Animator Seth Kearsley sheds new light on the canceled Kingdom Hearts anime adaptation.
As reported by Nintendo Wire, Kearsley took to Twitter to ask his followers for their recommendation on importing a VHS tape to digital. The picture attached to his tweet is a VHS tape with the label “Kingdom Hearts” with the date Aug. 28, 2003. Kearsley came across the VHS tape and the cast list for the anime adaptation of Square Enix’s popular video game series after searching through years of media artifacts. Kearsley, who directed Adam Sandler’s Eight Crazy Nights, revealed his plans to release the Kingdom Hearts pilot the “week after next.”
Kearsley posted a picture of a one-page script of a conversation between Sora, Kairi and Riku for the 11-minute pilot episode titled “Agrabah.” Agrabah serves as the setting for Disney’s 1992 film Aladdin. Following the script, the animator uploaded a snapshot of a short cast list for the canceled animated series. From the cast members listed, everyone from the video game reprised their voice-acting roles, except for Haley Joel Osment as Sora. According to the cast list, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over actor Bobby Edner replaced Osment.
An Animated Series Was Ordered Due to Kingdom Hearts’ Popularity
Released in 2002 for the PlayStation 2, Disney and Square Enix’s first installment in the Kingdom Hearts series included cameos from the Final Fantasy games. Due to its popularity, the companies ordered an anime adaptation shortly after its release. However, both Disney and Square Enix decided to cancel the in-development anime, which left the pilot never to be seen again until its recent resurfacing.
Kearsley elaborated on the reasoning behind the cancellation of Kingdom Hearts’ anime. The animator recalled how Disney criticized the pilot for being too dark. However, some rumors stressed that Disney and Square Enix didn’t want the anime adaptation to contradict the video game series’ lore. Fortunately, Kearsley thanked Kingdom Hearts fans for supporting him by purchasing his storyboard art to get him out of a financial rut.
The Kingdom Hearts franchise recently celebrated its 20th anniversary on April 10, 2022. In celebration, the franchise released a Kingdom Hearts-themed apparel collection with the Japanese fashion brand Super Groupies. Additionally, Tetsuya Nomura, creator of the Square Enix video game series, shared new illustrations ahead of Kingdom Hearts’ anniversary event.
The Kingdom Hearts games are available to play on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Players can also download the Cloud versions on the Nintendo Switch.
Source: Twitter, via Nintendo Wire