If there is one trend that’s been rising quite a bit over the last few years, it is the concept of streaming services. What begun with Netflix has spiraled into a cycle of madness with over 200+ services. Whether you want to watch a series of films, TV shows, sports, or whatever, if you want to see something specific, you got to sign up for on-demand streaming. Chances are you may have at least one subscription to something but probably would want to expand out to multiple ones if you could afford it. One such service that has been running the gambit for streaming would be Disney+. From their classic shows to their monster line up of Marvel, Star Wars, and so forth, where do they go from here? What is the one thing they have that no other service could provide? That’s where Kingdom Hearts comes into play.
Chances are that if you are someone who plays video games and enjoys Disney films, you know what Kingdom Hearts is. With a series of titles going on for almost 18 years, it can be a fun way to lose your mind when trying to summarize everything. If that’s the case, what better series than this one to turn into a TV series? Even now as the show goes into development, we already know a few details about what we could expect. Besides it being developed as a CG-animated series, it will also have reprised roles from original Disney Voice Actors like Bill Farmer, Tony Anselmo, and Jim Cummings. But what else could we expect to see out of the series? And could it be a means to possibly tie Kingdom Hearts neatly together?
Wishful thinking, but let’s explore the options.
To driving oneself into insanity to describe the plot
That is how some would summarize Kingdom Hearts. It is an exaggeration (a bit), but even with Kingdom Hearts 3 coming out last year, it still has plenty of unanswered questions alongside posing even more for whenever we get to the next title in the series. But let’s ask ourselves this: If Disney approached you and said “Make us a Kingdom Hearts series!” What do you do? It isn’t like writing a tv series based on a book or video game series is a new show concept (to which kudos to The Witcher for being as big of a success as it was), but Kingdom Hearts is one of those series where you can take it in any direction. But which path do we take?
Option 1: Retelling the Original Story (which one? Umm…)
So let’s get the obvious choice out of the way right now. One of the easiest ways we can approach a Kingdom Hearts TV show would be to do the original Kingdom Hearts. Sounds easy enough, right?
It would be, but it also kind of depends on where we start the story itself. As easy as it would be to retell the story of the original story, technically, Kingdom Hearts has two separate introductions: The original Kingdom Hearts and Birth By Sleep. The good thing here is that much like the Star Wars and the prequel series, both titles can technically work as a starting off point for those who are not familiar with the series. Is one a better starting point than the other? By all means, but it wasn’t like either title could be recommended if we were to look at the story itself.
Whether we follow and retell the plot of either title, that would mean that the cast size would be rather considerable when you realize that you’re not only working with the Kingdom Hearts characters but also all the various worlds in which they would go visit too. Who knows how deep they would go but considering the number of places you go to in an average game, it would be quite a bit to fit in (and that’s also not counting the Final Fantasy cast too).
All in all, if they took the route of retelling a game, it would most likely be like playing the games, but with no actual interaction. Nothing wrong with that, but it does make one consider what could be done if they chose to go down a different path.
Option 2: A New Series Telling A New Story
There’s a very good chance that we could just see a retelling of the story we’ve come to know now for a good decade or so. But let us consider what could happen should they choose to go down a more “original” path.
Whenever you have an established world that has people invested in learning more of, it can be nice to have side stories separate from the main to show how it works. Whether the story is something like “What was this person like before we knew them?” a story that can serve as a prequel or a sequel, or just something that gives more screen time to a fan favorite, a spinoff could be just the thing you need. But what exactly would that be in this circumstance?
One idea that comes to mind would be what was done with Kingdom Hearts Union x [Cross]. You might be asking, “Why would a mobile game be so important?” until you come to realize that every person playing it is effectively apart of the Keyblae War and how by the end of it, everyone does meet an unfortunate end. Perhaps we could use this time to help show the life of your average Keyblade user, or how various Disney worlds react to shadows when there are no Keyblades around. Something that can establish a key detail about this universe that could perhaps explain things we never thought of until now or answer questions like, “What’s in the box?”
As we established earlier, trying to decipher the entirely of Kingdom Hearts would be enough to drive am average person to madness. When you make an adaption of something, you have to take into consideration that this is something for not just the fans, but for people who have no idea what in the world Kingdom Hearts is. If you try and play it too much “for the fans,” you can turn off those who have no idea of the concept of heartless, nobodies, and unversed and what sets them all apart. If you try and play up a series to those who are not apart of the target audience, you can have people questioning the chooses made and why characters feel like they are entirely different from who they are supposed to be.
No matter the route that they choose for the Kingdom Hearts series on Disney Plus, hopefully, they will find that balance just right which can help to welcome in a bigger crowd while also expanding on the world (much like what was done with The Mandolorian). Will it succeed? Time will tell there, but with what they’ve started to set up so far, it does seem likely that it will be a success. Perhaps in this “new age of digital media,” the only way video game adaptations will truly thrive is through streaming services and not necessarily upon the big screen. Considering how there aren’t that many big plans for the Kingdom Hearts series for now (outside of a mobile game), this series could be just the thing we need to keep us busy until we get to “Kingdom Hearts 3.2.”
What do you think?
Are you excited for Kingdom Hearts getting a Disney Plus series? What do you hope to see out of it? Be sure to leave your thoughts down below and follow us here at Culture of Gaming for more articles covering Kingdom Hearts and all other things in the gaming world.