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Darth Vader from Disney Infinity in the middle of a snowy Hoth battle scene.

The Perfect Way to Bring Star Wars to Kingdom Hearts

Ever since the KINGDOM HEARTS IV announcement trailer, fans have been losing their minds speculating about Star Wars coming to KINGDOM HEARTS. The part of the trailer with the beautiful, realistic forest supposedly contains a droid foot just barely peeking in at the top of the scene.

At first I thought it was just a rock, a very droid-foot-shaped rock. After seeing this video comparing the rock with the droid foot, I was convinced.

I think we can safely say Sora has a lightsaber Keyblade in his future.

Fans have been dreaming of a lightsaber Keyblade for nearly a decade.

With Star Wars in KINGDOM HEARTS seemingly inevitable, I wanted to revisit a video I made last year called “The Perfect Way to Bring Star Wars to Kingdom Hearts.” I’ve adapted it for writing and made a few minor changes, but I tried to keep in as much of my original mindset as possible, despite recent droid foot developments.

If the droid-foot-shaped rock is not just a droid-foot-shaped rock but a sign of what’s to come, here’s one way Star Wars in KINGDOM HEARTS could come to pass.

Sora gazing up at the night sky while standing at the crossroads from Chain of Memories.

A boy discovers that he has a mysterious, supernatural power. Once there were hundreds, if not thousands of people with this same power, but a betrayal and a catastrophe mostly wiped them out. There are pockets of people who survived and still practice this ancient art, but they’re so few and far between that their existence has slipped into legend.

The world consists of light and darkness, and there are those who would love nothing more than to tip the balance in darkness’ favor. Our hero must team up with his friends and use his newfound power to defeat darkness and bring balance back to the world.

This is the story of Star Wars.

I don’t think I have to convince anyone that Nomura is a huge fan of Star Wars, or at least hugely inspired by it in KINGDOM HEARTS. The similarities speak for themselves, but he kind of took it to new heights when he chose Mark Hammil to play Master Eraqus, claiming he “wanted to be a bit playful” with the casting for Birth by Sleep. This man wants us to know that he loves Star Wars.

Imagine his amazement when Disney acquired the Star Wars franchise in 2013. Ever since then, KINGDOM HEARTS fans have wondered if Sora and friends will ever get to do battle against the empire, have space battles with their Gummi Ship vs. a TIE fighter, do battle with Darth Vader.

Darth Vader from Disney Infinity in the middle of a snowy Hoth battle scene.
Personally I don’t think they should do battle with Darth Vader because I think Sora would die, but that’s just my personal opinion.

Star Wars and KINGDOM HEARTS have so many similar themes and concepts that it’s not that hard to imagine them coexisting. I can totally imagine Sora having a really serious heart-to-heart with a Jedi about light and darkness, how they need to exist in balance, and the Jedi being like, “I know, right? Preach it, brother.” The Keyblade is like a weird combination of a lightsaber and the Force.

The KINGDOM HEARTS writers would have plenty of opportunity to seamlessly and naturally insert Star Wars into the KINGDOM HEARTS universe. There would be many paths to choose from, but there’s one path that’s the perfect path.

The perfect way to get Star Wars into KINGDOM HEARTS is through Riku, and I’m not just saying that because he’s handsome and amazing.

Riku looking handsome and amazing and sort of scowling but he's always like that.
Though he is quite handsome and amazing, that’s unfortunately not the point of this post.

Riku truly is the perfect bridge between KINGDOM HEARTS and Star Wars, and I say that because of Deep Dive.

How is Riku able to do battle with Roxas, much less defeat him, while wearing a blindfold? How is he able to get around and live his life while wearing a blindfold?

They’ve never given a decent explanation for why Riku wears the blindfold, and they’ve given even less explanation for how Riku is able to find that building, climb to the top of the building, jump from the building, catch a Keyblade out of midair, land flawlessly at the bottom of the building, slay some Heartless, and then hold his own in a battle against Roxas, all while wearing a blindfold.

Not even KINGDOM HEARTS, which provides explanations for the most seemingly insignificant details, has a logical explanation for this madness, but there is an explanation from Star Wars that I would accept without hesitation—Riku has the Force. He’s had it this whole time and he just doesn’t realize. That would explain why he’s able to see while wearing the blindfold, why he’s so good at everything. He has an unfair advantage. He has the Force.

