Kingdom Hearts is an extremely popular series of video games published by Square Enix and made in collaboration with the Walt Disney Company. The games feature crossovers with popular Disney characters like Mickey Mouse and franchises like Winnie the Pooh, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Lion Kingand many more alongside Square Enix properties like Final Fantasy, The World Ends With Youand Einhänder.
In 2022, it was announced that Kingdom Hearts IV was in development, leading many people to begin speculating on which Disney properties would be brought into the new game. The previous entry brought in beloved franchises like Frozen and Big Hero 6and fans have been suggesting new worlds for the sequel that range from Raya and the Last Dragon to Luca and even 20th Century Fox properties that Disney now owns like Avatars and The Simpsons.
Fan favorite picks also include the MCU or Star Wars characters, but for all the Dinsey films that get mentioned, there are plenty that does not make it into the games. In fact, there are plenty of films that seem like safe bets to never appear in the franchise. Here are the ten Disney films that will never be in the Kingdom Hearts games.
Kingdom Hearts 3 introduced the world of the Toy Story universe, with Woody and Buzz meeting Sora, Donald, and Goofy in Andy’s room. Yet while the classic Toy Story characters appeared, it is highly unlikely the recent spin-off film Lightyear will make an appearance.
One reason is just the film’s underperformance at the box office makes it less of a priority to incorporate into the game than films like Encanto, Turning Red or Onward. The other is the film’s basic premise of being a movie inside the Toy Story universe that Andy saw and inspired the Buzz Lightyear toy line. This meta premise was difficult for mainstream audiences to understand and contributed to Lightyear‘s box office failure. While Kingdom Hearts has its own confusing lore the high concept nature of the movie in its relationship to the Toy Story franchise might be too much for Kingdom Hearts.
While most of the Kingdom Hearts realms visited in the series are popular animated films, they have dipped their toes into live-action franchises but rarely. The only two to be incorporated into the games have been Tron and Pirates of the CaribbeanWith that in mind, it would seem like another popular Disney franchise produced by Jerry Bruckheimer would be ideal for the game series: National Treasure.
Yet National Treasure seems like a difficult ask, even though the film’s central premise as a scavenger hunt and fetch quest seems ideal for a video game. Even with a recent series on Disney+, it is unlikely that National Treasure would make an appearance in Kingdom Hearts Without an appearance by Nicolas Cage’s character Benjamin Franklin Gates. The Pirates of the Caribbean levels heavily feature Jack Sparrow, and even though Johnny Depp does not voice the character they do use his likeness. It feels like, had Square Enix and Disney would have wanted to include National Treasure, they would have already.
The Mighty Ducks
The Mighty Ducks is a vast multimedia franchise for Disney. It features three feature films released in 1992, 1994, and 1996 as well as an animated series not connected to the movies but about anthropomorphic duck superheroes. It also was recently revived as a series cal Disney+ The Might Ducks: Game Changers which was sadly canceled.
Despite The Mighty Ducks Having major brand recognition at Disney and one the company recently tried to revive, it is hard to find a place for this series to fit within Kingdom Hearts outside of maybe a mini-game. The animated series version with the cartoon ducks feels more likely to fit within the Kingdom Hearts world, but the series only lasted one season and has been mostly forgotten, so it is highly unlikely any version of this series will appear.
Herbie the Love Bug
Herbie the Love Bug is one of Disney’s oldest and most iconic film franchises, despite not having been relevant in decades. The original film, The Love Bugwas released in 1968 and was followed by three theatrical sequels in the 1970s and early 80s, a made-for-television remake in 1997 from Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania director Peyton Reed (starring Bruce Campbell, of all people), and a 2006 relaunch starring Lindsey Lohan.
Herbie the Love Bug is an icon, but he is not quite popular or well known with general audiences, especially kids who would be playing the Kingdom Hearts game series. While it is unlikely the characters would visit a world with Herbie it would be nice to see him as a summon character, but that remains to unlikely possibility.
