Well, it took me 26 hours but I finally beat Kingdom Hearts III. What a glorious splurge that was. I already wrote about something I wish I knew before starting as a way to help pass along tips. This time I'm going to try and help in another way. Have you also finished the game? Did the ending fill you with more questions than answers? You're not alone! I too was stumped so I spent a good day, or two online trying to piece everything together. I have some theories and explanations on some of the following events, but there were also quite a few I couldn't figure out. Maybe you forgot about them as well.
Now look. The point of this article is to help others and not to point out that the Kingdom Hearts series is a convoluted mess. As fans, I think we all know it is and that's why we love it. That's part of the reason anyway. It's kind of indescribable really. I just don't want this to be used for troll fuel for their fires. Look at all of these dumb things that weren't explained. Look! I can see it all now. Oh and one more positive thing to note. You can read along the following 25 entries and get a teaser for a good portion of the topics I covered in a tie-in spoilercast for the game. If you want to hear me and some fellow fans yammer on about the game, then give that a look too.
25 What’s On Luxord’s Card?
During the final confrontation with Luxord in the Keyblade Graveyard maze, he gives Sora a card after his defeat. Luxord tells Sora to save it as a victory and he looks like he knows what to do. Now for those that don't remember, Luxord is partly responsible for the events of Chain of Memories in that he has the ability to seal powers inside cards. That's how that game worked. So what is on that card? It could literally be anything.
24 Secret Ending Explained
Did you collect all ninety of the Mickey emblems? They unlock a secret movie after the epilogue. Sora wakes up in a vibrant city. Riku is there too although separate. So where are they? Well, if you know Japan, that 104 Building is a big giveaway. They're in Shibuya, the setting of another Nomura game, The World Ends With You. The characters from that appeared in Dream Drop Distance. Oh, and the protagonist from Verum Rex is there too. What's happening? Are they dreaming, in a game, or what? I smell DLC.
23 How Did Kairi Come Back?
I have a lot of problems with how this game treated Kairi. The worst of which is that she was taken by Xehanort and turned into a Keyblade. What? After the final battle, Sora swears he will save her, opens up a keyhole, and then credits.
It's there we see Kairi has returned with the others the Destiny Islands. Sora is nowhere to be found though. So what exactly did he do to get her back? Is that why he is in Shibuya?
22 Sora Is Asleep
Okay here's my thought on what exactly happened to Sora. He opens up a keyhole and supposedly transports somewhere. I assume he ran to The Final World to retrieve her body. He saved her, but for some reason, Sora couldn't go back with Kairi. Maybe on the way, his portal, or whatever, was intercepted by an Organization XIII member. Even though the protagonist from Verum Rex is there, which I think is a red herring. The 104 Building is the big giveaway. I think his heart is asleep and Riku, having eventually found out, was sent in to retrieve him just like in Dream Drop Distance.
21 Xehanort’s True Goal
There's a lot about Xehanort's plan that doesn't make sense. Here's what we knew before this game. He wanted to create the χ-blade in order to open up Kingdom Hearts. At the finale, we finally learn Kingdom Hearts is the light at the end of the world once everything is reborn from darkness. See Xehanort was disgusted by the evil in the world so his plan was to reboot everything and live in/on, whatever, Kingdom Hearts. Does that make sense because it shouldn’t?
20 Maleficent and Pete
Before Organization XIII the big dog on campus was Maleficent, the evil witch from Sleeping Beauty. This was the best pick as a ringleader for the Disney villains. She became second fiddle in Kingdom Hearts II and even had a change of heart to save Sora at the big battle in Hallow Bastion. Well, we thought she sacrificed herself, but she's alive and well.
Her goal in this was to find a black box that Organization XIII also wanted. She's basically just background noise though as both her and Pete literally contributes nothing to the story.
19 Rapunzel’s Double Bags
This isn't a question so much as it is an obvious plot hole if you pay attention. When Rapunzel captures Flynn she takes his bag. She promises to return it if he helps her make it to the castle in order to see the light festival. Later on, Rapunzel reveals that she had his bag the whole time. However, in an earlier cutscene when Mama Gothel discovers Rapunzel is missing, she sees Flynn’s bag hidden in the stairs. Oops! Now how do you explain that?
