Canceled Kingdom Hearts TV Show Pilot Has Fans Mourning What They Missed


The animatic for the unaired Kingdom Hearts pilot is now available online, and fans are loving that they see. Disney and Square Enix’s Kingdom Hearts continues to have a major presence in the gaming community, and what seemed like a very strange idea has grown into one of the most successful video game franchises. The game was not only different for Disney, which at that point made typical action platformers, but was also different for Square Enix, as it utilized an engine that veered away from the typical, stiff RPG model and had a game element that allowed for more freedom and interaction. This combined with the story-telling gimmick of adding Disney characters to the mix, allowed players to feel as if they were interacting with their favorite Disney worlds.


The franchise has extended to toys and manga books, but at one point there was almost a Kingdon Hearts animated series for Disney Channel. Headed by Seth Kearsley of Eight Crazy Nights fame, the series was to be a faithful adaptation of the original game. Development started a year after the first game came out and Kearsley was hired to create an eleven-minute pilot to show to executives that an animated series could work. He played the entire first game and fell in love with the concept, creating a pilot that he said “tested well.” Unfortunately, the series was shot down, as Disney and Square Enix were concerned about its dark elements and wanted to focus on the game rather than animation.

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After teasing it, Kearsley finally released the entire Kingdom Hearts pilot animatic via his YouTube channel. The pilot, which supposedly was not intended as a full episode, but instead a generalization of the series, provides a very quick glimpse at what was in store for this animated adaptation. Fans of the franchise are now sharing their thoughts on social media, and it seems like certain story choices would’ve been a big hit. Check out a selection of tweets below:

Could A Kingdom Hearts TV Show Succeed?


Kearsley has had a long history working in animation, from the aforementioned Eight Crazy Nights to smaller television projects such as Mummies Alive! and Timon & Pumbaa. His most recent projects have been with DreamWorks Animation on the shows Where’s Waldo? and TrollsTopia, but Kingdom Hearts seems to be the show that Kearsley has felt the biggest attachment to. He explained in great detail how he came to be in charge of the failed project, and his frustration when the show got the ax. A car accident in January 2022 convinced him that he had sat on the footage for long enough and was ready to share it with the world.

As demonstrated by these fan reactions, the cancelled Kingdom Hearts pilot is very enjoyable, and given that it was produced so close to the original game’s release, Disney was clearly well aware of the franchise’s success. As of right now, Disney does not appear to be too interested in a TV adaptation of the games, though there are persistent rumors that one for Disney+ is in development. The pilot’s release could lead to a large increase and demand for a television series, but for now, the only way to truly enjoy the Kingdom Hearts series is through the video game.

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Source: Seth Kearsley/YouTube


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