The scene then cuts to a hallway where two Hyrulean guards stand. Two figures then come out of a door, the Skull Kid, and Prince Ertegun of Gerudo Valley. As they pass by, Zelda, the descendant of the Zelda shown in the prologue, confronts Ertegun about the treaty the Gerudo Prince has given her father, the king (which is designed to give Ertegun the entire kingdom). Zelda suspects that Ertegun has bewitched the King and his royal council, which is the only reason they signed the treaty. Ertegun however, ferociously claims that they signed it of their own accord and he only came forth with the treaty so that Gerudo Valley and Hyrule could ally to create a stronger military force. Zelda, knowing that Ertegun is a descendant of Ganon, is well aware of Ertegun's lust for power. Seeing through Ertegun's facade, she reminds him that he is indeed vulnerable.
"You were brave though Link. It took a lot of courage to keep the farm running when they both died."
"Yeah, well the Village Elder helped a lot with that."
"Still took a lot of courage."
-Kyrin and Link
The story cuts to Link and his younger brother Kyrin, who live on a farm. They wake to do chores (including chopping wood with a hatchet) and plan to go fishing later. Later, two of Ertegun's soldiers pass by, looking at Link threateningly. However, Link holds his ground, holding his hatchet in his hand and staring back. As the soldiers head toward Miss Malon's farm, Link explains to Kyrin that Ertegun has taken over half of the kingdom of Hyrule through the treaty with the king (the other half remains untouched due to Zelda refusing to sign. It is the Village Elder who suspects that Ertegun bewitched the council to gain their trust (which is obviously true).
Meanwhile, Ertegun conspires with the Skull Kid (who serves as Ertegun's adviser and bodyguard) in an unknown place in Hyrule Castle, venting his frustration with Zelda, who still refuses to sign the treaty. The Skull Kid is impressed by Zelda's will, but doesn't seem surprised, stating she's known of Ertegun's plan to take over Hyrule all along. Though Ertegun suggests killing Zelda, the Skull Kid objects noting they need her for their plan do succeed, and points out the "third". One of Ertegun's soldiers approaches, stating that he and his men have lost their supplies to a thief. Ertegun, his frustration only increasing, orders the nervous soldier to get some more and go back to the village where he was posted. The Skull Kid then suggests that Ertegun go to the village himself to "regain some credibility", an idea to which Ertegun gleefully accepts.
Later, Link and Kyrin go fishing, where they speak of the deaths of their parents and what it's been like enduring life as farm boys and orphans. Here, it is learned that their mother died from illness and their father died serving as a soldier in battle. Link blames his death on a loss of passion caused by the death of his wife. It was this that lead them to living on their farm alone, with only the Village Elder to aid them raise it. Though Link modestly believes that it was only because of the Village Elder that they are able to survive, Kyrin also gives gratitude to Link, stating that it still took a lot of courage to raise the farm alone.
On their way home (after failing to catch anything), the two brothers come across Malon's farm. Link discovers her being pushed for a fine by Ertegun, who seeks to compensate for the supplies stolen earlier. Link, realizing that it was Kyrin who took the food, angrily heads home with his younger brother. That night, they are approached by Ertegun and his a guard of his nicknamed "Lumpy". Link refuses to pay the fine at first, but realizes he has no choice when Ertegun threatens to burn the farm down otherwise. Paying the fine of 140 rupees, Link ponders on how he what he should do, now that most of their money has now been spent on the fine.
Meanwhile, the same guard who came to Ertegun earlier, encounters the Skull Kid, having been ordered to face him as punishment for losing the supplies. He arrogantly charges, but is held back when the Skull Kid draws his whip and brutally attacks.
"Link, it's you! You're the Hero of Time, you have the courage to stop him!"
At Hyrule Castle, Ertegun shows Zelda the results of his actions at Link's village, while Zelda has a premonition of a farm boy. Not knowing what it means, Zelda still refuses to Ertegun's treaty, knowing that Ertegun will abuse the people of Hyrule either way. During this conversation, Ertegun reveals the farm boy, Link, the "only one with the courage to stand up to him". These words spark Zelda's mind, and she realizes what her premonition meant.
Meanwhile, Link grabs his father's uniform (the green uniform worn in the games), heading to Hyrule Castle to demand his the rupees that Ertegun took through extortion. After long traveling, the boy reaches the castle.
