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Dark Road ► Dark Road Finale Megathread



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Sonofjafar

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I actually hope that theory about Sora losing his memory is proven incorrect, simply because it would be very interesting for him to see Xehanort and be suspicious as heck and antagonistic to this guy who is just trying to water his plants in peace.
Or he could try to kill him and make it look like an accident via Wile E Coyote style traps
 

Sign

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3. Gathering opinions: Who amongst Xehanort’s classmates should be considered a canon companion in the early episodes? I'm personally thinking Vor right now (for thematic and poignant sake) or Bragi (for reveal reasons).
Sorry to revisit this, but I realized that some of the scenes from the finale update flash back to earlier episodes with fixed party members:

01.png2.png03.png

That puts Bragi in EP1, and Urd in both EP2 and 3. To me they doesn't really fit with the implications of the dialogue and everything, but whatever 🤷‍♀️
 
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bambii

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(Posted this in the wrong thread earlier, my bad)

I’ve been thinking about the 13 true darknesses and their locations. 7 we know with near certainty to be in the foretellers; 4 have been tentatively written off as trapped in the data world/“realm between” of Data Daybreak Town (I’ll come back to this in a sec). What I find interesting is what Dark Road almost explicitly sets up as one of its central questions: where are the remaining 2? In the first scene between Odin and Vidar, Odin warns that true darkness has returned, and the implication is that it’s one—or both—of the missing 2. This mystery is central to DR’s plot, and I think it actually addresses both in some capacity.

Through various flashbacks and flashforwards, DR more-or-less confirms one of them is inside Ven—and strongly implies it gets carried over into Vanitas in some way. How self-aware Vanitas is of this is left kind of open to interpretation, but the basic message is there. And Master Xehanort knows it. But—Ven shows up in the Keyblade Graveyard 60-some years after the events of DR. So this can’t be the “return of true darkness” Master Odin is referring to.

As the game approaches its climax, it sets up the player/viewer to believe that the 2nd missing true darkness has found a vessel and taken form through Baldr. Even Luxu/Bragi seems to believe this: at the end, he laments “Guess it wasn’t him after all… No chosen one yet.” I’ve argued in another thread (https://www.khinsider.com/forums/index.php?threads/spoiler-xehanort-is-the-child-of-destiny.236791/) that Luxu is referring here to “the one chosen to be a dark vessel,” who Master Xehanort also refers to as inscribed in the Book of Prophecies. I believe this is also the same person as the inscribed “dark seeker,” who we know to be Xehanort. And of course, after the game subverts expectations by revealing that Baldr actually doesn’t harbor one of the true darknesses—Luxu’s befuddlement reflecting the audience’s—Luxu then looks to Xehanort and goes “hmmm.” Not a coincidence.

My hypothesis here is that Xehanort indeed does harbor the 2nd missing true darkness: he is “the dark vessel.” Of course the game doesn’t show us this; it sort of implies it, though naturally that too could be red herring. Could be something Nomura is saving to show us later, the same way we never got to see Xehanort’s eyes go yellow. But I think it’s very possible, given everything we know goes down later. It’s Xehanort’s own heart/darkness that is later divided into 13 vessels to trigger the Keyblade War. We don’t have confirmation that this is an absolute prerequisite, but wouldn’t it seem appropriate for it to be one of the true darknesses that re-splits itself into 13 to achieve this? Similarly, Master Xehanort also attempts (and almost succeeds) to achieve the same goal by having Vanitas (another true darkness, which we have confirmation from DR that Xehanort is aware of) clash with Ven in BBS.

