I'm beyond excited for Kingdom Hearts III and have been waiting for over a decade now. Yes, believe it or not, Kingdom Hearts II launched in 2005, but there have been a plethora of spinoffs to tide fans like myself over until this inevitability. In all my excitement, I thought it would be a fun idea to go through the worlds I want in the next installment and, of course, those I don't want. If it were up to me all of the worlds thus far, except the original creations like Twilight Town, would be scrapped. However, we already know that will not be the case, as a world based on Hercules has already been revealed. There are great worlds that have already been confirmed, though, like Tangled and Big Hero 6, which would have made my wish list.
There are a few things we already know about Kingdom Hearts III, which you can read all about right here. Now, seeing as there are literally hundreds of films, this list was a little hard to narrow down. For this list, we'll be focusing on the best and worst properties that would actually make sense in the Kingdom Hearts universe. We will omit entries like The Black Cauldron, Pete’s Dragon, and Mary Poppins, that don't make a lot of sense from a gameplay perspective. With that said, I'll be focusing on popular Disney films. It sounds more complicated than it is, but you’ll see what I mean.
15 Best: Guardians Of The Galaxy
Now that Disney has acquired Marvel, there are a plethora of choices for Kingdom Hearts III to explore —the most popular choice would probably be The Avengers— but I think Guardians of the Galaxy would fit in better with Sora, Donald, and Goofy. The trio of protagonists are essentially guardians themselves, and unlike the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy have anthropomorphic creatures already in their wheelhouse. A talking duck and dog would fit right in with a talking tree and raccoon (maybe Howard the Duck could make an appearance to cement their bond further even further).
The best possible plot would involve Sora's group getting picked up by a bad group of aliens in space with the Guardians rescuing them by accident as they were already in pursuit of the ship. It’s similar to the Birth by Sleep world based on Lilo and Stitch admittedly, but it’s a good draft at least.
14 Worst: Treasure Planet
Treasure Planet is a terrible implementation of the space adventure concept. The plot is a retelling of the classic novel, Treasure Island, but with space pirates instead seafaring ones. The idea for that movie was sound, and there are parts of it that I enjoyed (like the animation), but it kind of follows the book’s key points too closely and in doing so is predictable and is not an interesting enough twist to put everything in space. I understand that’s a weird nitpick to point out, but I didn’t see that many fans of that movie anyway so I’m not too worried about any backlash. We’ve seen enough literal pirates in Kingdom Hearts, between Captain Hook and Jack Sparrow, so let’s put that motif to rest.
13 Best: DuckTales
Speaking of ducks, it's about time Donald's species was properly represented in Kingdom Hearts. It's not just Donald either, but his nephews, Scrooge, and Daisy. All of them have been in the series for a long time now, but always as background characters. I would love to see an entire world based on all of the great Disney Afternoon cartoons. Any chance to show Goofy, from Goof Troop, some love, or put Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers' back in the limelight. Still, if we had to pick one: honing down into Duckburg, would be the best possible choice. Maybe even Darkwing Duck could make an appearance too, as I predict one of the overall themes of Kingdom Hearts III will emphasize superheroes of some sort. In that it vein, maybe Donald could become his alter ego of the Duck Avenger. So many ducks, so little time.
12 Worst: The Sword In The Stone
The tale of King Arthur is one of legend, and it’s been retold a thousand times over. In fact, a new movie is about to release in theaters soon, and I couldn’t be any less excited about it. While there have been some interesting takes such as The Sword in the Stone, I think the overall plot is a bit drab for Kingdom Hearts. The best parts revolve around Merlin’s fight with his rival Madam Mim. Other than that, (even having watched it numerous times) I can’t think of any other scene that stands out. Merlin has already appeared in Kingdom Hearts, so there is already a way in for this movie to be included. However, Tangled has been confirmed for Kingdom Hearts III, and that’s basically medieval fantasy so two worlds based on this genre would be over doing it.