Meanwhile, Skull Kid and Ertegun meet once again, Ertegun remains ever frustrated at his inability to manipulate Zelda. Skull Kid mocks the frustrated prince, and suggests one final option: marriage to Princess Zelda.
As Link enters the castle after persuading the gatekeeper to let him through, Link is blindfolded by Aaron, one of the Royal Guards and one of the few soldiers still loyal to the king, and is brought before Princess Zelda. Zelda tells him of the "Legend of Zelda", of how the universe was created by the power of the Goddesses Din, Nayru, and Farore. While Nayru and Farore wanted their creation to govern itself, Din wished to rule with an iron fist, and sought out a man from the Gerudo Desert named Ganon to aid. Din attempted to give the Triforce to Ganon, but failed. Instead, the Triforce of Power was granted to Ganon, Wisdom to the princess of Hyrule, and Courage to a farm-boy. The princess and the hero succeeded in defeating Ganon, but could only seal him away for a millennia at the greatest due to his immortality and his death meaning the unbalance of the Triforce and the destruction of the world. Every millennia, Ganon would be freed to do battle with the hero and the princess again, and the Cycle of Eternity would continue. With this, Zelda reveals that Link himself is the Hero of Time and suspects that Ertegun, Ganon's descendant, intends to resurrect his dark ancestor to aid in his rise to power. Link, confused, realizes that what Zelda says is true when he realizes that both he and the latter possess the Triforce. Sensing that Ertegun is on his way, Zelda casts a spell that makes him transparent in order to escape the castle, promising that the gatekeeper will compensate him for the money taken earlier.
Link receives his rupees from the gatekeeper and heads back to his farm. Link hands Kyrin the rupee pouch, but refuses to speak the truth about what Zelda told him, instead claiming that she found a warrior who could defeat Ertegun. Later, Link encounters two of Ertegun's men. One of them is secretly a Royal Guard, who reveals that Zelda has been forced to wed Ertegun and gives him a letter. Link reads it in the night when Kyrin is asleep, but burns it, still unsure of whether he'll succeed or fail. Eventually, unable to cope with letting Zelda being left in Ertegun's clutches. Asking for the Village Elder to take care of Kyrin while he's gone (the elder hinting he knows of the Cycle of Eternity) and heads to Hyrule Castle.
"Your kingdom is mine."
After Ertegun's marriage to Zelda, the princess goes to the ruins of the Temple of Time. Link arrives, only to discover that he's too late. Realizing that there may be no chance to stop Ertegun now that he's part of the royal family, Zelda begins to blame herself for what has occurred.
Meanwhile, Ertegun releases the king of Hyrule from his spell. Free from Ertegun's control, the king tries to have the Gerudian prince executed, but the guards who now serve Ertegun turn on the king, allowing Ertegun to kill him with no resistance. After learning that the king is dead, Zelda realizes that Ertegun is now headed to Link's village to kill Kyrin. Receiving a sword from the gatekeeper, Link rushes to save his brother's life.
However, Ertegun arrives first with four bodyguards, striking down Kyrin. In a rage, Link kills Ertegun's four guards, but is fatally wounded by Ertegun.
However, the gatekeeper, later revealed to be named Davik, finds Link and nurses him back to health. Davik reveals that Ertegun is now king and Kyrin is dead. Distressed by Kyrin's death, Link refuses to listen to what Davik says until the latter reveals that he had lost his sister when she was poisoned by Ganon's soldiers long ago, therefore earning Link's sympathy. Davik then reveals that he is Link's uncle through his sister, and while disliking his father, acknowledged him as a good man. Davik also shows Link the White Sword, an ancient blade that can stand against Ertegun's magic. However, without the proper skill and determination, Link cannot wield the sword, the blade becoming heavy in his arms when he attempts to use it. Link, wanting to avenge Kyrin's death, accepts Davik's training.
"There's more to fighting then combat. There's more to passion then bloody fury. You need to strike a balance. Let your rage consume you to the point where you thirst for more of it. But you must distance yourself, enough to keep your footing. You will turn killing into an art. And I will teach you to do so."
The next day, training begins. Davik instructs Link on not only how to wield the White Sword, but how to wield other weapons, such as a bow and arrow, explosives, and magic, such as Farore's Wind and Din's Fire. Link also learns more about Davik himself, such as what he has experienced, how he lost his right hand in a battle, and how he learned to turn his sorrow over his sister's death into fury and ultimately avenged her. Link eventually masters his training, until he has only the White Sword left. Convinced by Davik to let his anger fuel his determination and be aggressive in his tactics, Link finally masters his training, and is "knighted" by Davik.