Another thing to consider, which I keep coming back to, is the dialogue between Maleficent and Dark Riku (one of the 13 Xehanorts) in San Fransokyo in KH3.
  • Dark Riku: “Overstep, and darkness will consume you again.”
  • Maleficent: “What an interesting thing to say.”
  • […] Pete: “Who’s he? Friend of yours?”
  • Maleficent: “Yes. Though I could not tell you from ‘when.’”
The implication here seems to be that Maleficent believes this to be a true darkness, and, moreover, almost certainly the one—the only one—she’s already met. The only darkness who Maleficent might call a “friend” is precisely the 2nd missing true darkness. Interestingly, this same darkness also says to her in Union X: “Think of me as an old friend.” If this is the same darkness speaking to her via Dark Riku, how did it get there? Dark Riku’s darkness is Xehanort’s darkness. So in theory, if Xehanort was the vessel for this 2nd missing true darkness, it would also be present in Dark Riku.

This is even more speculative, but I had another thought about the other 4 true darknesses, trapped in the data world. Last we see them, they’re trapped in that tube/corridor leading from Data Daybreak Town to Game Central Station. But it’s interesting that Odin refers to this as the “realm between.” We know that Data Daybreak Town falls and goes to sleep; we know from DDD (from Ansem SoD) that darkness “holds” sleep; and we also know from DDD that the “Sleeping Worlds” are in some way connected to the Realm Between, or that the latter is accessible via the former, as Sora/Riku end up in the World That Never Was, which Yen Sid explicitly states is in the realm between. What if—what if—the Corridor of Darkness originated from the corridor those 4 darknesses were trapped in? They would’ve been stewing in there for a long time. It’s not confirmed anywhere that Corridors of Darkness exist in the Realm Between, though this is certainly plausible; they literally exist between worlds, and also aren’t anywhere confirmed to be fully in the Realm of Darkness either. And everytime Xehanort walks through them in DR, there are these little effects that almost look like they’re in the image of true darknesses. It would certainly explain its overwhelming power, which seems even more immediately dangerous/perilous than the Dark World itself. Heck, Hermod and Urd literally died after a few moments in there. Aqua hung out in the Dark World for a decade. She went kinda crazy, yes, but the realm itself wasn’t this intense, concentrated force like the Corridors appear to be.

Food for thought.
 
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Zackarix

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So was there a point to the revelation that Xehanort was born in Scala ad Caelum, not the Destiny Islands? Because it doesn't seem to have been necessary for the plot. Was it just so that Player could raise Xehanort?
 

bambii

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So was there a point to the revelation that Xehanort was born in Scala ad Caelum, not the Destiny Islands? Because it doesn't seem to have been necessary for the plot. Was it just so that Player could raise Xehanort?
People in Scala believed that Xehanort is the child of destiny, so treated him with special care. He’s also a descendent of Ephemer and (probably) Skuld. Nomura also said in his interview that Odin was tasked to do something by his own master, and that this relates to Player (who raised Xehanort) in some way. So—my impression is the answer to your question will be addressed in Missing-Link.
 

Chie

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So was there a point to the revelation that Xehanort was born in Scala ad Caelum, not the Destiny Islands? Because it doesn't seem to have been necessary for the plot. Was it just so that Player could raise Xehanort?
The point was that him being raised on Destiny Islands was an attempt by Keyblade Society to force their "prophecy".
 

Ballad of Caius

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quick theory: what if it isn’t Child of Destiny, but rather Children and Sora, like Spock said, is destined to put them together as the Seven Lights?
 

Zackarix

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People in Scala believed that Xehanort is the child of destiny, so treated him with special care. He’s also a descendent of Ephemer and (probably) Skuld. Nomura also said in his interview that Odin was tasked to do something by his own master, and that this relates to Player (who raised Xehanort) in some way. So—my impression is the answer to your question will be addressed in Missing-Link.
But they could have done the "Xehanort thinks he's a prophecy child but he's wrong," plot without having him be a descendant of Ephemer. And the way Xehanort talked about Eraqus's status as a blueblood in KH3's reports implies that he wasn't one himself.

But who am I kidding, Xehanort's history has been retconned in every game, what's one more in the grand scheme of things?
 

