Canceled Kingdom Hearts Animated Pilot Released After 19 Years

Last month, Seth Kearsley revealed new information about a Kingdom Hearts animated series he worked on as an executive producer back in 2003. Disney did not go forward with the series, but an unfinished animatic was produced, and Kearsley held on to it for the better part of two decades. Kearsley previously hinted that he would try to release the animatic online, and he has now fulfilled that promise! The animatic is just over 11 minutes in length, and it uses the majority of that time to establish characters like Sora, Riku, and Kairi, as well as their relationships with Disney characters like Donald and Goofy.

The animatic can be found in the video embedded below.

Fans of the Kingdom Hearts games will be happy to hear (mostly) familiar voices in the animatic. Hayden Panitterie and David Gallagher were set to reprise their roles as Kairi and Riku respectively, though Sora is not voiced by Haley Joel Osment. Instead, actor Bobby Edner can be heard in the newly released video. According to Kearsley, Osment had a scheduling conflict that would have prohibited him from appearing as Sora. After all these years, it's pretty strange hearing a different voice actor in the role!

Since the animatic's release has not been authorized by Disney, it's unclear if it will remain on YouTube, or if it might be hit by a copyright claim. Kearsley makes it clear in the YouTube listing that he does not own the work, or seek to profit off of it. His sole motivation for releasing the animatic has always been that he's proud of the work; Kearsley was in a near-fatal car accident earlier in the year, and has stated that he would have been "bummed" if no one ever got to see this thing he helped to create. Reception to the animatic's release has been overwhelmingly positive so far, and many fans are just happy to catch a glimpse at what might have been!

Are you happy that this Kingdom Hearts pilot finally released? Are you disappointed that this project wasn't finished? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!