How did Riku know Joshua was standing behind him without turning around?! The Force.

I’m not saying Riku’s strange abilities in these moments were originally planned to be the Force, but the KINGDOM HEARTS team could retroactively say it was the Force all along and it would be totally believable.

It would be like in Star Wars Rebels, which starts out with this kid who clearly has the Force and doesn’t know. He’s able to jump really high, do amazing acrobatics and randomly sense things, but he doesn’t realize he’s using the Force because he’s never met any Jedi or had any training. The audience knows it’s the Force right away because this is Star Wars, and you know the Force is going to show up at some point.

A group shot of the main characters from Star Wars Rebels.
A great show that I discovered years after it was already over. It has a very enthusiastic fanbase. I highly recommend it.

If KINGDOM HEARTS were to take a similar approach with Riku, the Force could hide in plain sight. The audience wouldn’t necessarily expect the Force to show up among the original KINGDOM HEARTS cast, but some of the things we do expect to show up in KINGDOM HEARTS look a lot like the Force.

KINGDOM HEARTS characters have a history of amazing acrobatics and randomly sensing things for no reason. If Riku began to mysteriously sense something unknown and the story didn’t give a reason for it right away, that wouldn’t seem weird or out of place at all. That’s par for the course in KINGDOM HEARTS.

Four quadrants with different scenes of characters randomly sensing things: 1. Sora holding the picture of Roxas and knowing his name 2. Riku kneeling on the ground as he's getting beaten by Roxas and hearing Xion's voice 3. Terra staring intently at young Riku who is off screen 4. Kairi holding her head while suddenly connecting with Roxas' heart in KH2
Sora sensing Roxas’ name, Riku sensing Xion’s voice, Terra sensing Riku’s future and Kairi sensing Roxas’ mental breakdown. Some of these eventually get explained, but in the moment they’re very mysterious.

It could fly under the radar as the usual “hearts connected” stuff right up until the reveal. We wouldn’t suspect anything until Obi-Wan or someone showed up and said, “Hey, you’re strong in the Force, my boy.”

Thus we would finally have an explanation for why Riku is apparently able to see while wearing a blindfold. Honestly, that’s the whole reason I thought of this. I’ve wondered about this for years.

Seriously, how is he doing this? How?! It’s the Force. That’s the only logical explanation.

This is the way KINGDOM HEARTS could open the door to Star Wars.

If Star Wars really does come to KINGDOM HEARTS, it’ll have a uniquely astronomical amount of source material to draw from. How would they condense the vast universe of Star Wars into a single world? Would Sora and friends go to a single planet? Which planet? Would a world consist of multiple planets? Most importantly, which time period would the world take place in? That would be a tough decision.

I think it would work best if they skipped the world and just let some Star Wars characters and elements exist in the KINGDOM HEARTS universe, sort of like how they handle the FINAL FANTASY characters. The Star Wars characters wouldn’t need to have the exact same backstory and circumstances as their movies. It could be the essence of them, the essence of their stories.

Yuffie introducing Sora to the headquarters for the Hollow Bastion Restoration Committee in KH2 with the subtitle, "Meet the Hollow Bastion Restoration Committee!"
Leon, Aerith, Yuffie and Cid in another life where they do community outreach out of the home of a crazy Disney wizard.

I used to think that Star Wars coming to KINGDOM HEARTS would be kind of stupid, like a jump-the-shark type of moment. I thought it would feel forced, that it wouldn’t fit in with the rest of KINGDOM HEARTS.

I’ve come to realize that none of KINGDOM HEARTS fits with itself. It’s this amazing combination of things that should not go together, and yet by the power of Disney magic, FINAL FANTASY flair and sheer force of will, this combination of things refuses not to hold itself together. KINGDOM HEARTS carries on telling its story no matter what just happened. It forces you to believe in itself, and you do.

So if Star Wars comes to KINGDOM HEARTS, no matter what happens, no matter how Sora ends up in a galaxy far, far away, the sheer power of KINGDOM HEARTS will make it work. I have faith in Sora’s uncanny ability to make friends with anyone and blend in literally anywhere.