Chie

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huge 'retcon' to learn more about a character we didn't know about as we go back further in his history
 
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Something I forgot to mention in my initial post, I wished we got clarification on a few aspects:

  • When does Xehanort actually time travel? The implication is it's around the period he was touring the worlds, but having a scene where he meets his heartless again would've been cool.

  • What exactly is the Land of Departure and its relation to Scala? Are they the same world transformed or is the LOD just the outskirts of it? I could've easily missed a line of dialogue that clarified this.

  • Xehanort and Braig meeting for the first time.
i made a theory a few months ago that he learned time travel thru his mark of mastery and visiting neverland and learned there. mostly because of the kh3 opening he sees the purple star which is the same as neverland's and also we never got to see him during his own mark of mastery so who knows
 

Zackarix

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And before anyone comes along to say "Well actually it wasn't a retcon because Xehanort's family tree was never established and it was never directly said that he was born on the Destiny Islands..." A retcon doesn't have to directly contradict previous information to be a retcon, that's just an easy way to spot one. In order for a retcon to exist all that's needed is to insert new information into a story that wasn't originally there that retroactively alters the continuity. Hence, retroactive continuity.

But even if you insist on a narrower definition of retcon this new information still borders on being one. Just look at Secret Report 2 from KH3:
Eraqus is a blueblood, descended from the very first masters in the age of fairy tales. But I did not come this far to indulge in adulation. I will be his peer. His equal. And to do that, I must learn to wield the power born from both darkness and light in proper balance.
Sure, it doesn't outright say that Xehanort doesn't have a similar pedigree. But the new information still makes this quote feel weird and incongruous. Maybe you could argue that Xehanort is ignorant about his heritage, but at that point why bother? Is it supposed to be ironic?

And the thing is, retcons are not necessarily a bad thing, they're just a storytelling tool. "Darth Vader=Anakin Skywalker" is a retcon because it wasn't the original intention, but it's a fantastic addition to the Star Wars lore. Seriously, it's difficult to imagine a version of Star Wars without that twist, that's how much it transformed the story.

Which is why I'm baffled about how Xehanort's heritage is being treated. It's limited to just a few closing sequences. You could cut them and the rest of the story remains the same. Maybe it will be a plot point in Missing-Link. But I'll wait to give credit until it actually happens. And it's still disappointing for this retcon to have such little impact on the character whose history is being changed.
 

The_Echo

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And before anyone comes along to say "Well actually it wasn't a retcon because Xehanort's family tree was never established and it was never directly said that he was born on the Destiny Islands..." A retcon doesn't have to directly contradict previous information to be a retcon, that's just an easy way to spot one. In order for a retcon to exist all that's needed is to insert new information into a story that wasn't originally there that retroactively alters the continuity. Hence, retroactive continuity.

But even if you insist on a narrower definition of retcon this new information still borders on being one. Just look at Secret Report 2 from KH3:

Sure, it doesn't outright say that Xehanort doesn't have a similar pedigree. But the new information still makes this quote feel weird and incongruous. Maybe you could argue that Xehanort is ignorant about his heritage, but at that point why bother? Is it supposed to be ironic?

And the thing is, retcons are not necessarily a bad thing, they're just a storytelling tool. "Darth Vader=Anakin Skywalker" is a retcon because it wasn't the original intention, but it's a fantastic addition to the Star Wars lore. Seriously, it's difficult to imagine a version of Star Wars without that twist, that's how much it transformed the story.

Which is why I'm baffled about how Xehanort's heritage is being treated. It's limited to just a few closing sequences. You could cut them and the rest of the story remains the same. Maybe it will be a plot point in Missing-Link. But I'll wait to give credit until it actually happens. And it's still disappointing for this retcon to have such little impact on the character whose history is being changed.
1. Using the normal, broad definition of retcon, KH is absolutely littered with retcons as each game opens up new information about people and events we already knew about. BbS, Days, Re:coded, UX, DR, and ML are all entirely retcons by their nature as prequels (mid-ending-quel in coded's case).