Meanwhile, Ertegun, as Zelda suspected, is not satisfied with the power he has. And worse, Zelda is acting rebellious, aware that Link is still alive. Learning this through Zelda, Ertegun goes into the woods to find the Skull-Kid, whom he had banished before killing Kyrin. Ertegun learns of Link's training and is warned that he is far more powerful then he once was. The Skull-Kid agrees to aid Ertegun, but forces the latter to accept him as his master.
Ordered by the Skull-Kid to raid Kakariko Village to draw Link out of hiding, Ertegun gathers a small platoon of soldiers and heads towards the village, to find Davik and Link standing in his way. Link puts his training to excellent use against Ertegun's moblins while Davik faces them with hand-to-hand combat, but Ertegun continues to summon them through dark magic. Realizing that as long as Ertegun lives, the soldiers will keep coming, Davik engages Ertegun in combat. While Link annihilates the soldiers through the spin attack and Din's Fire, Davik, though putting up a good fight, is defeated by Ertegun. Ertegun fleas and apparently kills Davik, leaving Link alone to seethe in rage.
"Who are you?"
"You may call me, the Sage of Darkness."
-Link and Davik before they fight
Link, determined for revenge, attacks Ertegun's castle, slaying the guards and eventually coming into contact with Aaron. Aaron informs him the rest of the Royal Guards have turned, and the two continue on together until they reach the Temple of Time, where Ertegun and the Skull Kid are preparing a ritual and are luring Link with Zelda as bait. Ertegun apparently kills Aaron with dark magic while Link fights the Skull Kid. The Skull Kid manages to draw blood from Link, allowing Ertegun to take it along with his blood and Zelda's. Eventually, both opponents are disarmed and are forced into a brawl. The fight ends with Link removing the Skull Kid's mask, revealing Davik, who smiles insanely and states "I guess the gatekeeper did teach you well." As Link stares in astonishment at his traitorous uncle, Ertegun sacrifices the "blood of the three" and unleashes the Triforce, seemingly becoming omnipotent, to the point where even the White Sword has no effect on him. Ertegun and Zelda recognize the sword as one of Ganon's ancient blades. As Ertegun prepares to kill Link, Zelda seems to freeze Ertegun and Davik in time, revealing that the Triforce augmented the power of all three of the chosen ones and that Ganon's spirit is now embedded into Ertegun (the reason he's now immortal).
Zelda, with much difficulty, uses Farore's Wind to send herself and Link to safety, where Link awakes to an unconscious Zelda and the village elder. The village elder reveals that it was because of Davik that he was unable to save Kyrin's life and that the only ones who can seal Ganon away are the Sages, the last ones remaining are he (light) and Davik (darkness), but Davik turned traitor out of hatred for the Cycle of Eternity and helped Ertegun rise to power in order to release Ganon. Ertegun was merely a pawn in Davik's plan. The village elder and Davik had worked together to find the original Hero of Time, Link's father. Davik began to train him using the White Sword, the same way he trained Link in order to corrupt him. However, Davik's sister was in love with Link's father, causing Davik to outcast them to the village where they would marry and raise Link and Kyrin. Davik later poisoned his own sister (having earlier claimed Ganon's soldiers killed her) to drive his enemy further into corruption. Link's father left with the White Sword to take his revenge, leaving Link and Kyrin behind and was never seen again.
"What did he teach you Link?! The same hatred he taught your father?! To live for bloodlust and revenge?! That is not the way of the Hero!"
"Then what is the way?!"
"Justice. To serve, to protect, to sacrifice! That is the difference. Fighting is not your right Link. It is your duty."
-The Village Elder and Link
Enraged, Link demands to know how to kill Ertegun. The village elder speaks of the Master Sword, the only sword that can defeat Ganon. Link takes the shield his father left behind and leaves to find the sword. Zelda awakes, berating the village elder for letting Link go, the elder retorting by saying without choosing against his need for vengeance, he cannot be the hero.
Link eventually finds the Master Sword at night, but is prevented from drawing it by what appears to be Dark Link, who taunts him for giving into his hatred so easily. The shadow moves about like a ghost, striking Link multiple times (his sword has no true physical damage). The shadow then reveals itself as Link's father. Having tried to pull the Master Sword himself, he was ambushed by Davik, who took the White Sword and brutally killed him, but not before losing his right hand. Determined not to fail like his father did, Link drops the White Sword, as he is allowed to pull the Master Sword. Letting go of his vengeance, he pulls the sword.
