Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Kevin Smith's Shelved Disney+ Show Sounds Completely Bananas

Back in the early aughts, kids had another fantastical books series to dive into akin to Rick Riordan's "Percy Jackson" series. With the release of Ridley Pearson's "Kingdom Keepers" in 2005, readers were launched right into the magic of Disney World and posed the question: What goes on behind the scenes at everyone's favorite amusement parks? For those not familiar with the book series, it follows teen Finn Whitman and four of his friends who work at Disney World as guides, but with a unique twist. Using a special technology, they are transformed into holographic projections as they lead guests through the park. Unbeknownst to them, however, the technology has a side effect that turns them into their holographic selves at night and transports them to the park. They discover that all of the characters and rides come alive at night, and that the magic of Disney is being threatened by a group of menacing villains.

The premise of "Kingdom Keepers" must have sounded pretty interesting to writer Kevin Smith, who wanted to make a TV adaptation of the books way back before the Disney+ streaming service even had a name. But while the books are an imaginative and fun read, translating them to TV would have been a crazy and monumental task. Here's why.

The books have way too much Disney IP to tackle

If you think about it, Disney World contains an insane amount of material the TV adaptation could have pulled from. Aside from the classic characters like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, there's the latest addition of Star Wars and Marvel characters, plus all of the trademarked attractions and rides. That is a whole lot of Disney intellectual property (IP) that Kevin Smith would have had to tackle.

Smith explained on his FatMan Beyond LIVE YouTube show that there was a man (Smith forgets his name) who was originally in charge of the programming for Disney's streaming service, and he was the one who killed Smith's show because of the amount of IP. He said: "And the word I heard back was that dude was like 'This property has way too much IP in it. He's got every f****** Disney character alive,' because that's what we were developing. The book kind of is about kids that go into Disney after dark, and the park comes to life and s*** like that. Real fun, fantasy stuff." With the amount of effort it takes to get the rights to use a single character, it's no wonder why the exec pulled the plug on the show, but he had another reason as well.

The show's filming location was another hurdle

In the YouTube show, Kevin Smith went on to say how he met with producers at Disney to talk over the filming logistics. The director explained that he was taken through several park locations — like Space Mountain — to discuss how they could film the show, and even then, he knew that the show was a bit too aspirational. He said: "It was crazy, and the whole time I was working on this thing, I was like, 'I can't believe I got this job. Sooner or later, this is going to stop. No way this happens.'"

On the technical side of things, filming at Disney World would have been a huge hurdle to jump. Disney would have had to close several locations to the public, and who knows how long the production schedule would have been. All in all, the ambitious adaptation was inevitably shelved, but Smith doesn't hold any hard feelings for the cancelation. He explained that although he was invested in the project, it was all Disney's property, and at least he still got a check.