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Regarding the Voice Actor Switch for Kairi...



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Cooper Newton

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Hi everyone,
I appreciate the apology Chaser gave to me regarding the heated discussion that has happened in here. While I did expect some sort of lengthy discussion regarding the recasting situation and how everyone feels about it (I agree to some extent with points made earlier in the thread, including the difference in how Panettiere and Stoner play Kairi), I never thought that a possible fan-casting of Panettiere as Strelitzia for Kingdom Hearts IV would be a heated topic for a few people. For that, I am sorry that this happened.
 

Rydgea

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I have been trying to think of precedence in voice acting in general and all I could think of is Kristen Bell leaving Central Park after season 1 due to voicing a biracial character and then returning in season 3 as the sister of the mother. That whole situation is completely different to what happened with KH though, but it was a case where someone left and then returned in another role. I am struggling to think of an example where it has happened in a game.

I know this happened with Big Mouth, too. Again, it's different, because they want POC representing representation. Fair.

But just because it's not a common practise doesn't mean it can't happen. At the end of the day it was just fan casting, in an attempt to think of a compromise. I apologise to Cooper for how much that has derailed their thread.

Totally understand, but, realistically, I think there's an even smaller fraction of a percentage of that happening than just asking her back for her original role. I mean, I'm genuinely struggling to think of an instance where this has happened. I'm fine with speculation, myself. Truly, I'd want her back in any capacity, just because I would enjoy the easter egg / trivia of it all. But it just seems highly improbable. Just keeping expectations in check. For my own heart, mostly.
 

Elysium

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All Hayden said, and you can prove me wrong, was "No one has asked me :/" and that was it. To say that she was heartbroken and upset about it is an assumption. We don't know her true feelings on the matter or how it went down, besides some implied disappointment.
No offense, but most people who would read that would take it as her being upset... That's not what I see as an "assumption" unless you really stretch it. Also, I find it pretty revolting that Panettiere's personal issues are used as a way to prop up Square Enix in this way. They should call the original actor first in all situations, full stop. Now, if Panettiere had been gone from the series for 10 years already, that would be different.

So you don't want us "demoting" Hayden, but the way you have talked about Alyson has been pretty demeaning. She isn't just Hayden's replacement, she is a legitimate voice actress who has gone a long way. Putting Alyson on a level of where she can only act throwaway lines and replace a higher celebrity is doing exactly what you have accused people of doing with Hayden.
Calling an actor by their last name isn't "demeaning." Most people refer to celebrities by their last name. Using the first name is usually a sign of personal attachment on the person speaking's part, it's something a fan of the person does, very little else--not some evil intent to abuse Stoner. TBH, that comes across like someone searching to find something wrong about someone's posts more than anything else.
And you have no proof that she is invested and really cares besides your repeated point of voicing one line. We don't know for sure and you are unnecessarily offended on the behalf of a celebrity whose feelings on the matter we don't explicitly know about.
Well, that's in the eye of the beholder. I'd feel the same way if they unceremoniously replaced Osment or Gallagher, and I did feel that way when I heard they fired all the former FFVII actors when the remake came around. Companies should be raked over the coals when they do wrong things.
 
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BufferAqua

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No offense, but most people who would read that would take it as her being upset... That's not what I see as an "assumption" unless you really stretch it. Also, I find it pretty revolting that Panettiere's personal issues are used as a way to prop up Square Enix in this way. They should call the original actor first in all situations, full stop. Now, if Panettiere had been gone from the series for 10 years already, that would be different.
I'm putting emphasis on the fact that they saw it as Hayden being upset to an exaggerated degree and heartbroken. One could interpret it as Hayden just being lightly upset or disappointed. I don't think "most" people would vastly see it as one or the other because it's a situation we have no explicit details about.
Calling an actor by their last name isn't "demeaning." Most people refer to celebrities by their last name. Using the first name is usually a sign of personal attachment on the person speaking's part, it's something a fan of the person does, very little else--not some evil intent to abuse Stoner. TBH, that comes across like someone searching to find something wrong about someone's posts more than anything else.
I didn't accuse them of demeaning Alyson because they called her by her last name. Sign did. And I wasn't the only one to make that assumption so I don't know why you are accusing only me of "finding something wrong" with their post. They got horribly upset on Hayden's behalf and talked about Alyson as if she were a "backup Hayden" and that's why I said what I said.

Anyway I'm not shilling over Square Enix or defending a possibly bad decision if you got that idea. I made that post because the way they acted towards other people in this thread felt unfair because it wasn't even a heated discussion. Furthermore, if you believe they had no ill intent talking about Alyson, then it's safe to assume that we have no ill intent bringing up Hayden's personal issues as a way of understanding why she wasn't cast.
 