18 Replica Headaches
I, unfortunately, didn't have enough time to replay every game leading up to Kingdom Hearts III. I instead watched some refresher videos that covered almost everything all except for one plot point I totally forgot. Remember in Chain of Memories when Sora fights Riku? It turns out that Riku was a fake, a replica. That word pretty much doesn't come back until this game. I was like oh yeah those things. I don't understand how they work though. They're manikins that can into humans with hearts? Is all the anatomy there, or what? I don't get it.
17 What’s In The Box?
Okay, let's go back to the black box Maleficent and Organization XIII were looking for. This is an item that has never come up, to my knowledge, in a game prior to this. The box doesn't even appear until the epilogue so it obviously wasn't crucial for Xehanort’s plans.
It shows up in Xigbar's possession, which by the way, he's alive too. Oh yeah and he knows some of the guardians during the Keyblade Wars because he was alive back then, known as Luxu. Oy, I need an aspirin.
16 Toy Story Copycat
When young Xehanort confronts Sora, Woody, and the others in the toy store, he tells them they are in an exact copy of Woody’s world. First of all, what? Second of all, what? Organization XIII can make doubles of worlds too? Let's not forget that Toy Story takes place on Earth, which means they cloned Earth. Who needs the power of the χ-blade, or Kingdom Hearts when they have that kind of power? Of course, he could have been lying, but I have no idea.
15 Unversed, Or Unexplained?
The Unversed were first introduced in Birth by Sleep as monsters being the embodiment of ill feelings in mankind. At this point Heartless were more rare, meaning the writers had to come up with an enemy that would make sense. I bought it at the time, but it also sort of breaks the reality. They return again in Kingdom Hearts III seemingly out of the blue. Why didn't they show up again in the first, or second game? Again, it breaks the continuity.
14 Xigbar Is The True Threat
Here's another question related to the epilogue. If Xigbar knows the guardians then how old is he? The big reveal, in my mind, is that Xigbar was a bigger threat then he led on.
Xigbar is the Loki of the Kingdom Hearts universe.
Maybe it was he who told Xehanort about the χ-blade, setting things in motion ten years prior. Is Xigbar even a Nobody, or was he pretending the whole time? There are so many questions I have about him now.
13 The Four Missing Organization XIII Identifies
Of the thirteen members of Organization XIII, there are only four characters left that have not been fully revealed. That is to say what are their Somebody forms and true names? Those four would be Demyx, Luxord, Marluxia, and Larxene. Coincidentally there are the four figures that show up with Xigbar in the epilogue. They could be these members reawakened as the guardians of the houses, but the voices are off so I don't think so. Larxene is the only one to have hinted she even knows who she was.
12 Missing Final Fantasy
Okay, this isn't really a plot hole, or mystery, but I'm still pretty bummed no one from Final Fantasy was in the game. There are tons of nods to the series like the Moogles, the Cactuar blocks, and the Dissidia NT figures. Plus they do mention Cloud and Auron by name via Hades so they're not forgotten. They're just elsewhere right now. When the word “Final” was highlighted in the last area, I thought it was Final Fantasy related, but it wasn't. Sigh...
11 Time Travel Is Magic
When they unveiled Xehanort could time travel at the end of Dream Drop Distance I threw my hands in the air. Kingdom Hearts' story was convoluted enough as it was so to throw time travel into the mix was a bit much.
Still, I thought okay maybe it would be explained. It wasn't. Somehow Xehanort can go through time and grab defeated allies as he pleases to the present. With time travel no one can be gone forever so if your favorite character bit the big one, don't worry: time travel.
10 How Did Naminé Return?
To me, the ending world felt rushed, as it was just a series of boss battles with a boatload of cutscenes. The pacing prior to this was overall great. Basically what I'm getting at is that there were tons of big drops that were passed over too quickly. How did Naminé get her body back? I assume they used the replica they got in the maze, but where did her heart come from? Was it released when Kairi vanished, or when Sora vanished?
