Adapting a series that has a difficult enough time conveying its story through one medium to another sounds like a trying task, but from the sound of it, Disney is working on an animated series based on the Kingdom Hearts games, and it will be coming to Disney+.
News of this has come from reports from multiple insiders and reporters like The Cinema Spot reporter Emre Kaya, who have revealed the series is still in the early stages, but that Square-Enix is making a pilot in Unreal Engine, rather than Disney developing it internally.
There is a #KingdomHearts series in the works at Disney+.
Disney originally wanted to make it but that didn't work out, so Square Enix was asked to create a pilot using Unreal Engine.
This series is most likely not live-action, but CG animated. They're currently casting. pic.twitter.com/jroZXImeOm
— Emre Kaya (@Vullein) May 26, 2020
While sources have been scattered about, the details seem pretty consistent, and from the sound of it, Disney characters like Winnie the Pooh, Donald, and Goofy are expected to be voiced by their established actors, according to DisInsider Editor-in-Chief Skyler Shuler:
Been tagged in Jeremys post (which is true), so here’s what I know:
-Kingdom Hearts will be a Disney+ series, not a movie.
-It’s animated (CG)
-Disney VO actors are expected to reprise their roles (Jim Cummings, Bill Farmer, Tony Anselmo)
All I know. https://t.co/UTFGqXtSP6
— Skyler Shuler (@SkylerShuler) May 26, 2020
At the moment, it’s unclear just where in Kingdom Hearts’ timeline this animated series would take place, or if it would even feature the series’ original characters like Sora, Riku, or Kairi. There’s also a possibility it could be a direct adaptation of one of the games (the first, most likely), but given the breadth of voice talent that would require Disney to track down, it feels more likely that this would be an original story that could work with a more focused cast of characters, instead, but we won’t know until an official reveal happens.
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Should it be an original story, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that whatever this Kingdom Hearts show is could have major ramifications for the series moving forward, as Square-Enix has made just about everything under the Kingdom Hearts name have significant impact on the story, from mainline numbered games to “spin-offs” that were actually important to the story, but had been deemed by people who played only the number games as tangential. So when wild stuff happened in Kingdom Hearts III last year, they were confused because they decided they knew better than those who had been paying attention to the series from start to finish and told them they should actually read up on this stuff.
But I’m not bitter.
If this show is going to continue the Kingdom Hearts story in earnest, hopefully it will be a chance for Square-Enix to start dissecting the series’ established framework, because as the RPGs start to creep toward more modern Disney films, the way they frame the good vs. evil conflicts of the movies are becoming especially dated in light of movies that are tackling more nuanced issues. God willing, we’ll also get some better treatment of the female characters, because we all remember how Kingdom Hearts III did Kairi dirty and then left her hanging until the Re:Mind DLC finally let us play as her for the first time in the series’ decade-long history.
Beyond the animated series, Kingdom Hearts is also getting a new mobile experience called Kingdom Hearts: Dark Road, which will focus on the series’ original big bad Master Xehanort.