After years of waiting, fans of the long-running Legend of Zelda video game series are finally getting the live-action movie adaptation that they’ve been waiting for, as Nintendo and Sony Pictures Entertainment announced that they would be collaborating to bring the action-adventure franchise to the big screen. Since the news officially broke in early November, the internet has been buzzing with potential casting rumors. Rapper/pop punk singer/ occasional actor Machine Gun Kelly (real name Colson Baker) is openly campaigning to star as sword-wielding protagonist Link, while Euphoria star Hunter Schafer has expressed interest in playing the titular princess Zelda amid her recent fan casting.

Until the official cast list drops, we’re all for speculating right along with everyone else. But, as is the case with most major franchise adaptations, the most important part to get right is that of the villain. The Legend of Zelda has a formidable one: the TriForce-seeking humanoid named Ganondorf. Known as simply Ganon in his beast form (he switches between both throughout the series), Link and Zelda’s primary nemesis is probably one of the most notorious villains in video game history. Needless to say, whoever ends up playing him will have big shoes to fill. With that in mind, here are 10 actors who we think could do the role of Ganondorf justice in The Legend of Zelda movie.

Idris Elba

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Idris Elba has been a shining star in Hollywood since the early 2000s. Aside from his career-defining television roles in The Wire and Luther, the Golden Globe winner is one of the highest-grossing actors of the modern era, with his films grossing a total of over $13 billion at the box office. Oh, and he also tours as a DJ in his spare time.

Why He’d Be a Good Choice

The London native first showed his adeptness at playing the villain when he became drug kingpin Russell “Stringer” Bell in The Wire. Since then, Elba has played the big bad in everything from westerns (Rufus Buck in The Harder They Fall) to musicals (Macavity in Tom Hooper’s Cats)tobig-budget action movies (Brixton in Hobbs & Shaw). Not only does Elba’s predilection for going fully antagonistic make him perfect for the role of Ganondorf, but his experience in many a sci-fi and fantasy franchise (from Thor to Prometheus) shows his ability to take more off-the-wall genre films extremely seriously.

Ron Perlman

Searchlight Pictures

Since the 1980s, Ron Perlman has proven his immense talent as a movie and TV star, and he even has dozens of voice acting credits to his name. While the 73-year-old actor has the strongest working relationship with Academy Award-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, his over 250 total acting credits show that he’ll work with just about anyone if the role is right.

Why He’d Be a Good Choice

Whether due to makeup or CGI editing, whoever plays Ganondorf probably won’t have much of their actual face showing in The Legend of Zelda movie. For Perlman, that’s no problem. He’s enjoyed great success playing characters masked in one way or another, winning a Golden Globe for his role as the Beast in the Beauty and the Beast TV series from the late ’80s and receiving great recognition for playing the title hero in two Hellboy movies.

But, when it comes to potentially playing Ganondorf, Perlman’s voice is his real asset. It’s perfect for a villainous role, and has been used as such many times over the years. His more gravelly tone would, of course, be a departure from the younger Matthew Mercer’s take on Ganondorf in the 2023 Legend of Zelda game Tears of the Kingdom, but we have a feeling that fans would be more than open to seeing Perlman make the role his own.

Jason Momoa

Warner Bros. Pictures

While he got his first big acting break in the late ’90s as a lifeguard in Baywatch: Hawaii, Jason Momoa didn’t really get big until becoming the warrior Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones in 2011. After getting cast as Aquaman a few years later, the Hawaii native became a megastar. Since then, he’s starred in everything from Dune to Fast X, proving to be a major box-office draw.

Why He’d Be a Good Choice

The most obvious similarities between Ganondorf and Jason Momoa are their physical stature, with both the character and the actor being extremely jacked. Given his earlier roles in Game of Thrones and Conan the Barbarian, Momoa could also effectively channel that animalistic quality when transforming into Ganon, and his recent turn in Fast X shows that he’s more than capable of playing the villain.

Related: How Could The Legend of Zelda Translate to Film?

Mark Strong

Warner Bros. Pictures

Mark Strong may have the look, sound, and overall demeanor of someone who should only star in British spy thrillers, but with over 100 acting credits under his belt, the London-born thespian has proven his ability to act in everything from modern-day superhero movies to 18th-century period pieces. He may play the villain more often than not, but as it turns out, the longtime actor doesn’t actually mind being typecast.

Why He’d Be a Good Choice

While he usually resorts to brute force to get what he wants, Ganondorf also occasionally relies on his cunning to manipulate the citizens of the kingdom of Hyrule. Strong thrives at crafting silver-tongued antagonists, and the live-action version of Ganondorf will probably be more subtle in his villainy for at least part of the movie. When it’s time for the action scenes, Strong is still in decent enough shape, even at 60, to put on a convincing performance.

