What could the Kingdom Hearts 3 secret ending mean?

Square-Enix did something very interesting with the release of Kingdom Hearts 3, by patching in the secret ending later to be sure that it wouldn’t be leaked.

Well, today is the day we finally get to see it, and it’s cryptic as usual.

Let’s take a look.

SPOILERS FOR KH3 AHEAD! OBVIOUSLY.

In the ending of Kingdom Hearts 3, Sora is the only one who didn’t get to have a happy resolution. Everyone else is hanging out with friends on the Destiny Islands, except Sora, who apparently lost himself while bringing back Kairi from her unfortunate stabbing at the end of Kingdom Hearts 3.

First, let’s tackle the issue of just where Sora and Riku are. Both Sora and Riku seem to be traveling worlds themed off modern day civilization, but it’s important to note that they aren’t in the same world. Sora’s world is bright and neon while Riku’s world is softer and muted with more blue tones. You could argue that they are both part of the same world, but we are actually familiar with both, and they undoubtedly are not the same world.

The first world, Sora’s world, is Shibuya from The World Ends With You. We can tell from the 104 building and the crossing that it is in, a staple landmark in the TWEWY world. Characters from this beloved DS RPG (recently remade for the Switch) showed up in Dream Drop Distance, and alluded to the fact that Sora would see them again. However, it’s worth noting that the TWEWY characters showed up in Traverse Town, not in Shibuya. It’s also worth noting that we have never seen Shibuya at night, even in TWEWY.

It’s also worth noting that Sora wakes up in the same place and in a similar way to Neku from The World Ends With You. More spoilers incoming, Neku and his compatriots are dead in TWEWY and are stuck in a reality parallel to the real world called the Underground (or UG). At the end of Kingdom Hearts 3, Mickey says that Sora could “lose himself” if he goes searching for Kairi again, and sure enough in the ending cutscene Kairi is around but Sora isn’t. Additionally, Sora canonically appears to slip close to the realm of death every time he goes to sleep, according to the scenes with Chirithy in The Final World.

Conclusion? I think this is Nomura’s way of signaling that Sora is dead. However, if Kingdom Hearts and TWEWY have proven anything, it’s that death is reversible. Perhaps this means that Sora will have to play the Reaper’s Game to get a second chance at life.

What about Riku?

Riku appears to be in the world of Verum Rex, a video game world loosely based on Final Fantasy Versus XIII. (We actually reviewed it and many other games from the Kingdom Hearts universe.) We know this because we briefly see Yozora, the main character of the series, sitting on top of a building as Riku walks past.

This reveals a few things. First, it shows that works of fiction in the KH universe may have their own worlds. In a way, this makes sense, as Sora was able to travel both to the hundred acre wood via it’s book, and to the video game world of Verum Rex when Young Xehanort throws him into a monitor during the Toy Box world, but those could have been explained away with magic. Now it appears that literally, any work of media has a joining world, and that is likely important.

Second, it reveals that whatever the next Kingdom Hearts game may be, it’s central theme might be video games. It’s clear that the cast of Kingdom Hearts has long separated themselves from the general feel of Disney properties. While Donald and Goofy always stayed by Sora’s side, the dark and convoluted plot of Kingdom Hearts always felt a little out of their pay-grade. If Nomura wanted to make a Kingdom Hearts game that was free from Disney properties and influence, this might be a good well to draw influence from.

Third, parallel universes are canonical both in Kingdom Hearts and The World Ends With You. Rumors have been going around about Nomura wanting to do a TWEWY sequel, though none have been confirmed at this point. If they do end up being true, it’s entirely possible that Sora will make an appearance, much in the way Cloud made an appearance as a guest character in Final Fantasy Tactics.

Finally, the entire existence of Yozora and the Verum Rex universe shows that Nomura is salty about Final Fantasy Versus XIII being taken away from him, and he is going to make that game even if he has to shove it into Kingdom Hearts in order to make it real.

Then again, the whole secret movie might be themed around making fictional universes real.

Mysterious figure

Finally, we have the matter of the mysterious figure in the black robe. Nomura loves to create characters in black robes to hide their identity. Just check out this wonderful  character creation tutorial from the world’s foremost Kingdom Hearts expert, Just a Pancake.

Memes aside, this character appears to be taller than most of the other Kingdom Hearts characters. Who could it be?

Well, we’re running out of options.

Most of the people who would wear a black cloak either don’t anymore, or are dead. All the members of the organization are accounted for, including Xigbar who turns out to have been Luxu, one of the original keyblade masters. The only characters who aren’t accounted for are the mysterious girl mentioned throughout KH3 and the Master of Masters himself, who is my personal choice for the character in the ending. Since the Xehanort saga is now over, obviously the series will now be following the plans of Luxu and the Master of Masters and the events foretold in the Book of Prophecy.

Unfortunately, that’s about all we can gleam from the very short secret ending. What do you think it means? Let us know in the comments.