The pilot episode of a scrapped Kingdom Hearts animated series has been uploaded to YouTube by its proposed director.
The series was set to be directed and developed by Seth Kearsley, whose other credits include Eight Crazy Nights and The Looney Tunes Show.
In 2002, the same year as the release of the original Kingdom Hearts game, Kearsley was hired by Disney TV for the series. Although the pilot tested “exceptionally well”, it was canned due to Square Enix’s future plans for “many more games” in the series.
The existence of the series has been known for several years. In 2013, Kearsley posted storyboards he’d made to DeviantArt, and it was later covered by Did You Know Gaming in 2015.
Kearsley has since been open about his vision for the series and its development. In 2018, he hosted an Ask Me Anything session on the Kingdom Hearts subreddit. Now, he’s decided to share the pilot episode and had it transferred from video tape to digital form so he could upload it. Kearsley says he made this decision after a serious car crash in January nearly cost him his life, following which he realised he had work that had never been shared before which he wanted to “put out in the world”.
And here it is. It opens with a short explanation of how Sora, Riku and Kairi got separated from their homeworld of Destiny Island, then jumps into the game’s Agrabah section.
All of the game’s original voice actors reprised their roles apart from Hayley Joel Osment (who voices Sora), which Kearsley said was down to scheduling conflicts in an earlier video containing background information on how he got involved with the project.
As a longstanding Kingdom Hearts fan, I’m not sure what to say other than it sure could use subtitles when Donald Duck speaks. It’s a bizarre look into what could have been. It’s hard to imagine Disney commissioning one now, given how much has been crammed into the series’ story. Square Enix? Well, I wouldn’t put anything past them.