Kingdom Hearts is one of the most beloved video game series ever. It began in 2002 and contains roughly a dozen games. 2019’s Kingdom Hearts III marked the end of what is now called the “Dark Seeker Saga.” Before the game’s release, fans assumed that this would be the end of the long-running story. Since we now know there will eventually be new additions to the Kingdom Hearts series, where does the story go from here?
(This article contains spoilers for Kingdom Hearts III)
Let’s look at how Kingdom Hearts III ended. Xehanort and Organization XIII were defeated once and for all. Lea, Roxas, and Xion were finally reunited. Aqua, Ventus, and Terra were all saved. No one is left to pull the strings of the Heartless or the Nobodies. Most of our main characters got to play on a beach together. Overall, there are quite a few happy endings achieved. Also, Sora totally died after he sacrificed himself to bring Kairi back from the afterlife. The series’ protagonist is no more, making this a bitter-sweet ending to a franchise that many fans grew up with.
That leads to the big question, what’s next? If this is the end of a saga and not the series, then there’s sure to be another saga of some sort. What could that next saga be and will it be as great? Kingdom Hearts III also leaves us with some teases of what’s to come, but it’s not quite clear how any of it will play out or affect the series itself.
The first and most notable tease involves Maleficent, who serves as the primary Disney villain of the series, and her right-hand man Pete. Despite being major players in the previous games, they don’t get a whole lot of the spotlight in Kingdom Hearts III. They play a surprisingly minor role in the cutscenes and never join the battle like they do in their previous appearances. They only really exist in Kingdom Hearts III to talk about a mysterious black box they’re looking for. Sora and his friends never try to stop them from finding this box, Maleficent and Pete never find it themselves, and it’s never stated what’s in this box or what this box is for. We just know there is a black box and that Maleficent wants it.
This black box does make an appearance at the end of the game when Xigbar finds it and brings it to a strange group of individuals wearing animal masks. It’s a safe assumption that the story of this box will be heavily featured in the story of the next saga. It’s sad that major characters like Pete and Maleficent got sidelined just to introduce the McGuffin of the next saga, but hopefully it means they’ll return for this black box story. That brings us to our next open thread: who are these people in the animal masks and what are they up to?
Those who are truly invested in the rather complicated Kingdom Hearts lore would recognize these mysterious figures as the Foretellers. The Foretellers are Keyblade Masters who were introduced in Kingdom Hearts χ. This was a game that was only playable on web browsers for a couple of years and on iOS from then on. They also appear in Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover, which is a movie released as a part of Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue. In other words, if you’re someone who has only played the console and handheld games (which is most Kingdom Hearts fans), then you probably didn’t quite recognize them.
The Foretellers were tasked with creating Unions of Keyblade wielders in an attempt to prevent the Keyblade War from taking place. This means they were around long before the main-line Kingdom Hearts games took place. Where most people don’t know much about them, it’s strange to suddenly make them relevant at the end of the Dark Seeker Saga. Perhaps we’ll finally learn more about them in the next saga and find out more about who they are and what they’re up to. Maybe there is another Keyblade War on the horizon.
There are cutscenes in Kingdom Hearts III that also tease that Larxene, Marluxia, Luxord, and Demyx have ties to the Keyblade War and may have been worthy of wielding Keyblades before they became Nobodies. This is never brought up again after it’s mentioned, so perhaps we’ll see this go somewhere in the future. It almost seems like different sides are preparing for *something*, and that something might involve whatever is in that black box.
The secret unlockable ending of Kingdom Hearts III shows Sora waking up in Shibuya in Tokyo, which is used as the setting for the video game The World Ends With You, also created by Square Enix. This could mean that he’s still alive and was teleported to a different world somehow, or that he’s dreaming as he drifts off into the afterlife. Riku then wakes up in Insomnia from Final Fantasy XV. Kingdom Hearts has explored the worlds of Final Fantasy before, so it makes sense that this would be possible.
In this strange secret ending, we also see the Master of Masters, who trained the Foretellers, and a character known as Yozora, who was introduced as the protagonist in Rex’s video game in the Toy Story world. What could this all mean? Will Yozora be the playable protagonist in the next Kingdom Hearts saga? Will we play as Riku traveling from world to world looking for Sora? Will the next saga be more Final Fantasy focused and less Disney focused? If that’s the case, hopefully Disney is still present in the games to an extent since it’s been one of the biggest draws of the series and there are still Disney worlds left to explore.
There definitely appears to be a world of possibilities of where this next saga of Kingdom Hearts can go. Unfortunately for now, we’re left with a handful of vague and rather confusing teases to speculate over for what will likely be way too many years until the release of the next game. Let’s hope that the wait isn’t too long so we can finally get the answers we crave.