There’s been speculation regarding which worlds we’ll see return in Square Enix’s in-development Kingdom Hearts III since its announcement during E3 2013. In the eight-year hiatus of the Kingdom Hearts franchise, Disney has released new films and acquired two big franchises, Marvel and Lucasfilm. The automatic assumption is “Star Wars” and the “Avengers” will make an appearance in Kingdom Hearts III, but it doesn’t necessarily make sense in the Disney-Square Enix universe.
Let me set the scene: Sora wielding a lightsaber-inspired keyblade, flying around on an X-Wing instead of a Gummi Ship, Donald Duck dressed as Obi Wan Kenobi and Goofy as Chewbacca striking down Storm Troopers in the halls of the Death Star, attempting to hunt down Darth Vader, who is holding Princess of Heart Kairi hostage to draw in the crew.
Cool, right? The “Star Wars” scene being integrated into Kingdom Hearts isn’t the part I don’t see fit. The difficulty I see with Square Enix’s Disney inspired world is how the storyline would fit in. Yes, Sora and Luke Skywalker have a major similarity regarding their stories: they are trying to save the world from darkness. However, why would Sora need to visit Tatooine? What lies within the “Star Wars” universe that needs to be explored? There has to be a purpose as to why King Mickey, Sora or any other of the Disney/Square Enix characters want to travel into a new world.
Marvel super heroes appearing in a Disney-Square Enix universe are a little more difficult to imagine. At its very core, the Kingdom Hearts franchise consists of beloved Disney and Square Enix characters. Mickey Mouse is the ruler of the Disney Castle, the link to all the Disney Worlds. It isn’t believable that His Highness is an investor in Stark Industries. It’s already odd enough when you release a God, a genetically altered soldier and a billionaire genius into the same world.
Tetsuya Nomura, Square Enix game director, has admitted to wanting to add “Star Wars.” However, Nomura admitted there are rules and restriction in using the Marvel and “Star Wars” characters, which likely comes down to acquiring rights from the franchise, costing the developers money.
“When I heard the news, I was like ‘Wow! Wow!’ Yeah, obviously it’s going to be great if we could add it [in Kingdom Hearts III], but there are a lot of restrictions and rules by Disney. So we don’t know what’s going to happen, but yeah, we’ll see,” Nomura told the fansite Finaland.
And does the Kingdom Hearts universe really need to add more complexity to its storyline? There are 12 Kingdom Hearts titles and they all sort of parallel each other. Sora is asleep in one and awakens to search for his memories, Riku is evil then turns into the protector of Twilight, Roxas and Sora are connected and share the same emotions, Kairi is saved by Sora and then is stripped of her memories and then recovers them…and they’re still teenagers…and that explanation isn’t even scratching the surface.
Think of all the Disney animated films that have come out. A world based around Elsa and Anna’s story in “Frozen” or a “Brave” inspired bow and arrow keyblade. Kingdom Hearts can also feature the under water world featuring “Finding Nemo” that can be tied into Ariel’s Atlantica. There is also Pixar’s hit film Wreck-It-Ralph that ties into the story of classic video game characters, not to mention all the possibilities of a “Toy Story”-inspired world. Throwing in Marvel and “Star Wars” characters in a Disney-Square Enix world can easily result in an overload of cameos, taking away from the return of the Kingdom Hearts franchise.
It’s been eight years since the release of Kingdom Hearts II. Sora and I were about the same age at 15-years-old. Gamers who played the core Kingdom Hearts games are now adults and are deserving of a more mature storyline with well-thought out placement of the worlds.