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Pandymint

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I'd feel the same way if they unceremoniously replaced Osment or Gallagher, and I did feel that way when I heard they fired all the former FFVII actors when the remake came around. Companies should be raked over the coals when they do wrong things.

Is deciding to go with a different actor who was always there when the original couldn't be relied on for consistency, regardless of reasons, unceremonious? Sure, maybe a bit rude to not even call. But nah.

Unceremonious is how it was for David Hayter because he had to audition for Snake in almost all the Metal Gear games.

With this I wouldn't be surprised if they thought about asking Hayden Panettiere back, but considering she's hardly ever available they went "nah screw it, lets go with someone we know we can rely on."

Can't say I'd blame them if the decision was something like that.
 

Sign

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I still can't get over how this idea that Nomura, a man who is not fluent in English, must personally contact this one specific American actor or else it's proof of a malevolent scheme against them, is in any way reasonable. He doesn't even do this with the Japanese cast, and some of those people he is actually close to on a personal level.

Calling an actor by their last name isn't "demeaning." Most people refer to celebrities by their last name. Using the first name is usually a sign of personal attachment on the person speaking's part, it's something a fan of the person does, very little else--not some evil intent to abuse Stoner. TBH, that comes across like someone searching to find something wrong about someone's posts more than anything else.
In a completely unbiased discussion, no one would even blink an eye at this. However, Face My Fear only refers to Alyson by her last name, and in a thread where he has repeatedly talked down to her as an inferior person while elevating Hayden to the second coming to Jesus, it's clear that he does not respect her.
 

Face My Fears

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I still can't get over how this idea that Nomura, a man who is not fluent in English, must personally contact this one specific American actor or else it's proof of a malevolent scheme against them, is in any way reasonable. He doesn't even do this with the Japanese cast, and some of those people he is actually close to on a personal level.


In a completely unbiased discussion, no one would even blink an eye at this. However, Face My Fear only refers to Alyson by her last name, and in a thread where he has repeatedly talked down to her as an inferior person while elevating Hayden to the second coming to Jesus, it's clear that he does not respect her.
How is it clear that I don't respect Alyson when she voices my second (and sometimes first, depends on the day) favourite character!? Kairi isn't even near the top of the list.

I was just referring to Alyson for what she was so far in the series, in regards to Kairi - she was the replacement for Hayden in the smaller appearances of Kairi. That is a fact. Before KH3 came out, I think most people saw Alyson that way and expected Hayden to come back for KH3. It's typical for a major star to only appear in the major titles (like Tom Hanks as Woody), and have someone else do the minor work, so I thought that would be the case for Alyson/Hayden's situation with Kairi.

I'm not disrespecting Alyson over anything. My problem is simply that Square/Nomura didn't telephone or text Hayden to ask "hey are you interested in doing Kairi's voice for KH?" It doesn't cost Square's secretary or Nomura's personal assistant any money to do that and takes less than a minute to do, so clearly there is a reason they didn't want Hayden back and that's just wrong in my eyes to not ask. Square must have known that KH3 was - in a way - a celebration of getting everyone back together... "everyone" includes Hayden, who was there from the start and helped make the franchise what it is.

Back in the day, a big selling point of KH was the fact that so many DISNEY voice actors from the films were actually in the game. I think that same excitement and joy should be extended to the original (and particularly the main) characters LIKE KAIRI. So yeah, Hayden - for whatever reason - wasn't able to do the smaller gigs for the handheld titles and Alyson was paid to be the replacement. That's fine and understandable. What's not fine nor understandable is the fact that in an age of nostalgia and wanting to see original casts back together, Square/Nomura decided to not even ask Hayden to come back.

And honestly, people just jumping to conclusions about Hayden being "inconsistent" so they fired her and moved on with Alyson, like really? Is Tom Hanks inconsistent voicing Woody because he only does it for the films? Is it really worthwhile to delay a handheld project/drain the budget just to get THE Hayden Panettiere to voice one line? She did it when she could, but don't condemn her for not doing all of the one-liners they had across the handheld games. Hayden shouldn't be penalized or subject to name-calling ("inconsistent") just because she didn't say like 3 lines across 3 handheld games.

The right thing for Square/Nomura to have done was reach out to Hayden during 0.2's pre-production and let her know that KH3 is coming out and that they're wondering if she's interested. Maybe even TELL HER that Kairi is going to be featured heavily and will be the focus of a DLC package and solo game. For all we know, Hayden may have thought that Kairi's role was reduced to nothing if she got multiple requests for the handheld games and she gets the script and it's just one line.

