Since the glorious announcement that Kingdom Hearts III would (finally) be arriving in 2018, Square Enix has unveiled a significant amount of details covering what fans can expect from the final chapter of the Xehanort saga. We’ll see the triumphant return of Sora, Donald, and Goofy, fitted with fresh abilities and a new quest to gather the Guardians of Light to take down the Seekers of Darkness. Of course, they’ll have plenty of worlds to explore, with a handful already confirmed, including the first Pixar-themed areas: Toy Story and Monsters, Inc. But what about the places that haven’t been unveiled?
As a loud and proud mega-fan of the franchise—yes, I own a Keyblade—I have my suspicions of the additional worlds that will be included in the final release of the game. However, I also have my dream spots and the worlds that, according to the narrative themes Kingdom Hearts III will supposedly be tackling, should be incorporated. Here’s a curated list of the new and returning worlds I’d love to see.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for the entire series.
New: “This world has been connected. Tied to the darkness.”
While Square Enix has revealed a few of the upcoming worlds were featured in past entries, including Olympus Coliseum, Twilight Town, and Mysterious Tower, we also know some of the new areas. In addition to the Pixar worlds, players will also see worlds based on Tangled and Big Hero 6. With modern Disney movies in the running, there’s now a long list of possibilities to cover.
The Sword in the Stone
Let’s start with a classic that already has ties to the game series. The great wizard Merlin was one of the first characters to help Sora at the start of his journey to find Riku and Kairi. He then continued to appear in other worlds throughout the series to further aid the Keyblade wielders. However, a world based on The Sword in the Stone hasn’t been seen yet. Merlin’s repeated appearances in the series should earn him a chance to shine, and more importantly, the story from his Disney film would parallel nicely with the plot that’s been set up for Kingdom Hearts III.
The 1963 film follows the humble beginnings of a young King Arthur and his journey to discover his destiny. Along the way, he attempts to help his foster brother, Kay, become a knight, not realizing his own strength waiting to be unleashed. Sora’s journey has been similar, which would make him a great mentor to Arthur, especially when the boy is tasked with pulling the sword from the stone. Sora’s had to handle melee weapons for quite awhile, so he probably has some great tips.
The Great Mouse Detective
One of the most creative ways Square Enix has melded its original characters with Disney’s has been through Sora, Donald, and Goofy’s physical transformations. When visiting a world inhabited by characters that would be shocked to see a human, dog, and duck running around, such as Atlantica, our three heroes blended into the society by transforming into a native animal. We’ve even seen characters shrunken down to the size of a mouse in order to access new areas. Taking a cue from that concept, it would be fantastic to see Sora and his partners become tiny versions of themselves, with The Great Mouse Detective being the perfect playground.
Picture it: Sora, Donald, and Goofy arrive on the streets of London as mice, giving them the perfect disguise to get close to the titular mouse detective, Basil. As Kingdom Hearts III will answer many of the series’ lingering questions, Sora could learn the ins and outs of being a proper gumshoe. Plus, a fight against Basil’s nemesis, Ratigan, could take place on the baddie’s tiny airship.
James and the Giant Peach
Piggybacking off the transformation idea, another area that could turn Sora and his companions into never-before-seen creatures would be James and the Giant Peach. While the 1996 film’s mixture of live-action and stop-motion could be tricky to adapt to a game, Kingdom Hearts has previously transformed both filming styles into playable worlds. Halloweentown, based on the stop-motion animated film The Nightmare Before Christmas, has appeared several times in the series, as well as Tron and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl for live-action.
As a majority of the film takes place inside of the giant peach, the new world could be confined to the interior of the fruit, similar to the Monstro area in Kingdom Hearts. As James and his anthropomorphic bug friends head to New York, like they did in the movie, our heroes could appear just in time to help them defeat the ghosts that killed James’ parents. Sora, Donald, and Goofy could each become an insect, too, which would open up a lot of possibilities for different abilities and skills they could possess.