11 Best: Gravity Falls
Going back to Disney cartoons, one of the greatest series to debut since the Disney Afternoon’s heyday is Gravity Falls. It is essentially a kid version of The X-Files, but not dumbed downed, with plenty of jokes for all ages. It’s criminally underrated as most people probably passed it by since it was a cartoon, but again it offers more than a childish romp. Fun fact! If this did become a world, it would place Sora’s group in their first United States excursion as the show takes place in Portland, Oregon. Did that just blow your mind? I didn’t think of it until I was compiling this list, but yeah, most movies the series has ventured in are European or fantasy based in nature. Big Hero 6’s San Fransokyo would also pit them in the U.S., but my point still stands clear.
10 Worst: Alice In Wonderland (Live Action)
Some of the most off-putting worlds in the Kingdom Hearts series have been the ones based off of live-action movies. Even though the original characters are Japanese —and in turn are more inspired by anime than traditional Western cartoons— they still look good next to Disney humans like Snow White, or Aladdin. The Tron and Pirates of the Caribbean realistic humans look janky by comparison, though. That said, since Kingdom Hearts II there has been a steady rise of live action remakes like Alice in Wonderland. This entry should really be called every live action remake, but I narrowed it down to
This entry should really be called: every live action remake, but I narrowed it down to Alice in Wonderland since I blame this terrible trend on it. Aside from that, the original cartoon of Alice in Wonderland isn’t that good either, so like my notion on pirates, let’s put Alice to bed.
9 Best: The Haunted Mansion
Disney doesn’t have much horror-related media, except for The Nightmare Before Christmas, which is one of my favorite worlds since it turned the cute happy trio into monsters. Plus, that’s one of my all-time favorite musicals. Anyway, the only other significant spooky property I can think of is The Haunted Mansion attraction at Disney’s theme parks. The ride would be an interesting world to explore, but it would also make sense thematically for this game. The plot for Kingdom Hearts III revolves around Sora’s group finding Keyblade wielders, to help in their plight against Xehanort. Traveling to a realm that gathers the dead would be a good place for them to learn the secrets concerning many mysteries surrounding the lore behind Kingdom Hearts. Talking to a ghost to solve these puzzles may be a cop-out, but if it worked for Star Wars, it could work here. Plus, Zero is a ghost dog, so it’s not like ghosts don’t exist in this universe already.
8 Worst: Cars
There has yet to be a Pixar world in Kingdom Hearts, or even a reference. Woody and Buzz were planned in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix as summons, but these plans were eventually scrapped. That’s the closest we’ve gotten. That said, it would be a terrible shame if the first Pixar movie to grace this series were Cars. It's one of the most popular movies they’ve released, somehow, but they just don't appeal to me. A story about anthropomorphic cars is just creepy, and watching Sora and the others get transformed into cars would be even more horrific than The Nightmare Before Christmas, and The Haunted Mansion combined. I’d be okay if Cars were including for a racing mini-game, but that’s all.
7 Best: Toy Story
The Pixar movie that should be the studios' debut, is Toy Story (for many obvious reasons). For one, it was Pixar’s first major film so including that would be on the same tier as Mickey’s Steamboat Willie stuff in Kingdom Hearst II. It’s important to show origins, plus the team clearly wanted to have characters from Toy Story at some point, so why not expand those ideas into a world. What if Sora has to return home to
What if Sora has to return home to Destiny Islands, at some point, for his family, let’s say? In case that’s also blowing your mind, yes, Sora is shown in his room before he is whisked away on his adventure and his mom even speaks. Why hasn’t he brought up his family before? Long winded story aside, Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the Toy Story gang could be Sora’s childhood toys. This world could serve as an alternate reality similar to how Winnie the Pooh has been handled up to this point. Boom. Nailed it.
