kingdom keepers disney+ series

Two years ago, Kevin Smith teased a mystery writing gig that would be the most “massive IP” the Clerks director had “ever been allowed to play with.” When Netflix announced that Smith was developing a Masters of the Universe animated series earlier this year, we all assumed that was the “massive” mystery gig that the writer-director was speaking of. But Smith recently revealed that two years ago, he had also been developing a Kingdom Keepers series for Disney+ that was ultimately scrapped.

Kingdom Keepers was a series of children’s novels written by Ridley Pearson which followed a group of teens who work as Disney theme park guides by day, and battle Disney villains who come to life in the parks by night — basically Night at the Museum but for Disney Parks. Published between 2005 and 2013, the popular New York Times best-selling series made a brief return in 2015 and is set to make another comeback in 2020. It would have been perfect timing for a Disney+ series adapting Pearson’s novels to make its debut, but alas, that was not meant to be. Smith revealed that this almost was the case, however.

After hinting of his involvement in a Kingdom Keepers series on his Fatman Beyond podcast, Smith revealed that he had been working on a Kingdom Keepers project for Disney+, which was planned to be one of the first shows launched on the streaming platform. However, “a new exec” brought on to oversee Disney+ scrapped the series.

“That was a blast to write 2 years ago,” Smith said in a tweet. “It was planned as one of the first shows to launch on what would become [Disney+]. Then a new exec was put in charge of the app and he killed KK. Said we used too much Disney IP in one project (every character in the park comes to life).”

Smith added that the Kingdom Keepers project was a passion project for him, as a “kid who grew up watching ‘The Wonderful World of Disney’ with his family every Sunday night.” “Felt like they overpaid me to write Disney fan fiction!” he said.

But Smith was still gracious about the experience, concluding that the unnamed executive who scrapped Kingdom Keepers was still the “guy who said ‘Let’s do Star Wars & Marvel Studios shows!'” Smith concluded that “as much as I would’ve liked to make my show, I’m much happier watching The Mandalorian and WandaVision.”

Update: In Smith’s latest “Sunday Sermons” video, the director revealed that Kingdom Keepers was in fact that “massive IP” mystery project that he had teased he was working on two years ago. “My agent called me one day and said, hey the folks at Disney want to meet with you. And this is a couple years ago, I put up a tweet saying, ‘I’m working with the biggest IP I’ve ever worked with.’ This was it,” Smith revealed.

In the video, Smith revealed more details of the his scrapped Kingdom Keepers series, which he described as “the Avengers of Disney” and would have featured nearly every character from the Disney canon, including Walt Disney himself as a character.

“In Ridley’s books…they pick one of the villains and stuck with that villain for the book,” Smith said. “When I was working on it, they told me ‘Just go Disney nuts, man.’ …So all that stuff was fair game. Walt was a character, Mickey Mouse was of course a character. Every character — the main villain was Captain Hook, who I wanted Russell Brand for.”

It sounds like we missed out on a series that would have had the wildest collection of Disney characters outside of Once Upon a Time. Smith’s ambitious pitch for Kingdom Keepers certainly explains why he dubbed the project a “massive IP” despite the series being mostly known amongst Disney theme park fans.

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