2. We know that Ephemera originated from the age of fairytales, but Scalan society may only know him as their founder. Brain, who time traveled into Scala, and moreover was expected to do so, may be widely known as "a Master from the age of fairytales."
This being that case, and of course assuming that Brain is Eraqus's ancestor, then there is nothing contradictory in Xehanort's report here.
 

Chie

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In order for a retcon to exist all that's needed is to insert new information into a story that wasn't originally there that retroactively alters the continuity. Hence, retroactive continuity.
This describes literally everything that happens in a story, period.

Kingdom Hearts CoM is kind of a retcon to Kingdom Hearts 1 because "after KH1 sora went to a castle" wasn't in KH1, and this retroactively alters the events of KH1 if you know that Sora went to a castle after that.
 

Antifa Lockhart

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This describes literally everything that happens in a story, period.

Kingdom Hearts CoM is kind of a retcon to Kingdom Hearts 1 because "after KH1 sora went to a castle" wasn't in KH1, and this retroactively alters the events of KH1 if you know that Sora went to a castle after that.
You're being purposefully obtuse. That's not what it means, and you know it.
 

Chie

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I mean, yes, I know that's not what anyone would call a retcon, but it does fit the definition given, which I point out because I don't think that definition or concept is very useful. I can't magically guess what people "actually mean", though; at the very least I try not to respond based on assumption alone.

The obvious implication here that my example kind of baits out is "if it's stuff that happened after the events of [original story], then it's not a retcon, because it didn't happen before". Buuut, stories aren't accounts of linear time, they're artworks created by humans. You can establish events happening before or after the [original story], but I don't think the former messes more with "continuity" than the latter; or that the natural state of a story is to go forwards in time, thus making prequels "retroactive" changes instead of just additions in the other, equally valid direction. I don't think there's an objective difference we can actually pinpoint here.

At the same time I'll point out that this is a different definition entirely, so I'll handle it on its own:

"Darth Vader=Anakin Skywalker" is a retcon because it wasn't the original intention
If you talk about author intentions things get really, really murky.

Nothing in a work is the original intention because the act of creating the work is to figure out what the work is. Every single story is "made up as it went along" in some draft or another. But, this topic comes up because works like KH are released in numerous installments. We can't peer into the development process of KH1 alone with perfect accuracy, but we can say for sure that KH2 was made entirely after KH1 was completed; ergo, we can assume that stuff like Xehanort wasn't planned in KH1.

Which is true for a whole lot of things in this series, but I also don't think it's that black and white. Take Xigbar for instance. We can reasonably assume that Xigbar wasn't created with the idea of him being Luxu because there would be no reason to be thinking about X Back Cover six games earlier, and so none of that stuff existed. Buuut, can you say for sure that it wasn't the "original intention" for Xigbar to be more than he appears? Already in 2FM he's looking into mysteries that really have nothing to do with his job and bringing them up to the other Organization members, already in 2 he's saying very cryptic lines to Sora, etc. Is it improbable that Nomura had an idea of what role Xigbar was to play in the series in general? Especially considering that that role is "Revolver Ocelot"?

So at that point how much of Luxu is not the "original intention"? Sure, none of the details could have been. But if you're making a serial story like KH, and you plan on making more games, there's no one end point you're "planning things out" to. You're always getting ideas and letting them develop over time as you write, as you release new installments and think about how you want things to go. So you come up with "Xigbar is more than he appears, he might have his own agenda", and then you slowly develop that until it reaches its natural answer. Writing is only partially a conscious intellectual effort; sometimes letting the pieces fit where they may is a huge part of the process, particularly for serial stories where nothing is set in stone ahead of time.

If we accept this, it becomes difficult to disentangle what's "intentional" or not. Nothing in Kingdom Hearts was planned from the beginning; at the same time nothing in Kingdom Hearts was made up on the spot. Every idea grows over time. The details can shift. There is no "original intention" we can point to objectively to say that things have deviated from, because "I'm going to figure out how it all fits as I go along" was always the plan. And so on. All serially written stories are like this.
 