Meanwhile, Ertegun begins to feel an agonizing pain (brought about by the Master Sword being drawn). Running to the Temple of Time where Davik is, the prince demands to know what's happening as he disintegrates. As the life of the evil prince is taken, Ganondorf emerges in his place.
"It ends here Ganondorf!"
The newly resurrected Ganondorf commends Davik for his efforts, ordering him to retrieve the White Sword for the final battle while he retrieves the princess. Encountering the village elder, Ganondorf effortlessly overpowers him and takes the princess. Link returns to find Zelda gone and the village elder mortally wounded. Seeing the Master Sword, the village elder passes away with the parting word "Mudora".
Link arrives at Hyrule Castle to encounter Ganondorf, Davik, and a captive Zelda. Ganondorf reveals that he is sure he will win this time as he has killed all Sages, and thus cannot be sealed away. However, as Davik is the last Sage remaining, Ganondorf, aware of Davik's true intentions, apparently kills the traitorous villain with the Black Sword (the same weapon that Ertegun had wielded earlier on). Link engages Ganondorf in combat (in what resembles their pen-ultimate battle in Ocarina of Time), but is unable to overpower Ganondorf. Taking refuge by hiding under the seats in the throne room, Link telepathically communicates with Zelda. Zelda is informed of Davik being Link's uncle, and realizes that Link is a Sage himself. Now knowing that he can defeat Ganondorf, he frees Zelda and faces Ganondorf in a swordfight. However, Ganondorf still remains confident in his victory due to the Book of Mudora (the item that the village elder referred to) has been lost for centuries and cannot be found. Continuing their duel, the two combatants prove to be evenly matched, but Ganondorf eventually immobilizes Link with dark magic.
Meanwhile, Zelda arrives at the Temple of Time and suddenly finds herself in the past, to be greeted by the Sage of Light from that time. The Sage reveals that the ancient temple was created as to send the Book of Mudora to a present time for when it was needed to seal Ganon away. Zelda takes the book and returns to her time to stop Ganon.
"And so the Cycle of Eternity was upheld for another generation. Though countless lives were shattered in the process. As for those who remain: the princess must work alone, piecing together the remnants of her kingdom. For the Hero, he will not rest. He cannot until he has found the Sage of Darkness. And though his heart is wrought with anguish, he presses on. No longer for revenge, but for justice, and for answers. All the while the legend goes on, waiting to be told by another."
Zelda returns to find Link exhausted from his fight with Ganon and near death. Seeing the Book of Mudora in the princess' hands, Ganondorf holds her hostage, threatening to kill her if Link refuses to surrender. Link, refusing to lose more loved ones, breaks Ganondorf's hold of him with the Master Sword and finishes the Dark Lord off. Link and Zelda seal Ganondorf away once again, upholding the Cycle of Eternity for another millennia. However, Link looks over to see that Davik has vanished, having left his mask behind. Realizing his traitorous uncle still lives, Link leaves to hunt him down, promising Zelda that he would return.
A narration of the Skull Kid then reveals that Zelda now has to rebuild her kingdom piece by piece as the new queen, and is shown to be visited by someone from the future for the Book of Mudora. Meanwhile, Link now hunts for the Sage of Darkness, knowing that he will never see peace until he finds the traitor and stops him. The Skull Kid finishes by saying, "And although his heart is wrought with anguish, he presses on. No longer for revenge, but for justice, and for answers. All the while the legend goes on, waiting to be told by another."
A post-credits scene shows Davik playing Saria's Song on a flute, and then saying "Well would you look at that. Looks like your brother's right on our trail." The Sage of Darkness then turns to an alive and healthy Kyrin, who responds only with a smile.
- Dan Hogan as Link, "Lumpy", King of Hyrule, Voice of Skull Kid
- Natalie Feldbusch as Zelda
- Michael Stevenson as Davik, Two one-armed goons
- Connor Osborn as Ertegun, a goon
- Blake Henderson as Kyrin, a goon
Behind the ScenesEdit
Josh Dixon, the director of The Legend of Zelda: The Sage of Darkness, was planning to make an independent film to start his rise as a director. Being a huge Legend of Zelda fan, he talked to Dan Hogan, an acquaintance of his from church, about making a film. Dan Hogan figured that this would just be "a day at Josh's house", so he agreed to help him.
