Ganon has been reinterpreted many ways over the Legend of Zelda series, but Breath of the Wild offered the most radical version yet. The Calamity Ganon distilled the Dark King of Evil down to his essence. He became a writhing mass of corrupting goo that blighted everything it touched, and at its core was a monster the size of Godzilla. But while the Calamity seems simple at first glance, there's more to it than its spectral appearance. This Ganon is connected back to past entries in Zelda lore, and is more tragic than his evil belies.
10 A Failed Incarnation
Like his eternal enemy Link, Ganon reincarnates with every new Zelda era. But while he usually takes the form of Pig Man or dark sorcerer, the Calamity was different. This Ganon failed to reincarnate properly, possibly due to the interference of a hero like Link. Because of this failure, he devolved into the twisted mass of body parts and Malice called the Calamity. His mind receded in this form, turning animalistic, and instead of trying to reincarnate he focused entirely on destruction.
9 The Body Left Behind
Though gamers will see the Calamity as a boar-like specter or a chimera of Sheikah tech and Malice, this is not its true form. Remember, Calamity Ganon began life as another reincarnation of Ganon. He was human at one point. As such, the remains of his body still exist. During the final battle, when he firsts manifests, the most recognizable part of his body is his red-maned head. It's implied that this is Ganon's skull and the only part of him still left.
8 Cult Of Malice
Ganon has always had an army at his side. Loyal monsters that patrol his dungeons and serve in boss battles. But what makes Calamity Ganon different is that he has human followers alongside his monsters. The Yiga Clan, traitors to the Sheikah, pledged their allegiance to Ganon after Hyrule forced the Sheikah into hiding. While Ocarina of Time Ganondorf did have his Gerudo bandits, they were brainwashed to serve him. The Yiga do so willingly.
7 Phantoms Of The Past
Players meet extensions of Calamity Ganon before the main monster. His Blights serve as the bosses of the various Divine Beasts they must defeat before tackling the Calamity.
These bosses are signifiers of Ganon's corrosive reach, but also connect this incarnation back to his past ones. Creating phantom clones of himself is a trick many Ganons have pulled. Most memorable is probably the Phantom Ganon of Wind Waker, who made a great mini-boss in that game's final dungeon.
6 Dark Mirrors
It's unclear how much of Ganon's old cunning remains in his devolved Calamity form. Some of it must still be in there though, at least enough to hold onto spite. His Blights that ended the Champions' lives and corrupted their Divine Beasts are dark parodies of the Champions. Each one uses the same weapons as the Champions they defeated and their attacks reflect the same powers the Champions' ghosts bestow on Link. This might be a cruel joke on the Calamity's part, destroying Hyrule in the same form as its protectors.
5 Legacy Of The Gerudo
The Zelda timeline has always been rather confusing. It's never been clear how far apart entries take place from each other. Some dialogue in Breath of The Wild indicates it must take place long after Ocarina of Time, though.
Urbosa, Chief of the Gerudo, tells Link she knows about the Calamity's history as the Gerudo king Ganondorf. She's ashamed of this past and deeply hates Ganon because of how his legacy tainted her people. Urbosa takes inspiration from Nabooru, the Gerudo sage who stood against Ganondorf.
4 Big Pig
If you're an evil overlord, don't turn into a giant boar monster. It never helps. Ganon should have learned this by now, as he's pulled that move in at least three Zelda games. It's somewhat more justified in Breath of the Wild though. It was a desperation move turning into Dark Beast Ganon. He didn't skimp on it either. His giant boar monster form there is the largest in all of Zelda. A pig the size of Godzilla? Yeah, that might beat Link.
3 Back To The Source
Ganon may have devolved from his peak in his Calamity form, but ironically it takes him back to his roots. Ganon's evil began with the Demon King Demise from Skyward Sword. Demise was similarly imprisoned in a bestial form and his very presence corrupted things around him. His curse against Link is what causes him to reincarnate as Ganon over and over again. By becoming malice and hate incarnate, the Calamity Ganon is the closest Ganon has come to Demise since his cycle of reincarnation began.
2 Evil Lives Forever
Age is somewhat hard to reckon with characters that are almost immortal and regularly reincarnate. Still, by even the most generous estimate, Calamity Ganon is the longest-lived of all the King of Evil's incarnations. By the time gamers encountered him in Breath of the Wild, he was already 11,000 years old. The Calamity first appeared ten thousand years before the game, wreaking havoc on Hyrule before being sealed away. But he wasn't gone, merely sleeping. 100 years prior to Link awakening, Ganon burst free. Evil is never gone for long.
1 He May Not Be Dead
Even before the Breath of the Wild sequel got announced, the survival of Calamity Ganon was uncertain. Yes, Link did defeat the monster at the game's end, but a difference in translation leaves the question open. In the English dialogue, Zelda tells Link that Ganon has given up on reincarnating in exchange for power when he turns into his dark beast form. But in the original Japanese, she says the opposite. There she says Ganon forced the transformation because he refuses to give up on reincarnating. So the Calamity may yet return...