Lost Kingdom Hearts Pilot Animatic:When Kingdom Hearts was originally released and became a much more successful game than Square Enix or Disney expected, Disney also contemplated turning the game into an animated series. In the early 2000s, Disney essentially did the same thing with everything. However, Disney felt that the series was too dark for a Saturday morning cartoon, so they canceled it. The fabled lost pilot episode has been rumored for years, but no storyboards have ever been discovered.
As of today. This morning, executive producer and director of Eight Crazy Nights Seth Kearsley uploaded the full pilot to his YouTube channel as promised last month.
“I claim no rights to any part of this except that this is my work. I’m not profiting from it,” wrote Kearsley in the video description, perhaps trying to stave off a copyright claim from Disney. “I want to show my work. It’s been 20 years.”
Although the pilot episode is not fully animated, it is voiced by everyone from the Kingdom Hearts game except for Sora’s voice actor, Haley Joel Osment. In the series, Bobby Edner takes on the role of the protagonist and gives Sora a more childlike voice. There is very little animation in this episode, but the music in the action sequences certainly gives it an early 2000s Disney vibe.
There are, of course, a number of departures from the norm. When the Heartless attack and Sora is found by Donald and Goofy, the opening sequence of Sora, Kairi, and Riku playing on the beach is shortened to become a recurring nightmare. Additionally, very little time is spent convincing Sora that she is the hero who will save the universe, and even less time is spent portraying Malificent’s corruption of Riku.
There is almost no similarity between Agrabah and the game. It is actually just Sora and the gang fighting a few Heartless before Riku sends them to locate the magic lamp without Jasmine or Aladdin present. Nevertheless, the episode is only 11 minutes long, so sacrifices were unavoidable.
“This is not without its flaws, which I have no doubt will be pointed out, but I was really proud of the story we were able to tell in the time we had,” added Kearsley. “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.”
It is unknown how long Disney will allow this pilot to remain on YouTube, so you may want to watch it now before it is removed.