Dick Tracy was Disney’s big-budget action blockbuster for the summer of 1990 and was meant to be their answer to Batman. While the film was a hit and earned three Academy Awards out of its seven nominations and is fondly remembered today for its unique visual style. While the movie failed to launch a film franchise like Disney wanted and has mostly been a cult classic, the world of Dick Tracy seems perfect for a video game, particularly one like Kingdom Hearts.
Besides the fact that the movie is 33 years old and likely not well remembered to warrant a major level in the game, the film rights make this almost an impossibility. While Disney distributed the film, it is the star and director Warren Beatty who owns the film rights to Dick Tracy. Normally, he would have lost the film rights after all this time, but in 2010 he produced and starred in Dick Tracy Special that aired once on TCM to retain the rights.
As recently as February 11, 2023, Beatty appeared as Dick Tracy and himself in Dick Tracy Special: Tracy Zooms In, which also aired on Turner Classic Movies, helping him retain the rights. If Square Enix and Disney wanted to use Dick Tracy in Kingdom Hearts 4 they would need approval from Warren Beatty.
The following summer after Dick TracyDisney bet on another pulp comic hero to launch a franchise with The Rocketeer. The movie was directed by future Captain America: The First Avenger director Joe Johnston and was a throwback to pulp adventure serials, but was a box office disappointment in the summer of 1991.
However, unlike Dick TracyDisney actually still seems to have the rights to The Rocketeer. They released a Disney Jr. animated series that acted as a loose sequel and they were in development on a sequel with Devotion filmmaker JD Dillard that was recently scrapped. The film’s box office disappointment alongside the recent cancellation of a reboot shows that the franchise is not a priority for Disney and is unlikely to be high in consideration for a world in Kingdom Hearts.
The Lone Ranger
One of the last big-budget live-action films Disney made trying to chase the Pirates of the Caribbean formula, before shifting to MCU and Star Wars films being the bedrock of their action franchises, The Lone Ranger was an adaptation of the popular western hero.
The movie was one of the most high-profile box office bombs in recent memory, so that is one factor in why, even if Disney still had the rights, The Lone Ranger would not appear in Kingdom HeartsThe other major factor is the various accusations that surround stars Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp which make this an overall toxic film to touch, and one Disney would rather forget about.
John Carter is one of the most high-profile and notable bombs in box office history, and one that Disney will forever be associated with. The film has garnered a cult following and like Tronthe world of John Carter makes for an exciting prospect to realize in a video game. The alien world of Barsoom aka Mars would make for some exciting levels.
However, not only is it unlikely that Disney would want to be associated with a bomb of this magnitude, but they also lost the film rights to the character, so this is another case of a high-profile potential franchise that Disney bet big on, failing to launch, and eventually let go.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a beloved iconic film of the 1980s and was a technical marvel that set the template for animated characters interacting in a live-action world. The character of Roger Rabbit was featured in Disney theatrical shorts in the 1990s, almost got a film sequel, and even had a cameo in Chip n Dale: Rescue Rangers. It seems odd that Roger Rabbit and Toontown have not yet been featured in Kingdom Hearts.
It could be that the nature of the material is slightly too silly for the Kingdom Hearts game, which is saying something for being able to mix Winnie the Pooh and Final Fantasybut also it could be a rights issue. Roger Rabbit was developed through Amblin Entertainment which is owned by Steven Spielberg who has a deal at Universal Pictures. While Roger Rabbit remains a fixture at Disney parks it feels like gamers won’t see him, Jessica Rabbit, or any other character from the films in Kingdom Hearts.
Song of the South
Without a doubt, the one Disney movie that will never ever be in Kingdom Heartsor really any Disney material, is Song of the SouthSince its release, the film has been controversial for its handling of race and Disney has done everything it can to distance itself from it and has not released it on home video since the 1980s.
Yet, ridiculously, the animated characters from the film were still the main focus of the ride Splash Mountain, which is now set to replace them with characters from The Princess and the Frog. Disney would put R-rated Fox properties like Alien and Predators in Kingdom Hearts 4 before anything from Song of the South found its way into the game.