Tears of the Kingdom Trailer Teases a Wild Connection to Twilight Princess
Hidden in plain sight.
Despite releasing in a few short months, there’s still so much we don’t know about The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, from vital story details to new gameplay mechanics. Nintendo has managed to keep a lot under wraps about the highly-anticipated sequel, but each trailer provides a new batch of tantalizing details. The latest trailer from the February Direct might be the most revealing yet. It provides more hints that the Twilight Realm will play a vitally important part in the story, and even suggests the return of an iconic series villain.
Ever since the initial reveal there have been hints about the Twilight Realm (from 2006’s Twilight Princess) playing a role in Tears of the Kingdom. The game’s title could be a callback to the Tears of Light players collected in Twilight Princess. What’s more, at the end of the latest TotK trailer, starting at the 1:47 mark, you can hear distorted noises that sound an awful lot like the Twilight Realm in Twilight Princess.
The trailer kicks off with a villainous voice ordering his hordes to eliminate Hyrule, and the voice seems to be Ganon, which would suggest his mummified corpse (seen in the first trailer) has come back to life.
But if Ganon’s corpse was inanimate in the first Tears of the Kingdom trailer, just how did he come back to life? It’s possible another iconic villain used his magical powers to bring the calamity back to life — and the most obvious choice would be Zant from Twilight Princess.
Zant is the Usurper King of the Twilight Realm and was used as a pawn by Ganondorf in a bid to destroy Hyrule. As you can see in the picture above, the first Tears of the Kingdom trailer showed a Twilight-esque hand reaching out to the corpse of Ganondorf. This arm looks similar, but not exactly the same, to the arm Link sports.
Further evidence of Zant’s return can be seen in the mannerisms and animations of Ganon’s reanimated corpse, which feel far more exaggerated than the stoic villain is known for. On the other hand, Zant is exceedingly over-the-top with greatly exaggerated movements.
One of the most shocking shots of the trailers is Ganon’s corpse leaning back and horrifically snapping its neck. If you look at this Twilight Princess playthrough by Hazey A, you can see Zant adopt almost the exact same leaned-back pose that Ganon’s corpse uses at 2:02.
That snapping sound is also tough to ignore. At the end of Twilight Princess, Link stabs Ganondorf, who then begs Zant for help. Zant denies Ganondorf and snaps his neck to the side, and it’s almost the same sound used in the 2019 reveal of Tears of the Kingdom.
Tears of the Kingdom could call back to Twilight Princess in the same way Twilight Princess used Ocarina of Time for its backstory, building on the previous game as “ancient history.” Maybe Calamity Ganon was only able to take over Hyrule because of a deal he made with Zant and Twili, and now Zant is coming to collect. Or perhaps Zant has emerged from the Twilight Realm and is possessing Ganon’s corpse to try and destroy the kingdom. Tears of the Kingdom might be looking to the past for even basic enemies, as a shot in the new trailer shows what seems to be a Re-Dead, an enemy we haven’t seen since Ocarina of Time.
But Zant may not be the only Twilight character returning. There’s also evidence we could see Midna come back. In the February trailer, we see Zelda reach her hand out to the Twilight arm that Link wears, but it’s unlikely this is actually Link. While we don’t see any faces in the scene, Zelda seems to be in her white gown outfit, which is mostly seen in flashbacks in Breath of the Wild. In everything we’ve seen of Tears of the Kingdom, Zelda has been sporting a much different look, so it’s possible this scene takes place in the past. At the very end of the trailer, Zelda says “Please, lend him your power,” which seems to suggest she’s asking someone to help Link.
Zelda could be talking to Midna, an inhabitant of the Twilight Realm who “lends” Link her power, thus giving him the Twilight arm. Going back to the second trailer for the game, there’s also this shot (as you can see in the image below) where some kind of spirit seems to be hovering near Link. It’s possible Midna could impart her power to Link and then accompany him as some kind of sidekick character.
The majority of 3D Zelda games, except Breath of the Wild, have sidekicks that accompany Link, like Midna in Twilight Princess, Navi in Ocarina of Time, and Fi in Skyward Sword. This seems like a feature Tears of the Kingdom could bring back. If the Twilight Realm does come into play, Midna is the obvious choice.
How the Twilight elements tie into Tears of the Kingdom’s overall narrative still remains to be seen, and there are plenty of mysteries we still know nothing about, like if Zelda will be playable, or if the ancient race called the Zonai are the Twili. With how close to the chest Nintendo has played everything so far, we likely won’t know the truth until Tears of the Kingdom is out in the wild.