Kingdom Hearts is a video game series that follows the adventures of a boy who travels between Disney worlds to defend them against darkness. Star Wars is a movie series about the war against the evil Empire in a galaxy far far away. Strangely enough, they’re a lot more similar to each other than you’d first think.
For starters, both franchises have their characters travel to different worlds and even have spaceship battles between said worlds. In Star Wars, these different worlds are planets like Tatooine, Hoth, and Kashyyyk. In Kingdom Hearts, they’re the various Disney worlds like Agrabah and Wonderland. Sora pilots the Gummi Ship into combat on his way to various worlds like Han Solo in the Millennium Falcon.
Both franchises focus on groups of warriors with mystical powers who fight with a blade that is unique to their group. In Kingdom Hearts, Keyblade wielders like Sora, Riku, Aqua, and others use magic to heal, shoot fire, freeze their foes, permanently lock or unlock doors, and much more. Star Wars features the Jedi who fight with lightsabers and are able to use the Force to push and pull objects from a distance, perform mind tricks, and even sense events that occur and the emotions of those around them. In both cases, Jedi and Keyblade wielders are able to rise to the rank of “Master” after proving themselves.
Which franchise is about the light side fighting against the powers of the dark side? The answer is both! The villains in Kingdom Hearts wish to harness the powers of darkness to reshape the worlds the way they see fit. The Sith in Star Wars have mastered the dark side of the force to make themselves more powerful. In both cases, it’s up to the light, whether it be the power of light that Sora uses or the light side of the force, to put a stop to them.
Oddly enough, both series also focus on finding balance between the light and the dark rather than having one completely triumph over the other. Sora and Riku have a notable conversation about how there can’t be light without dark, and that because there needs to be both, they can choose to be the dark. Star Wars contains a prophecy about a Skywalker bringing balance to the force.
Riku, one of the central characters of Kingdom Hearts, dabbles with the power of darkness before returning to the light and eventually mastering both. The same essentially happens with Ben Solo/Kylo Ren, and Anakin Skywalker has a similar path but completely turns to the dark side instead. All three are major characters who have walked the line between light and dark.
During the early scenes of the original Star Wars, the Empire destroys a planet known as Alderaan. In one of the earliest scenes in the original Kingdom Hearts, the Destiny Islands (Sora’s home world) is devoured by darkness. The First Order would go on to destroy even more planets in the later Star Wars films, and much of Kingdom Hearts is centered on preventing darkness from taking more worlds. World-ending is a pretty big threat and theme in both series.
The Empire falls at the end of the original Star Wars trilogy for it to be rebuilt as the First Order later on. Similarly, Organization XIII is taken down during the events of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts 2, but Xehanort simply rebuilds the “true” Organization XIII in Kingdom Hearts 3. In both franchises, the villain groups are defeated only to rise again.
Kingdom Hearts and Star Wars are two very different franchises, but they are a lot more similar than anyone would think. They both focus on warriors with a special type of sword that use mystical powers to uphold the balance between the light and the dark while traveling to different worlds. It wouldn’t be much of a surprise to discover that Star Wars was a bit of an influence for Kingdom Hearts.