My only hangup is the idea of poor Sora having to do battle with Darth Vader or any other Sith Lord. I know he’s magical and everything, but without the Force, can he stop any Force-wielder from Force-choking him? From Force-imploding his little body? I truly don’t know. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

The original “The Perfect Way to Bring Star Wars to Kingdom Hearts.”

When I originally posted this video, we didn’t have any inkling that Star Wars might be coming to KINGDOM HEARTS. What we did know was that Lucasfilm Games was gearing up to start making Star Wars games with developers other than EA. If KINGDOM HEARTS was ever going to include Star Wars, I thought we’d start hearing about it in the coming years, during the twilight years of EA’s exclusivity deal. If the next KH game didn’t include Star Wars, that must mean Nomura, Disney, and SQURE ENIX had no desire to put it in.

Flash forward a year later and we have a KINGDOM HEARTS IV trailer with a suspicious droid-foot-shaped rock. Although there’s been no official confirmation that Star Wars will come to KINGDOM HEARTS, this “rock” has caused speculation to run wild.

The scene from the Kingdom Hearts 4 announcement trailer showing a realistic forest. A droid foot from Star Wars is allegedly in the upper right corner.
There is what appears to be a droid foot at the upper right of this scene.

People talk about this like it’s a leak, but I don’t think this could have possibly been an accident. If you’re Nomura and you want to secretly include the Star Wars forest in the KH4 announcement trailer, you’re not going to let a droid foot slip by. You know how this scene goes. You know where the droids are. The clips are reasonably short enough to go frame-by-frame to make sure you didn’t miss anything. I truly believe the droid-foot scene was intentionally included in the trailer. I can’t imagine how it could have gotten in there by accident.

Granted, there was the time they had to take down that KH3 Final Battle trailer for accidentally including Ventus, so I could be totally wrong about this. I apologize if it turns out it was a complete accident and we find out it caused panic and pandemonium at Team KH headquarters. For the sake of Nomura’s sanity and anyone who would be out of a job if this was a mistake, I hope it was on purpose.

I used to think that if Star Wars ever came to KINGDOM HEARTS, it would be in a smaller capacity the first time. That way it wouldn’t necessarily need to be in the advertising and it could be a surprise for players.

This was my wishful thinking talking. I realize now that SQUARE ENIX would never pass up the opportunity for commercials and advertising to be like, “STAR WARS IS IN KINGDOM HEARTS! REPEAT, WE HAVE STAR WARS IN KINGDOM HEARTS IV!!”

Based on what we’ve seen so far, it looks like the Star Wars portion won’t be just a few characters and elements from the Star Wars universe, but a fully explorable world. That sounds amazing and beautiful, but I have no idea how KINGDOM HEARTS will handle the Star Wars timeline.

They could just pick a time period and go with it, but I would love to see them use Star Wars the same way they use FINAL FANTASY. Let Luke and Leia be teenagers while Obi-Wan is a young man. Let Darth Vader be a KH2!Sephiroth to Obi-Wan’s Cloud. Let Rey, Finn and Poe be some random hooligan children causing mischief. For the love of Mickey, please let Jar Jar be in the game. I love Jar Jar! Let Goofy and Jar Jar vibe.

Most importantly, let KINGDOM HEARTS and Star Wars lore live and breathe together in a meaningful way—let Riku have the Force. In my original video, I said they should give Riku the Force because it would be really believable and an effective bridge between Star Wars and KINGDOM HEARTS, and I still believe that more than ever.

To be honest, I still haven’t gotten over the blindfold thing, even all these years after KINGDOM HEARTS II. Maybe Star Wars in KINGDOM HEARTS will finally be the opportunity to explain how Riku is able to see without his sight. Or maybe Riku’s blindfolded acrobatics will forever be a wild and unexplained thing that happened that one time.

Either way, I will be happy to see Star Wars take its place as one of the many Disney movies of KINGDOM HEARTS. The part I’m most excited for? That lightsaber Keyblade. I’m sure it’ll look amazing, and it’ll make any scene where Sora puts his hand on the Keyblade hilarious. I can’t wait.

star wars, riku, kingdom hearts theory, kh4


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