It’s been 10 years since Sora last picked up the Keyblade in a proper Kingdom Hearts title, and quite a lot has changed in the great House of Mouse since then. The Japanese game series pits original characters alongside existing ones from Disney films and Final Fantasy video games against the Heartless forces of darkness—I know it sounds crazy, but trust me, it’s awesome—and now that Disney owns Star Wars and Marvel and more, there are endless new possibilities.
Disney has announced that more Kingdom Hearts 3 details will be revealed at D23 Expo 2015—the Disney-backed fan convention that’ll be held in Anaheim, California on August 16—but before that, I wanted to put together a wishlist of worlds that should join in the fun.
10. ’TOY STORY’
Pixar’s fair game now, baby. And if there’s any Pixar movie that deserves to be in KH, it’s the lovely toy-filled world where the magic all started.
Perhaps Sora gets transformed into a toy. Maybe Buzz and Woody join the Heartless-fighting team. Or maybe you ride on the back of RC while the Heartless try to drain your batteries and Emperor Zurg pummels you with laser fire. Either way, it’s long past time for Sora to go to infinity—and beyond!
9. ’STAR WARS’
The Force is strong with this one. With Star Wars under Mickey’s ownership, there’s a whole galaxy of possibilities. There seems to be a lot of resistance to this idea from hardcore KH fans, but they’re wrong. The fantastical space setting of Star Wars fits quite well with the already established KH universe. It’s a no brainer. Star Wars has also been a part of the Disney parks experience for years, and with both Tron and Pirates of the Caribbean in past games, the precedence for live action, non-classic-Disney properties is there. It’s a good fit. Deal with it.
While Disney may focus on the newer adventures, I vote for a more classic approach. The best bet: Keep it simple, and add in either one planet—or one movie—as a world. C’mon! Look me in the eyes and tell me a lightsaber Keyblade wouldn’t be bad ass.
We already know that Marvel isn’t off limits for Kingdom Hearts, but with so many properties, it’s tricky to pinpoint exactly what may be picked. I don’t think we’ll see Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy worlds (And Fantastic Four? Not with those box office numbers) as they could get really convoluted, really fast.
A more simple, but crazy, implementation may work: Disney can’t touch the X-Men movie rights, but they could be sneaky and throw them into KH. It means we wouldn’t get Avengers media overkill, and Scarlet Witch’s reality-warping powers could wreak some havoc for Sora and company. But then again, Chris Pratt has been everywhere recently, and with the magic of Disney, anything is possible.
7. ‘SWORD IN THE STONE’
“But Merlin is already in Kingdom Hearts, Willie. We don’t need a Sword in the Stone world, too.”
Yes, we do. Just imagine a medieval world: knights, dragons, castles, and, of course, the pompous Madam Mim. It could tie into the lore, giving us background into Merlin’s KH affairs. And it’s the closest to Game Of Thrones we can get with Disney, so I’m going to push for it.
6. ‘ATLANTIS: THE LOST EMPIRE’
Atlantis? Am I crazy? Maybe. Sure, Disney scrapped plans for the theme-park ride based on the film, but the movie is just ripe for Kingdom Hearts-ynergy (phrase patent pending).
Just imagine swimming underwater and getting ambushed by the giant Leviathan. Or a keyblade brimming with Atlantian technology? That’s some swag. Either way, this is my list, not yours, so Atlantis is going to stick. Sorry, Nemo, but I’d rather swim with Milo.
5. ‘WRECK-IT RALPH’
Bringing in Ralph and Felix could get a little meta—it’s a video-game world based on a movie based on video-game worlds—but that only makes it more exciting. KH is a game already about worlds within worlds, so we might as well go as deep as we can get. Make a portion of the world 8-bit, and gamers’ hearts would actually soar.
Also, while this might be cheating by extension, it could (though highly unlikely) make an excuse for other video-game characters outside of Disney and Final Fantasy to make an appearance.
4. ‘LILO & STITCH’
Some people may have grown sick of Experiment 626, but even though Stitch has been present in past KH games, that doesn’t mean an expanded role isn’t needed. The more Stitch, the better. Stitch-mania has cooled down, so it’s an even more perfect time for the little rascal to get his own world without it feeling like Disney is forcing the character on us.
Make it a mash-up world: Half sunny, Hawaiian island, the other half frantic space shootouts. I’m sold.
3. ‘FINAL FANTASY TACTICS’
There’s one specific Final Fantasy title that’s near and dear to my heart, and, no, it isn’t the snowball-throwing Game Boy Advance version I’m talking about here. Let’s dive into The War of the Lions, where corrupt demon-controller people are trying to bring about the end of the world.
It sounds familiar enough, and who’s to say that any of those people aren’t being manipulated by the Heartless? Maybe it wouldn’t have to be its own world, but at least give me some Ramza action.
2. ‘EPIC MICKEY’
This one is probably the biggest long shot, with Junction Point Studios closed and Disney moving away from Epic Mickey titles to focus on other properties, such as Disney Infinity, but the original Epic Mickey was filled with great ideas and callbacks to forgotten Disney properties.
Think of it as a more modern version of the Timeless River, but focusing on films past the black-and-white era. It would also be a great way for Disney to welcome Oswald into the KH fold, so it can get more use out of the lucky little rabbit after buying the rights to him back. And face it, some version of the blot—be it The Phantom Blot or the Shadow Blot—could make a perfect KH boss.
This one isn’t a “want” necessarily as much as it is an inevitability. Given the unstoppable behemoth that Frozen has become, it doesn’t seem to be a question of whether Elsa and Anna will make a guest appearance, but how they do.
Perhaps the frozen heart idea will be reworked into the Heartless mythos, but either way, I think KH fans are going to have to Let It Go: Some existence of Frozen seems almost guaranteed.
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