Kingdom Hearts TV show was in development at one point

A Kingdom Hearts TV series was in development back in 2003 but never came to be. Seth Kearsley, a director on animated series such as The Looney Tunes Show and Mummies Alive, shared the animatic that was used to pitch the show. The animatic shows “what could have been.”

The animatic was for a proposed pilot episode, complete with temp voice acting and music. The Pilot, which features narration from Jiminy Cricket, covers the first couple of hours of Sora’s origin story in the Destiny Islands from the game but condensed as a flashback for the TV show to provide context and background to our hero.

In addition, a few scenes showing Riku, Maleficent and Jafar as well as the Agrabah World presented how the show would have looked like in an animated show setting. The pilot showed enough promise that it could have been a decent show that aired alongside bangers like Kim Possible or The House of Mouse. 

Kingdom Hearts TV
Storyboards of the Pilot released in 2014

In the brief description for the video, Kearsley said he was really proud of the story they told given the time they had and claims it tested better than anything else at that time:

“I don’t own this. I claim no rights to any part of this except that this is my work. I’m not profiting from it. I want to show my work. It’s been 20 years.

“This is not without it’s 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.”

Longtime fans of Kingdom Hearts may have encountered this animated series before, but simply as a rumor circulating the internet. Kearsley released storyboards back in 2014. As it currently stands, despite the unique transmedia potential of Kingdom Hearts, its world has existed exclusively in videogames and in one series of manga.

The proposed art style for the Kingdom Hearts TV show is more Disney than Square, as Sora and his friends have been altered somewhat from their Nomura-esque designs. Still, the pilot suggests that being faithful to the original game in terms of lore and presentation would be an important aspect.

While the Kingdom Hearts series has its roots in PlayStation — the first two games were exclusives — it has since become playable on Xbox devices. Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX as well as Kingdom Hearts 3 are available in the Microsoft Store, for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. Kingdom Hearts 4 is already in the works too and you can read more about it here.