Anyway, I'm going to end this by voicing my displeasure with Square and Nomura for not even calling Hayden. Full stop. It has nothing to do with Alyson.
 

BufferAqua

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Hayden shouldn't be penalized or subject to name-calling ("inconsistent") just because she didn't say like 3 lines across 3 handheld games.
What are you on about? You act as if referring to Hayden as inconsistent is an insult.
It isn't. Several people have mentioned that Hayden has dealt with serious issues, which contributes to her inconsistent schedule and Alyson as a replacement. It's not a dig at her at all, and I'm not sure why you'd make that accusation.
 

Face My Fears

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What are you on about? You act as if referring to Hayden as inconsistent is an insult.
It isn't. Several people have mentioned that Hayden has dealt with serious issues, which contributes to her inconsistent schedule and Alyson as a replacement. It's not a dig at her at all, and I'm not sure why you'd make that accusation.
It is an insult... when they refer to that being the reason they believe Square/Nomura just ignored Hayden and went with Alyson for KH3.

It's also an insult when they call HAYDEN "inconsistent" and not "Kairi's casting" as inconsistent. The statement makes it seem like something is wrong with Hayden or that she is doing something wrong, when it reality the inconsistency is that Kairi was voiced by two different people.

And can people stop using Hayden's personal life as some excuse to explain away any wrongdoings done by Square/Nomura? I don't even think in 2017/2018 that the public was aware of her issues. Not only that, but in 2018 Hayden commented that no one contacted her. I've never heard of a situation where a company doesn't reach out to an actor for work just because they read that the person was going through issues. If that were the case, MARVEL would have never called Robert Downey Jr. and DISNEY would have never called Johnny Depp. Those two got calls. Why didn't Hayden? It's actually demeaning to see people keep referencing Hayden's personal issues and pain and using that to justify her not wanting to be Kairi or being inconsistent. Hayden should be the one to determine whether she is strong enough to work or not. Treating her like she's weak and not able to work is insulting to her and what she has been through. Again, the problem here is that no one asked Hayden. If she was going through too much, she could just say no and life would have moved on. No one asked her.
 

Elysium

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Bufferino said:
I'm putting emphasis on the fact that they saw it as Hayden being upset to an exaggerated degree and heartbroken. One could interpret it as Hayden just being lightly upset or disappointed. I don't think "most" people would vastly see it as one or the other because it's a situation we have no explicit details about.
I'm afraid I don't agree with you on what "most" people would think. I stand by what I said--most people would read that and draw the conclusion that she's upset. Perhaps not histrionic--does one have to be suicidal over something to be considered to be "upset" about it?--but why wouldn't somebody who played this role and who apparently expected a call not be upset?

And I wasn't the only one to make that assumption so I don't know why you are accusing only me of "finding something wrong" with their post.
Well, you're assuming (heh) I was referring to just you. Alyson Stoner is backup Kairi, isn't she...? She was not the original voice actor and she was picked to replace Panettiere when she wasn't available? Stoner is the original Xion voice actor though, right?

I made that post because the way they acted towards other people in this thread felt unfair because it wasn't even a heated discussion.
That's funny, from what I read, I had the complete opposite impression, that FMF was being targeted by several people. Particularly when you're going @ them over nonsense like having referred to someone by their surname. Even if they did dislike Stoner--and I don't think that appears to be the case--is everyone here forced to be a fan of every actor in this series? I didn't like Ansem SOD's replacement and still think Billy Zane is vastly superior to them. That's not an insult--I'm sure the replacement does try their best, they can't work magic--it's just a fact.

Furthermore, if you believe they had no ill intent talking about Alyson, then it's safe to assume that we have no ill intent bringing up Hayden's personal issues as a way of understanding why she wasn't cast.
I don't believe that referring to someone by their last name is demeaning anywhere. Whereas implying Panettiere is incapable of working ever again because she wasn't feeling good at one point in time is pretty weird. We all have bouts of depression or what have you, that isn't an indication of where her state of mind is forevermore. It's not like she's locked up in an asylum somewhere, she just had postpartum or whatever it was?

Pandymint said:
Is deciding to go with a different actor who was always there when the original couldn't be relied on for consistency, regardless of reasons, unceremonious? Sure, maybe a bit rude to not even call. But nah.
Sorry, we disagree here. Not being available for a side game where your character has one line isn't cause for being replaced in a mainline game, even if the replacement comes from "inside the house."

