Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Key Art

Please Let the ‘Kingdom Hearts’ Movie Rumors Be True

Since Kingdom Hearts 4 was announced during the series’ 20th anniversary event in 2022, we’ve been patiently waiting for more of Sora and his uncles, Donald and Goofy. Or maybe not-so-patiently. We’ve heard nothing about the game since, after all, but what about a movie?

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This week, some incredibly interesting rumors popped up—not about Kingdom Hearts 4, but about another adaptation of the Kingdom Hearts series. I’m not even talking about one of those side games which you will probably end up Googling whether or not you have to play in order to understand the story of the mainline games—although one of those is coming this year.

No, these rumors are about something much more jaw-dropping. While by no means officially confirmed, Disney is ostensibly working on a Kingdom Hearts film destined for theatrical release. I have never hoped for a rumor to be true more in my entire life.

What are the rumors?

These new rumors come courtesy of The DisInsider, a website that deals in Disney news and releases the occasional mailbag full of rumors and speculation. I should note ahead of time that they do not disclose their sources, and the Disney subreddit has deemed them to be unreliable.

In its April 24, 2024 mailbag, The DisInsider wrote that “Disney is developing an animated Kingdom Hearts movie.” This builds upon a rumor from 2020, also circulated by DisInsider, that Disney was developing a Kingdom Hearts series for Disney+. According to this update, the “goal is now a big screen adaptation.”

If true, this would be wild and obviously ridiculously exciting. But the report critically goes on, “These are just rumblings and nothing has been greenlit.”

Very shortly thereafter, a second rumor popped up. This rumor comes from a seemingly random Twitter influencer but holds the tantalizing information that the Kingdom Hearts film would be a live-action and CGI hybrid. Kingdom Hearts, but Roger Rabbit-style? As much as I would love to see a fully-animated version of the Kingdom Hearts world, I can’t deny the appeal of that absurdity.

However, the source of the second rumor is even more dubious than the source of the first. Is there really any chance these rumors could be true?

I want it to be true, but …

Look, I want a Kingdom Hearts theatrical film so, so badly. But there are lots of details inside these rumors that create serious pause.

DisInsider’s report concludes with, “Disney may have more of an interest on actual gaming instead of developing movies based on video games … Prince of Persia and Need For Speed were both duds for Disney.”

On one hand, because an “actual game” is actively being developed in the form of Kingdom Hearts 4 over at Square Enix, the idea that Disney is personally pouring their resources into an in-house Kingdom Hearts game seems ridiculously unlikely—and legally dubious. Which makes it more likely that whatever they’re developing is, indeed, some kind of film or series.

But the DisInsider critically added the caveat that “nothing has been greenlit”—a caveat that is quickly getting lost in the rumor mill. That means nothing is in full production yet and nothing could ever come from it, even if the rumors are true. Furthermore, the idea that a series was getting kicked around four years ago, has turned into a film idea, but still hasn’t been greenlit strikes me as odd.

There’s also the matter of Square Enix, Disney’s partner in the Kingdom Hearts franchise and the studio that’s actually been making all the games. Square Enix has made some films of its own, mostly Final Fantasy-related films like Advent Children. Whether or not any of them are any good is another story (though I like Advent Children, goddammit), but they’re at least visually stunning.

In many ways, Disney being the entity to develop the Kingdom Hearts series or film makes a lot of sense, because they’re arguably the most famous film studio in the world. On the other hand, outside of the Disney characters themselves, the aesthetic of Kingdom Hearts is very Square Enix. While Sora’s big shoes and goofy grin give him Disney-like qualities, he doesn’t look like a Disney character overall. So Disney developing an animated Kingdom Hearts film would mean either an aesthetic shift for the material or for the studio.

While the live-action and CGI route would neatly solve the issue, it essentially makes it into a weird live-action anime adaption. It also adds fascinating potential questions like, “Will they include Final Fantasy characters? Is some actor going to play Sephiroth??”

I also have a hard time believing Disney has enough faith in Kingdom Hearts as a franchise to release a theatrical film, rather than plop it on Disney+ as originally speculated.

There’s enough doubt here to give serious pause. But it sure would be nice, huh?

(featured image: Square Enix/Disney)


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Author
Kirsten Carey
Kirsten (she/her) is a contributing writer at the Mary Sue specializing in anime and gaming. In the last decade, she's also written for Channel Frederator (and its offshoots), Screen Rant, and more. In the other half of her professional life, she's also a musician, which includes leading a very weird rock band named Throwaway. When not talking about One Piece or The Legend of Zelda, she's talking about her cats, Momo and Jimbei.