When you need to take down a big bad, there’s no better person to ask for help than a superhero. That’s right, Sora needs to join forces with the Parr family, better known as the Incredibles. If Sora’s going to lead the rest of the Guardians of Light to defeat Xehanort and his followers, he’s going to need some lessons on how to be a proper leader. Mr. and Mrs. Incredible would be great teachers, and even Donald could learn a few things from their super speedy son, Dash, since he’s always been slow to heal Sora.
Of course, Sora would also help out the family of superheroes as they take on their former fan turned enemy, Syndrome. While our main trio wouldn’t need a full transformation to fit into the world, a quick visit to Edna Mode could lead to Sora, Donald, and Goofy getting their own spiffy superhero duds.
Returning: “May our hearts be our guiding key.”
Kingdom Hearts may have began as a series that had one goal for players—defeat the Heartless and find your friends—but that has drastically changed. Beginning with the releases of Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, the plot has expanded into one about a centuries-long war to discover the connection between the light and the dark. With characters and themes constantly referring to the past, it’s important Kingdom Hearts III closes the door on several key worlds the Keyblade wielders have already visited.
Realm of Darkness
In the first game, Sora encountered the seven princesses of heart: Cinderella, Snow White, Belle, Alice, Aurora, Jasmine, and Kairi. Over the span of the series, many of the Keyblade wielders have visited their worlds. However, in the most recent entry in the series, Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage, it was revealed through Master Aqua’s journey that a majority of the princess-themed worlds had fallen into darkness. As Aqua is still trapped in the dark realm, searching for a way out of the Realm of Darkness, it’s time Sora found her and brought her into the light with the other Keyblade wielders.
Despite being one world, all of the aforementioned locations could be explored as one area. Sora needs one last look at the effects of Xehanort’s quest for power, and along the way, he can truly understand the sacrifices that all the Keyblade users before him had to make. Visually, it could be an intriguing concept, as Square Enix would be able to replicate the distorted versions of the Disney worlds they featured in A Fragmentary Passage. Sure, it would be a significantly large world to explore, but narratively, it would pack a punch.
While this world was mainly featured in Chain of Memories, it was revealed during Birth by Sleep that it was once the home of Master Eraqus, Aqua, Terra, and Ventus. Similar to Sora, Riku, and Kairi, the three would-be Keyblade wielders were forced to abandon their home to fight for the light and bring balance back to the worlds. After the dark turn of events that concluded Birth by Sleep, the trio’s home became a place of mystery and danger.
Now, a never-ending maze of hallways and staircases, there’s one specific area of the castle that needs to be uncovered. With Ven’s body buried deep within the catacombs of the castle and his heart resting inside of Sora, it’s time the fractured Keyblade wielder is made whole again.
While it has only appeared in one Kingdom Hearts game, Timeless River remains one of the most creative worlds the series has featured. In Kingdom Hearts II, Sora and his pals were forced to enter a magical gate made by Merlin in order to go back in time and foil a plan concocted by Pete. The world was in black and white, with the original versions of Mickey, known as Steamboat Willy, and his friends helping Sora track down his enemy. Not only would a return to Disney’s roots be fitting for the conclusion of this Kingdom Hearts saga, but it would also complement Xehanort’s use of time travel.
Time travel can be a difficult concept to get right, but the series has fully embraced it by bringing in Young Xehanort. The version of Xehanort from “the distant past” remains one of the most mysterious characters, which could make a journey to Timeless River a great spot to learn more about the time-traveling villain.
For a world that the series has showcased several times, Halloween Town would be a great pick from the list of recurring areas. Each time Sora, Donald, and Goofy traveled to the world inspired by The Nightmare Before Christmas, Square Enix found new ways to expand the world’s story, as well as change things up visually.
While the first Kingdom Hearts focused on Sora understanding Oogie Boogie’s plot to take over Halloween Town, Kingdom Hearts II let us journey to Christmas Town and engage with Sandy Claws. It would be amazing to see Sora and Jack jump into another holiday-themed town, such as Easter. Actually, Valentine’s Day would be a great place to parallel the importance of hearts. You know, ’cause the symbol for the holiday is a heart. Like the game.