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Kingdom Hearts Pilot Board by SethKearsley Kingdom Hearts Pilot Board by SethKearsley
These are select panels from THE COOLEST project I ever had the pleasure of working on, which never saw the light of day.

This goes back to about 2002.  Only the first game had come out at this point.  I was hired by Disney TV animation to develop and direct an animatic for a possible Kingdom Hearts animated series.  I played the first game from beginning to end and was so excited to get this opportunity.  This would have been the perfect thing for me, especially because of my action/comedy background with Mummies.  It was dark.  It combined anime and classic disney characters.  Are you kidding me?  This was awesome.  I also had control of the script on this so it was INCREDIBLY DARK...but then so is the game.  The darkest moment in the pilot was when Maleficent possessed Riku after he snatched the lamp.  That's the very last panel here.

You'll notice a series lack of backgrounds in these boards.  There was a pretty good reason for that.  As part of the project, I was able to go to the Disney Animation Archives.  The episode took place on Agrabah, so I pulled actual production BGs from Aladdin and boarded with it in mind that I would use this backgrounds.  

This is one of those projects I really wish I could go back and have another crack at.  Especially with the technology now.  Looking back at these drawings, I can't believe how small some of them are.  I also can't believe I inked them and did marker tones on all of them.  I must have been temporarily insane.

At any rate, the pilot animatic tested exceptionally well but it was decided there wouldn't be an animated series because they planned on making many more games.  WHO KNOWS...there could be a Kingdom Hearts animated series at some point.  
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:iconprincessofdisney27:
princessofDisney27 Featured By Owner 18 hours ago
OMG I remember seeing this in KH insider website! I love Kingdom hearts! this would have been awesome to have a tv series of the game XD all of the styles in this is perfect! :D I would have loved watching a TV series of the game lol XD 
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:iconsethkearsley:
SethKearsley Featured By Owner 10 hours ago  Professional Filmographer
maybe someday.
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:iconprincessofdisney27:
princessofDisney27 Featured By Owner 10 hours ago
Yeah or even a movie too! :D
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:iconmikotoh:
mikotoh Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
that riku n sora hug is rly cute tho..........
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:iconsethkearsley:
SethKearsley Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2015  Professional Filmographer
Thanks...Woulda been cool.  The animatic had music from Gladiator, both for the intense parts, and the sorrowful end where Riku is pulled back through a portal by a giant heartless hand controlled by Maleficent.  Trying to establish, in 7 minutes, that Sora's quest was to save his two best friends, while constantly having to battle one of them.  Pretty good stuff.  All inspired by a week where I played the first game from start to finish.

Thinking I should put more of this stuff up since everyone has responded to it so well.  This is probably the most liked and commented on of all of my stuff on DA.
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:iconchronobadger:
Chronobadger Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2015
This would have saved disney's cartoon reputation. Lol. 

Anyway this would have been a great animation project. If square-Enix has a manga adaptation, then Disney should have gotten a series.

my only nitpick would be kairi's troll face in one story board...just doesn't bode well. 😃
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:iconsethkearsley:
SethKearsley Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2015  Professional Filmographer
yeah....not all of the drawings in the board are the best, they're not really meant to be seen.  There's a whole pile of other drawings.  Some better.  Some worse.  Just thought these gave a good cross section.
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:iconchronobadger:
Chronobadger Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2015
Oh wow this awesome, I didn't actually think you'd reply. I'm interested in animation and also I'm massive Kingdom Hearts fanboy. This actually got my interest and I did some digging around to find Mummies and some of other work, like Family Guy, Looney Tunes and Eight Crazy Nights. Your work is amazing.  
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:iconsethkearsley:
SethKearsley Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2015  Professional Filmographer
Thanks!  Yeah...I try to respond as much as I can.  I always try to encourage artists starting out. 
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:iconvigriff:
Vigriff Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2015
Interesting, it's too bad they didn't go with it. It would have been fun seeing Ansem or Darkside being a bit of Adaptational Badass however unlikely it was.
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:iconsailorgirl10:
sailorgirl10 Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Oh man, this is really interesting! I've been wanting a Kingdom Hearts animated series ever since I was little. Knowing that it almost happened makes me feel refreshed but at the same time sad that it didn't make the cut.