6 Worst: Frozen
Everyone is sick of Frozen; Another film that is beyond popular to a fault. Unlike Cars, I actually like this movie, or should I say I did like it, but the fatigue of its promotion has been exhausting from all the toys, its inclusion on the Once Upon a Time show, and, of course, the music. It's an awful joke to dredge up, but for God’s sake Let. It. Go. Again, yes this is a groundbreaking movie —Disney is on top of things again— but the excitement over it is mind-boggling. I’m not an eight-year-old girl though, so what do I know. As for Kingdom Hearts, it would be cool to have a proper ice level for once, and its inclusion would probably help sales, but that’s where my enthusiasm ends. I’m so torn!
5 Best: Zootopia
The most modern Disney film I want represented is Zootopia. It could be the game’s big technical showpiece, as one of the biggest complaints I have with the series is the emptiness of the worlds. Vast yes, but no one is walking around except for a handful of NPCs and dozens of heartless. It may push the boundaries since the game has to render multiple environments, but it would be amazing to see the team actually pull it off.
Racist undertones and a government conspiracy would be a weird set of themes to throw into Kingdom Hearts, so I’m not sure what the plot could revolve around, but that doesn’t really matter to me. I just want to see a living, breathing city in Kingdom Hearts. Maybe that’s why it’s taking so long.
4 Worst: The Lone Ranger
Westerns are one of my favorite genres of film, and there's not enough of it in video games currently, except for the upcoming sure-to-be-masterpiece Red Dead Redemption 2. As much as I'd love to see Sora and the gang dress up like Cowboys fighting Wild West themed heartless with like a gun infused Keyblade, this film just left a poor taste in my mouth. It had its moments, but it was overall boring. That's not to say Square Enix couldn't jazz it up for this game, but ultimately, I go back to what I said about the live action remakes. The human characters would just look too out of place. I’ll have to get my rootin' tootin' Sora needs elsewhere.
3 Best: The Muppets
I'm not exactly sure how this could be tied together, but boy do I love me some Muppets. Their two-movie revival was amazing, but the show got rightfully canceled for trying to be too “smart” for its own good (I don’t want to think about Fozzie Bear getting intimate with Riki Lindhome, thank you). Anyway, these not quite a mop and not quite a puppet characters deserve better, especially in the video game realm.
Creating a world based on RPG battles, and platforming wouldn't work for The Muppets property. So here's my pitch: In Kingdom Hearts II, The Little Mermaid made a reprisal in the form of rhythm based mini-games, with both new songs and old ones from the movie. Let's just do that, but with Muppet songs new and old, like The Rainbow Connection and Life’s a Happy Song. Throw up your arms and shout a loud yaaaay!
2 Worst: The Jungle Book
No, not another live-action movie, but the original animated film. I recall watching it a lot as a kid, and it has a great set of songs, but the overall plot is kind of dull and boring like others on this list. The older films are of a certain era, so it’s a weird generation gap with me, I’m sure. Why bring it up even then?
Well, Birth By Sleep had several levels in the game’s code, but like Toy Story, it was seemingly scrapped at the last second. If you know your way around debugging games, it is possible to try these levels out if you’re curious, or you can just watch them in action. Hopefully it’s the only Jungle Book stuff you’ll be playing, or watching in the near future.
1 Best: Wreck-It Ralph
Kingdom Hearts is to Disney as Wreck-It Ralph is to video games. They’re both ensemble media projects with their own voice and cast of characters with the backbone represented by classics. Imagine if we could not only get Ralph and the gang in here, but Bowser, Zangief, and some of the other video game stars too. It would be a licensing nightmare, so the latter probably won’t happened. Still, having an arcade with a random mini-games that sucked Sora into Ralph’s video game world would be fascinating. He’s already been sucked into a computer via Tron so getting the same treatment inside an arcade machine wouldn’t be that farfetched really.
Going around pummeling Heartless with Ralph by your side would be just as cool as having the Hulk except goofier. Wreck it, Wreck-It Sora as fast as you can!