Josh Dixon wrote the template of the film, and Dan Hogan observed it once it was finished. Dan Hogan took the script into his own hands and even added a couple of scenes of his own. They decided to make this Zelda film original, so that it would have its own story, while still paying homage to the video games. Dan Hogan tried to add these elements into the script, earning him the nickname "Nostalgia Supervisor".
After the script was written, Josh Dixon and Dan Hogan began recruiting cast members. Blake Henderson, who would play Kyrin, was the first cast member to be hired, being a huge Zelda fan. Next was the casting for Zelda. The first person whom they asked was unable to arrange time to play the role, so they went to Natalie Feldbusch, who had experience performing on stage. Natalie was emailed by Josh Dixon, and accepted without truly knowing what she was getting herself into. Then there was Michael Stevenson, who played Davik and in fact volunteered for the film instead of being asked. Michael was an aspiring actor who figured that this would give him an opportunity to hone his skills. The next actor hired was Connor Osborn, who played Ertegun and was one of the few cast members who had never played the Zelda games. None of these cast members were paid, but merely joined either for their love of the Zelda franchise or because they wanted to hone their skills in film making.
The budget for the film was approximately $10,000, though Josh Dixon would later claim that they spent most of their money on pizza. The Legend of Zelda: The Sage of Darkness was a first time filming experience for nearly all of the crew members. The most physical scene for them was the Battle of Kakariko Village, where nearly every person was covered in black wardrobe from head to toe, causing them to suffer from immense heat. The scene was very difficult to film, the condition in which the actors were performing in making things difficult.
At first, Josh Dixon and Dan Hogan never intended to bring Ganondorf, the main antagonist of the video games, into the film, but eventually decided that it was a better choice in order to please the fans. So, they casted Nick Brys, who, like Natalie, had experience in on-stage acting, and even did his own makeup. Much like Connor Osborn and Natalie Feldbusch, he had never played the Zelda video games, so he had a shorter amount of time to get to know his character.
Once the cast and crew had finished filming, Josh Dixon asked his friend, John Summerford, to create the 3D effects. In the meantime, Josh, planning to demonstrate the film in a local theater, posted trailers for The Legend of Zelda: The Sage of Darkness on Youtube and made posters, which he distributed at school. Both Josh and John had little time to finish their individual work on the movie (Josh edited the film, while John added the 3D effects). Josh even skipped school for three days to finish the project. At one point, he even accidentally lost all of the footage for the film, nearly giving up on the project's chances of being finished, but continued to persevere.
Josh re-edited the film just in time for its premiere at a local theater, where many people arrived to see the movie. Everybody was surprised by the amount of credibility they received because of their work on the film.
Ever since the first film's success, there have been requests for a sequel. Eventually, Josh Dixon announced on Twitter and later Facebook and Myspace, that indeed there would be one.
He has recently started video updates with Dan Hogan to discuss the production of the sequel, The Sage of Darkness: Remnant of Shadows. The sequel will have no ties to The Legend of Zelda series. Link will be referred to as "The Hero", Zelda as "The Queen", and Ganon as "The Dark Lord". However, original characters such as Davik and Kyrin will keep their names. They have stated the fact that they intend to put much plot into this film, so much that they may split it into two films. They also stated that they will be looking for other independent film studios to help with the budget of the film by making a teaser trailer to gain their attention.
It takes place five years after the original film, and the Hero is close to giving up on his search for Davik. The Dark Lord's gone, but now the world faces the threat that Davik poses. There will be a "remnant of shadows" that will pose as the evil in the human heart "killing the world like a cancer". The conflict in the story was described as "compassion for humanity vs disgust for humanity".
Dan Hogan will be returning for the film, as will Josh Dixon and Michael Stevenson. Natalie Feldbusch will return for the teaser trailer, and will most likely return for the film itself. However, it is currently unclear whether or not Blake Henderson will return as Kyrin, as Dan Hogan states that he's "in a different place in life then he used to be".
As a fan film, The Legend of Zelda: The Sage of Darkness received mainly positive critical reception and many people hail the original plot as its strongest point. Criticisms include the plot's very loose ties to the games' storyline and several obvious mistakes scattered throughout the movie(such as characters wearing jeans). To date, The Legend of Zelda: The Sage of Darkness remains one of the most well received Zelda fan-films.
Many even consider it to be superior to Hero of Time because of its superior storyline and Hero of Time's amateur cinematography.
- ^ Titus Studios YouTube Channel