Hopefully they'll pick up this idea again someday. I would definitely watch it.
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:iconsethkearsley:
SethKearsley Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2015  Professional Filmographer
Just to keep you from sadness....it's not that it didn't make the cut.  I was told way after the fact that when they tested all of the pilot animatics from that round of development, Kingdom Hearts tested the highest.  It was that there were plans for more games and the games make more money than a series and the Director of the games is a renowned game director and they didn't want to potential offend him with an animated series.  So....who knows....when they're done making the games maybe there will be a series. 
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:iconsailorgirl10:
sailorgirl10 Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2015  Student Digital Artist
I see. It would've been cool if it did happened, but if they want to respect the director, that's perfectly fine. It's just that it's very interesting to know that it was going to happen. c:
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:iconggctuk:
ggctuk Featured By Owner Edited Jan 7, 2015
Disney.

Fund it.

Come on, there's enough behind the Kingom Hearts series storywise at this point (maybe not back then) that they could viably make a series that covers the games that currently exist.
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:iconlodzia3:
lodzia3 Featured By Owner Edited Jan 6, 2015
Funny, spent whole 5 years as a fan of KH, daydreaming about an animated series, and I found out about this just now? Well... Better late than never.
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:iconvigriff:
Vigriff Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2015
You are not alone.
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:iconsethkearsley:
SethKearsley Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2015  Professional Filmographer
:-)
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:iconmarielkeybash96:
MarielKeybash96 Featured By Owner Edited Jan 6, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah you know it was a good idea i also haved Dreamed of making a Kingdom Hearts Animated Series too.
Well at least your idea is better then mine.
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:iconmora-kbm:
mora-KBM Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2014
I'm surprised I only found out about this just now XD But this would have been awesome to see it as a mini animation. 
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:iconinyuji:
InYuJi Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2014  Professional General Artist
whoa, that was so cool.
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:iconflametheskull:
flametheskull Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
It sounds like Maleficent was the one possessing Riku and not Ansem.
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:iconohimark27:
ohimark27 Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2014
Ahh what could have been...
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:iconlrw0077:
LRW0077 Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Its a huge sham this didn't happened because it would have helped KH to retch out to more people outside of the gaming community and from the looks of it this show would have been true to the games but be its own thing.
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:iconsethkearsley:
SethKearsley Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Just a sign of the times that the game was a much bigger cash cow for them than a series would have been and they were more interested in preserving the relationship with the Director doing the games.
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:iconlrw0077:
LRW0077 Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Still one can dream.
And boy oh boy are these drawings AMAZING!!! I love how Sora Riku and kairi are mix between anime and cartoons...........anitoons if you will.
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:iconsethkearsley:
SethKearsley Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2014  Professional Filmographer
hahaha...thanks...I was going for American Anime.  Although, I would have made the models closer to the original models of the game for production.  This is just how it came out of my hand.  
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:iconsteamland:
Steamland Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2014  Student General Artist
what?! ...WHAT?! THIS WAS  AREAL THING?! [okay ALMOST A Real thing] but there is an actual 7min animation pilot you made? can we by any chance see it one of these days?
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:iconsethkearsley:
SethKearsley Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2014  Professional Filmographer
I don't even know if I still have a copy on a hard drive somewhere.  Not to mention that there are confidentiality contracts signed about this sort of thing.
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:iconsteamland:
Steamland Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2014  Student General Artist
oh yeah there is those pesky red tape  CC's. darn it XD it would of been fun to  see the show. I would of LOVE to see the reused backgrounds for each world and this sounds like it could of been a sorta proto-MCU style anime. [which now disney would probably want to take] 
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:icondigi-ink-by-marquis:
Digi-Ink-by-Marquis Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Here's to hope!!!
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:iconpainttherosesred14:
PaintTheRosesRed14 Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2014
I wish it went through
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:iconjulayla:
julayla Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014
Ugh, this would have been so awesome! Why can't fandom have nice things?!
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:iconspoon300:
Spoon300 Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2014  Student Writer
Contact John Vignocchi about it and show him this series called Bokurano. He'll love it!
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:iconpikariyad:
PikaRiyad Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2014
The nose of Sora is ... wieird
But I still love it ! We want a KH Anime ! :'D
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:iconsethkearsley:
SethKearsley Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Yeah...that's because I need to work on my anime drawing.  I mostly draw western or my own style.
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:iconsteamland:
Steamland Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2014  Student General Artist
its a nice complermentary style I Think/ Maleicent looks kinda like ms. Frizzle. :3 
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:iconpikariyad:
PikaRiyad Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2014
Ok ^^
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:iconrm-keyblade-mistress:
RM-Keyblade-Mistress Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I still want to know if Disney Channel is going to do this. Because I saw a trailer of it on youtube and the release date is in two days.
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:iconsethkearsley:
SethKearsley Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Professional Filmographer
That was probably for the game.  As far as I know there are no plans for a series.
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:iconrm-keyblade-mistress:
RM-Keyblade-Mistress Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I have a plan for a good Kingdom Hearts tv series that you might try. It'll be a spin-off of the game based AFTER the Third Kingdom hearts game (Kingdom Hearts 3). You can have new keyblade masters (a new generation) and you can make a new world for them to live at before they start on their adventure. You can design your own keyblade designs for the new characters, or you can use one of the keyblades that's been used in the game.