Pandymint said:
With this I wouldn't be surprised if they thought about asking Hayden Panettiere back, but considering she's hardly ever available they went "nah screw it, lets go with someone we know we can rely on."
I don't think this characterization is accurate. She turned down, what, one game? Two? One of those where her character speaks only four or five words maybe? Not my idea of "hardly ever available" when she was around for every other game prior to that (and this series is long)...
 

BufferAqua

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It is an insult... when they refer to that being the reason they believe Square/Nomura just ignored Hayden and went with Alyson for KH3.

It's also an insult when they call HAYDEN "inconsistent" and not "Kairi's casting" as inconsistent. The statement makes it seem like something is wrong with Hayden or that she is doing something wrong, when it reality the inconsistency is that Kairi was voiced by two different people.
We are referring to Hayden specifically because her personal issues ARE the catalyst for her recasting, which is why we bring up Hayden's inconsistent casting rather than Kairi's casting in general. Also, I'll reiterate again that accusing people in this thread of dehumanizing Hayden on behalf of Square Enix/Nomura is completely unfair to everyone here. Sign just stated that Nomura has no direct influence on Kairi's English casting, given that English is not even a language in which he is fluent.
And can people stop using Hayden's personal life as some excuse to explain away any wrongdoings done by Square/Nomura? I don't even think in 2017/2018 that the public was aware of her issues. Not only that, but in 2018 Hayden commented that no one contacted her. I've never heard of a situation where a company doesn't reach out to an actor for work just because they read that the person was going through issues. If that were the case, MARVEL would have never called Robert Downey Jr. and DISNEY would have never called Johnny Depp. Those two got calls. Why didn't Hayden? It's actually demeaning to see people keep referencing Hayden's personal issues and pain and using that to justify her not wanting to be Kairi or being inconsistent.
I don't believe anyone is excusing Square Enix's potential wrongdoings. We're just saying that because we don't have specifics on what happened, we can't speculate on Hayden's feelings on the matter or whether Square Enix is being a "evil AAA corporation company" about it. Even I admit that they should have called her in the first place, but voice acting is a business.
If someone is consistently unavailable, even if the reason is justified, it usually falls to the replacement to fill in the gaps. Also, big actors like RDJ and Depp aren't comparable to video game voice acting roles, so I'm not sure what you're trying to say there.
Hayden should be the one to determine whether she is strong enough to work or not. Treating her like she's weak and not able to work is insulting to her and what she has been through.
You're taking it all too personally for no reason.
True, we don't know Hayden and have no idea what she has been through. But all we're doing here is pointing out that she's been through a lot in her life, and based on what we know, we can safely assume that's why she was recast and that inconsistency is why she wasn't in KH3. It's pure speculation, and you're misinterpreting it as an attack on her character and traumatic experiences, even though no one has done so.
 

Antifa Lockhart

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This is the dumbest shit.

No one knows the exact reason why Hayden wasn't asked back. No one. There's no point in constructing narratives or getting upset at people who may or may not be involved. There's no reason to go off the deep end with conspiracy theories or picking each other apart.

Get a grip or I start locking and suspending.
 

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All I'll say in addition is that y'all sure aren't thinking about this very pragmatically. I'm not blaming Hayden for anything, I'm just spitballing a possible answer that isn't just "Square is bad actually." Occam's razor and all. Whether it was due to budgetary reasons, or scheduling conflicts with her other work, or her personal life being her focus she was not available for the role for several games. It's not a stab at her, it's stating an observable fact.

But who was available to fill in every time? Alyson Stoner. So when it comes time to do the next game, you look at this unfortunate track record. They may have, wrongfully, assumed "well she's probably too busy."

Also calling anyone a 'replacement' is pretty disrespectful, for the record.
 

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They should call the original actor first in all situations, full stop.

While that would be nice in an ideal world, we can’t know every possible situation that could occur. Recasting an actor is not some inherently immoral act. Sometimes it can even be a good thing. Actors aren’t always the victim and sometimes there simply isn’t a victim. Things just don’t work out sometimes, which could be for an endless number of reasons.

In this case, there isn’t enough information to make a reasonable judgement on whether this was the right call or not. We don’t even know if it was SE/Disney or Hayden’s representation/management that dropped the ball. She could have even just been giving an NDA-approved response as most actors do when asked about upcoming projects they may or may not be involved in. If there had been talks of her returning that fell through, she likely wouldn’t be able to disclose that.

While it’s unlikely, I would love to see Hayden return to the series one day whether as Kairi or another character, but mostly wish bigger and better things for her as she makes her comeback.
 
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