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The Lost Kingdom Hearts TV Pilot Has Finally Surfaced

Thanks to the efforts of its director, the never-before-seen pilot episode of the rumored "Kingdom Hearts" TV series has finally been revealed. Though Seth Kearsley, who also directed the animated comedy and Hanukah favorite "Eight Crazy Nights" and worked on "The Looney Toons Show," has shared storyboard photos in the past, the fully-voiced pilot for "Kingdom Hearts" continued to elude the public.

In a September 4 Twitter thread, Kearsley described what led to his involvement with the pilot. "After 'Eight Crazy Nights' I wanted to do something completely different," he said. So, he turned to "American Anime." He met with Disney and ended up obsessed with "Kingdom Hearts" – he claimed to have beat it in a week, before even reading the script he had been given.

Kearsley didn't like that the original script felt more like an "Aladdin" show with the main "Kingdom Hearts" characters as co-stars. He claimed that Disney fired him after he expressed this, only to rehire him after he spoke to the studio head. He then had to find a way to make the first episode without turning it into an "origin story," which Disney had banned. This resulted in the pilot revealed by Kearsley on October 11.

The Kingdom Hearts TV pilot shows what almost was

"Kingdom Hearts" fans don't often get big news, especially such an intimate look at what could have been. The 20-year-old pilot is an animatic, a colored and voiced episode presented through sequenced storyboard images to give a rough outline of the final production. The narrative initially takes the same basic direction as the first "Kingdom Hearts" game, but it ends up being a dream as viewers are suddenly brought to the gummi ship to see Sora reminiscing over his lost friends.

Sora finds Riku in Agrabah, ends up in the Tiger Cave with Aladdin's lamp, and the narrator teases "many worlds to save" in future episodes – episodes that would never come. "This is not without it's flaws," Kearsley wrote in the video's description, "but I was really proud of the story we were able to tell in the time we had ... when they tested it with kids, it tested better than anything else they were testing in that round."

On Twitter, Kearsley described the prospect of heading a "Kingdom Hearts" TV show as "the unscratched itch." Despite studio heads denying his occasional attempts to reignite the series, he claimed to "have heard rumors of something happening now." Over the years, Kearsley has stayed involved with the "Kingdom Hearts" fandom, including the release of a line of stickers featuring Whitey, Davey, and Eleanor from "Eight Crazy Nights" wearing the iconic clothing of Sora, Riku, and Kairi.