Djimon Hounsou


After music video appearances alongside the likes of Paula Abdul and Madonna in the late ’80s and early ’90s, Djimon Hounsou truly became a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood in the late ’90s and early 2000s following his roles in Amistad and Gladiator. The Benin-born actor earned two Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor in the mid-2000s (In America and Blood Diamond), and later struck franchise gold with roles in both the Marvel Extended Universe (Korath in Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvel) and the DC Extended Universe (Wizard in Black Adam and the Shazam! movies).

Why He’d Be a Good Choice

In recent years, Hounsou has been in his sci-fi and fantasy era. Aside from his roles in the MCU and DCEU, Hounsou also has a major role in the upcoming two-part Netflix epic Rebel Moon, where it’s safe to say he’ll be involved in a number of major action scenes. After all this time, Hounsou is still an imposing on-screen presence, which, along with his capacity to play villains and his commitment to any role that comes his way, makes him the perfect actor to play Ganondorf.

Ralph Fiennes

Warner Bros. Pictures

Following several years as an accomplished theater actor, Ralph Fiennes‘s breakout year as a film actor came in 1993, when he played the ruthless Nazi concentration camp commandant Amon Göth in Schindler’s List — a role that earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Three years later, Fiennes received another Oscar nomination — this time for Best Actor — for his role in The English Patient as a plane crash victim who becomes romantically involved with the nurse who cares for him. He recently starred as the sinister Chef Slowik in The Menu and in a series of Netflix shorts based on the writings of Roald Dahl.

Why He’d Be a Good Choice

Fiennes’s terrifying performance as the wizard Voldemort in the Harry Potter films solidified him as one of the best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) movie villains in recent memory. Fiennes is at his best when he’s instilling total and absolute fear as the primary antagonist, and while he doesn’t have the same commanding physical presence as some of the other actors on this list, his intense demeanor and ability to effectively deliver truly evil lines of dialogue would still make him an incredibly convincing Ganondorf.

Winston Duke

Marvel Studios

Winston Duke is a relatively recent Hollywood success story, having made his feature-film debut only five years ago as M’Baku, leader of the Jabari tribe, in Black Panther. He reprised the role three more times (Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame,and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever), while also receiving great acclaim as the lead in Jordan Peele’s psychological horror film Us.

Why He’d Be a Good Choice

Standing at a towering 6’5″, Duke is the best choice for Ganondorf from a physical perspective. He doesn’t have as much experience as the other actors on this list, but his role as the menacing Tethered character Abraham in Us shows his ability to play formidable villains, and since he’s most recognized for his MCU role, he’d be extremely believable as the leader of a large army.

Dave Bautista

Marvel Studios

After a nearly 10-year stint as a professional wrestler in the WWE, Dave Bautista took his talents to Hollywood, getting his big break as Drax the Destroyer in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Since then, he has been one of the most sought-after stars in the business, having starred in Blade Runner 2049, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, and the Dune movies.

Why He’d Be a Good Choice

Like Jason Momoa and Winston Duke, Dave Bautista is a hulking physical specimen. He may be in his mid-50s, but his wrestling background and his willingness to do his own action stunts in recent films would make him perfect for the action scenes in the Legend of Zelda movie. Plus, his ability to portray fierce warriors both human (Scott Ward in Army of the Dead) and non-human (Drax in the GOTG moviesand Glossu Rabban in Dune) would make him believable as both the humanoid Ganondorf and the boar-like Ganon.

Related: Here’s What It Will Take to Make a Successful Legend of Zelda Live-Action Movie

Javier Bardem

Warner Bros. Pictures

Javier Bardem showed his incredible on-screen talent early on as an actor through roles in a number of Spanish and indie American films throughout the ’90s and early 2000s. He earned an Academy Award nomination in 2001 for playing Cuban poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas in Before Night Falls, but his first major mainstream break came when he won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his efforts as the primary antagonist in the 2007 thriller No Country for Old Men. In the past 15 years, he has received two more Oscar noms (Biutiful and Being the Ricardos), while also showing his skill as a franchise actor with roles in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Skyfall, and Dune.

Why He’d Be a Good Choice

Bardem’s performance as the psychopathic Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men is the prime reason for his being on this list. And, if you’ve seen the film, you know that’s as good a reason as any. Sure, he’s played a number of villains before (and quite effectively, for that matter), but as Chigurh, he’s violent, cunning, has a chilling speaking voice, and most importantly, is completely devoid of any real human emotion. Those sound like all of Ganondorf’s qualities, don’t they?

Josh Brolin

Warner Bros. Pictures

Josh Brolin got his start way back in 1985 as Mikey’s older brother Brand in Stephen Spielberg’s adventure film The Goonies. While his career didn’t really pick up again until 2007 when he played Llewelyn Moss in No Country for Old Men, Brolin has shown his incredible versatility as an actor over the years, having starred in everything from quirky comedies (Flirting with Disaster, Melinda and Melinda), acclaimed biopics (Milk, W.), and even major franchises (Avengers, Dune).

Why He’d Be a Good Choice

The man was Thanos. Enough said.

 As Link and Zelda’s primary nemesis, Ganondorf is the most notorious villain in video game history, so whoever plays him will have big shoes to fill.  Read More