Director Shares Shelved “Kingdom Hearts” Animated Series Pilot After Nearly 20 Years

Animation Producer and Director Seth Kearsley has taken to YouTube and showcased a pilot he developed for a series based on the hit video game, Kingdom Hearts, nearly 20 years ago.

What’s Happening:

  • Seth Kearsley, who directed an animated pilot for a Kingdom Hearts American Anime series has taken to YouTube to unearth and share the pilot from nearly 20 years ago.
  • In another video, Kearsley (who directed the animated film Eight Crazy Nights), explains how the pilot didn’t amount to a series, though it did feature the original voice cast from the video game on which it was based, save for Haley Joel Osment as Sora, who didn’t appear due to a scheduling conflict.
  • In this seperate video, Kearsley also explains how he wanted the series to be influential but was limited by standards at the time, such as standalone episodes and the inability to set up the origin stories without the ability to do a sequential series. He even says the original script was more like an episode of Aladdin, co-starring the characters of Kingdom Hearts.
  • You can check out that video below:

  • Kearsley also shares that the pilot tested better than anything else had at the time, and he thinks that even today this Kingdom Hearts series “could crush.”
  • The pilot, featured above, is an animatic composed of sketches to convey the idea of the series, and dates back to September of 2003 based on the timestamp on the video.

  • Kearsley also captioned the pilot pointing out that he just wants to show off his work now that it’s been nearly 20 years, adding “This is not without its flaws, which I have not doubt will be pointed out, but I was really proud of the story we were able to tell in the time we had. Setting up the entire premise of a series, and doing a 'typical episode' is a tall order. I feel like we pulled that off, and when they tested it with kids, it tested better than anything else they were testing in that round.”
  • Kingdom Hearts originally launched in 2002 for PlayStation 2, introducing the characters of Sora, Kairi, and Riku who played in the various worlds of Disney films as they took on dark beings called “The Heartless” alongside stylized versions of Mickey, Goofy, and Donald, among a host of other Disney and Final Fantasy characters.
  • The game was critically and commercially successful and launched a full series of games on various platforms, with another sequel reportedly in development by studio Square Enix.
  • Ever since the games came out, fans have cried out for an Anime-infused Kingdom Hearts series, with many feeling that the nature and worlds of the games lend themselves nicely to an episodic series.

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