How's that for a good idea?
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:iconsethkearsley:
SethKearsley Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Sounds good!  Since Kingdom Hearts, and some other similar projects which would have been awesome but failed to gain traction with the studio, I've been trying to focus my energy on my own projects because at least at the end of the day I can control what does or doesn't happen with those characters.  Although, I'm currently working on a reboot of three kindergarten superhero girls you may have heard of before.
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:iconrm-keyblade-mistress:
RM-Keyblade-Mistress Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
The Powerpuff Girls!? You're doing a reboot of the Powerpuff Girls?
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:iconsethkearsley:
SethKearsley Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2014  Professional Filmographer
I can neither confirm nor deny.  ;-)
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:iconsteamland:
Steamland Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2014  Student General Artist
wow,well, if so, then cool. have you seen the fan animation/mlp episode called double rainboom? [and for the KH Anime that would fo been. would you have gotten the original voice actors form the game or would it have been kind of a "separate" group of voice actors?] looks aweosme seth. 
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:iconsethkearsley:
SethKearsley Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2014  Professional Filmographer
I have not....I'll have to check it out.  With the pilot, we used all of the original voices for the Disney characters...or at least whoever was the go to actor for those voices.  For Sora and Kiari and Riku, it was all sound alikes.  Not because Disney couldn't get the originals but because we/they were taking into account the schedules of the originals should a series happen.  So voice doubles who had doubled for the originals before were brought in.  All of this Kingdom Hearts interest is making me really want to see if I have it on a hard drive somewhere.  If for no other reason than to refresh my memory on the whole thing.
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(1 Reply)
:iconrm-keyblade-mistress:
RM-Keyblade-Mistress Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
^_^ well, if that's really going to happen, that'll be amazing to see.
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:iconsethkearsley:
SethKearsley Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2014  Professional Filmographer
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(2 Replies)
:iconardhamon:
Ardhamon Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
When it comes to the Disney characters, they‘re really on model. They look so well drawn that I think you did a great job.

As for Sora, Riku and Kairi I‘m rather interested in. They‘re characters with such an anime look to them that giving them a mixture of Disney and anime style. Plus the poses you drew them in just makes them look badass.

The ones that I really like in terms of how you drew them is dark Riku (he looks so marvel that I love it lol) and the heartless because the amount of detail you put into them. I like your style when it comes to that, detail.
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:iconsethkearsley:
SethKearsley Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Thanks!  I would have taken Sora and the gang more toward anime.  It's actually kind of tricky to draw in one style and the in the other back and forth like that.  I guess it would be like speaking two different languages at the same time.  I'm more used to drawing the Disney characters...particularly goofy.  I have a pile of discarded Donald drawings.  Cartoon ducks are hard.  Had the same problem with daffy.  It would have been an interesting series to produce because most people do one or the other style.
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:iconardhamon:
Ardhamon Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Well if the show was to take off, I guess the help of the folks who animated Boondocks or Avatar The Last Airbender to give it that look or maybe TitMouse because the people who work there do an amazing job with animation. I love their style.

Though I will say I understand how hard it is to to go for both an anime and cartoom style. I had a hard time transitioning from the anime style I used to draw to the more cartoony style I like drawing today. Though I‘d like to make a show or comic or whatever whose art style is a combination of both the japanese and western art style that inspired me to draw.
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