9 Donald And Goofy Are Miracles
This is more of a question about the normalcy of Donald and Goofy. When they enter a world with Sora filled wondrous things like monsters, or talking toys, there are no questions to be asked. However, what about cases like the Pirates of the Caribbean world? They stick out like a sore thumb. Yes, there is a ship made out of crabs and yes there is a talking squid man, but their visual styles are more realistic. It's just a funny question I often wonder.
8 Sora and Riku’s χ-blade
The χ-blade can be forged seemingly in a few different ways as we saw in this game and Birth by Sleep. Both summons were slightly altered. Here’s what we know about the design. It looks like a sword coming out of two Keyblades. So this got me wondering about Sora and Riku.
Remember when they fought Aqua in the darkness? They combined their powers and created a double Keyblade too. What's up with that? Was that also a χ-blade, or something else entirely that no one in this universe thought to question?
7 Master Eraqus’ Keyblade
When Sora, Donald, and Goofy returned to the Destiny Islands, I got really excited. Then I got my mind blown when Sora found the Keyblade in the sand. Did that look familiar to you? This was the exact scene that teased the game back in 2013! Watch it again. Now at the time, I didn't realize this, but the Keyblade he found was significant. It was Master Eraqus'. I double-checked and sure enough, that's the one he uses in Birth by Sleep. As cool as this was, I do have a nit-pick. How did it get there?
6 Sora’s Parents
On the subject of the Destiny Islands, what in the world is going on with Sora's parents? We can assume they and presumably Riku's and Kairi's are fine as their home island was shown in Kingdom Hearts II. Now while it hasn't been confirmed that they have parents, or guardians, Sora sure does as we hear his mom in the opening of the original. That is something a lot of people forget about. Is this on purpose? Are their identities going to be special, or was this just a plot point written off?
5 The Aging Process
Slowly, but surely Sora, Riku, and Kairi have all aged. I can forgive the animal characters for not showing signs of aging since they are presumably adults and not growing children. You know who is a child though? Ventus. Why doesn't he age?
AquVenErra, the new de-aging cream from Disney.
Don't give the excuse that his body doesn't have a heart because Sora still grew inside the sleep chamber in Chain of Memories. For that matter why hasn't Terra, or Aqua aged? I'm not looking for drastic age lines, but it was ten years.
4 Lea And Isa’s Girl
When Lea and Isa meet in Twilight Town, they start reminiscing. This interaction reminded me of events in Birth by Sleep where they were shown as children. They age by the way unlike Aqua, Terra, and Ventus. Just saying. Anyway Ansem the Wise tasked them with saving a girl, but we don't know who that girl was. They bring it up again in this game, but they never say whom. Here's a quick theory. Maybe it was Larxene. It probably isn’t, but who knows?
3 Ansem the Wise's Whereabouts
Speaking of Ansem the Wise, just what was he doing all this time? At the end of Kingdom Hearts II, he is presumably taken out off-screen by Heartless as he voided out Xemnas' call to Kingdom Hearts. Apparently being eaten, or whatever, by Heartless doesn't destroy you. Maybe they just teleport you into the dark world. Maybe he just decided to hide in there from Xehanort and didn't get eaten. I don't know, but the point is there could have been something better for him to do.
2 Let It Go
This is another funny quandary in the same vein as the Donald and Goofy situation. Frozen kind of got overplayed after it came out, especially "Let it go" so I was over it fast. I was a little disheartened to see it was going to be a world, but I sucked it up and it's actually a pretty fun area of the game.
Where was the orchestra?
It also gave me the biggest laugh wherein I almost fell to floor laughing. Elsa performed all right with music and everything to Sora's confusion. Yeah, me too buddy.
1 The Reaper Game
The final scene of the epilogue shows Eraqus and Xehanort finishing up their game of chess when Eraqus gets an idea. He sets up seven dark pieces and only one piece of light before cutting out to credits. The actual finale is the secret movie. Now I already said this could be a reference to The World Ends With You as it is a game, the Reaper Game, which is a survival competition lasting seven days. If these clues are all red herrings I'm going to cry.