Zackarix

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1. Using the normal, broad definition of retcon, KH is absolutely littered with retcons as each game opens up new information about people and events we already knew about. BbS, Days, Re:coded, UX, DR, and ML are all entirely retcons by their nature as prequels (mid-ending-quel in coded's case).

2. We know that Ephemera originated from the age of fairytales, but Scalan society may only know him as their founder. Brain, who time traveled into Scala, and moreover was expected to do so, may be widely known as "a Master from the age of fairytales."
This being that case, and of course assuming that Brain is Eraqus's ancestor, then there is nothing contradictory in Xehanort's report here.
1. Yep. The use of retcons has allowed the KH franchise to greatly expand its scope. And while not every retcon has been well received by every fan it's clearly a successful strategy given that KH is two decades old and still going strong. Retcons are inevitable when you have a long-running franchise that isn't planned out in advance.

2. It's not that the line can't be made to work, it's that the most natural reading (Eraqus's heritage gives him a leg up, but Xehanort is determined to be his equal despite not having that advantage.) is wrong. If that report had been published after Dark Road there's no way it would have been phrased that way.
 

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I'm not gonna get bogged down in defining a retcon, but I will say this, now that I've finished the new cutscenes, I have no idea what's going on. Has anyone explained this sudden concept of the "13 lights" that Baldr's darkness (which isn't a true darkness?) introduces, which soon enough reverts back to the usual 7? Cause I dunno what that's about. It's definitely not something that was required to acquire the 13 darknesses previously. They even bring back the long retconned plot element of 7 pure lights alone being enough to summon KH (I think it was in the Odin and Vidar scene). Wat. And apparently Beast and his household have met tons of keybladers before but never mentioned it to Sora. This time difference between worlds is silly.

I don't think it's too much to ask for a story to have a clear, concise summary of events, especially with the antagonist's life and motives, but I'm not sure that exists here. Certainly I can't trace Xehanort's life with any kind of coherence, with all the gaping holes and contradictions on the path. Did Ansem send YX to Scala or to DDD? Both have been implied to be true but both can't be true, not at the time DDD and DR indicate. When did he go on a second trip? Why? How? He and Eraqus took his Mark of Mastery exam a couple of years after DR's main events, and yet they're still there several years later, fighting for some reason? Did Xehanort want to purge the world of darkness with KH, did he want to remake the world in his image, or was he just curious? Some of these are vagaries begging further questions that will probably never be answered, some are seemingly irreconcilable differences, which will also likely go unaddressed.

Nomura seems to be going out of his way to make things as opaque and obfuscating as possible, to prevent fans from gaining any kind of solid footing. Which is kind of a fundamental aspect of telling a good story. An audience needs to know what the hell is happening. Not fighting to stay upright against constantly shifting sands, if you get my meaning. He also seems willing to undo any established bit of information on a whim, even if it makes no sense, just to suit whatever new idea he's conjured. How then can one trust anything a KH game says, knowing it could easily be ignored and changed in the future? I don't call that good writing by any stretch.
 
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Chie

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I'm pretty sure MoM mentioned 13 lights near the end of UX.

An audience needs to know what the hell is happening.
Personally I enjoy it like this. Sometimes certain tones or themes can only be gotten across by being as messy as possible.
 

bambii

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I'm pretty sure MoM mentioned 13 lights near the end of UX.
Nah, he only mentions 7, though it’s still pretty cryptic.
  • Darkness: “The seven pods, and the seven crowns…”
  • MoM: “For the seven lights.”
Doesn't Eraqus also mention a new game with seven black pieces and 13 lights at the end of KH3?
Also not quite; 7 black pieces yes, but as far as lights we only see Sora’s at the end there. In an earlier scene, when Eraqus talks about “the light of the past,” we do see some other lights appear behind Sora’s piece—though only 7. Still, 7 black pieces is most intriguing, and now that we know “13 lights” is a thing, it’s not totally far-fetched…
 
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