With the newest Legend of Zelda title coming out in March with the debut of the Nintendo Switch, many are questioning where this actually fits into the timeline. As an avid Legend of Zelda fan I know the timeline gets confusing but this has only because the timeline was split into three, Hyrules Decline and the Last Hero, the Child Era and the Adult Era. Because several years were taken from Link’s life due to the master sword, Link was then sent back in time, thus explains why we have the other two timelines. This would also explain the story arc of the WindWaker, in which in the beginning of the game the story claims that many years ago the Hero of Time was not there to save them and Hyrule fell into turmoil and disarray. Since the Hero was sent back in time it would make sense as to why the hero was not there to save them. Hyrule was then flooded to combat Ganon since there was no other way to save Hyrule.
Why is explaining this so important? Because I have reasons to believe that the new installment of the series takes place in the third timeline of Hyrule and could be in fact a clash of the three worlds. This is assuming enough time as passed to retain some aspects of both WindWaker and Twilight Princess. This would mean none of the events of Windwaker, Twilight Princess, or Majora’s Mask have happened. I’ll explain this further.
We see a number of references that seem to suggest all three timelines mesh together in this game. The appearance of the Temple of Time, the appearance Kokiri children, rock salt, The Bridge of Eldin, and even small bodies of water. The bodies of water would seem to suggest that a flood had taken place or was attempted and Ganon was somehow able to stop it. Thus this would explain Calamity Ganon. Maybe he had become so powerful due to his severe hatred that the only thing that remained of Ganondorf’s identity is this cruel manifestation of Ganon. This would also explain the appearance of the nearly burned city of Hyrule, yet within this imagery there seems we see bits of Twilight Princess in there as well. We also see that he seems to remain stationary within the area of the castle, suggesting that maybe there was an attempt to contain this manifestation of Ganon, but it didn’t work. Now this manifestation of Ganon has risen and all the efforts that were put into containing this entity were unfortunately all for not.
I know this is starting to sound confusing so I am going to try to break this down a little bit further. In the trailer we also see an image of Link and Zelda in what there appears to be a fighting sequence of the two of them squaring off with Ganon. We see that Link is badly beaten and his left arm looks terribly mangled. It would seem that he was unable to defeat him thus this would be the reason in which he looks gravely tired within this sequence and pushes himself to save Zelda by fighting with his right hand instead of his left. This would serve to be a really good theory for those of you that keep complaining about the left-handed ordeal. Nintendo has stated that this doesn’t really matter a numerous amount of times, but if you were looking for vital proof of this being indeed the Hero of Time, there it is. Judging by the trailer, Link would have not been to use his left arm since it looks to be in pretty bad shape and he looks as though he is on the near edge of defeat. Zelda then looks like in that moment she is able to buy time to save the Hero of Time with her powers, thus explains why in the first image of the game we see Link waking up in the Tower of Resurrection. This might have been the only way in this timeline for him to be saved, so she put him to sleep. While he was asleep however, it would seem as though Zelda was attempting to keep Ganon from destroying the city of Hyrule, but to no avail.
Which comes to the crucial point of why I believe that it is neither in the Twilight Princess or WindWaker timeline at all. In the book Nintendo released called Hyrule Hystoria, in the third timeline next to the adult and child eras. We only see that Link is defeated. It does not specify that Link actually died in his efforts of trying to defeat him. This also explains why my theory would be correct as the scene in which Link looks to be defeated correlates with the actual timeline. We don’t necessarily know what happens within that time frame. This is where I feel Breath of the Wild comes into play. Since none of the events prior to WindWaker of after have occurred in this timeline, neither has the events of Majoras Mask. This also means that Link would have to stop the events of the story revealed to us in WindWaker in which Ganon had destroyed Hyrule in Breath of the Wild. If my theory is indeed true, this opens up even more possibilities of other games to arise, such as Majora also returning as a major threat since the events of the child era have not been realized or brought to fruition within this timeline. It would also mean that within this timeline the Twilight Realm was never sealed off since technically this hasn’t happened either within this timeline.
Needless to say, this brings up a striking and interesting new take on the franchise and I can’t wait to see what new adventures lie ahead for us in this new title for the series.