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Returning Characters and Character Developments/Arcs



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KHRULER

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Kingdom Hearts 3 was a game where we saw nearly all of the games' protagonists and antagonists in one place. The game served as a medium for characters' resolutions, reunions, and departures. The game was heavily criticized for its storytelling and pacing, especially when dealing with characters that had so much buildup. As a result, it's possible that we will be seeing much less of many characters (not just Xehanorts) if Nomura feels that too many clutter the story. Thus, I wanted to discuss which characters do you anticipate on returning and possible character development/arcs. I'll go through my list.

Sora- Obviously. Main character. KH3 heavily communicated the idea that Sora has a strong dependency for his friends, friendship, and wanting to help others. Those things were almost his demise in KH3D.

Sora: Well…my heart was aching. That’s why I kept going.
Xigbar: Oh… Thank you, Sora’s heart, for pushing him right into our clutches. Aren’t hearts great? Steer us wrong every time.

In KH3, the Guardians of Light are quickly extinguished in the first run at the Keyblade Graveyard, leaving Sora and Riku the last two to perish. When this occurs, Sora yells in defeat and bursts into tears.

Sora: All my strength came from [Kairi, Donald, Goofy, and Mickey]. They gave me all of it. Alone, I'm worthless.
Of course, everyone is brought back and all (albeit someone) is well. However, we all know KH3 ends with Sora disappearing and waking up in a different world/universe, without any of his friends. Thus, I believe Sora's character arc in this game and possibly series will revolve around him finding his inner strength that doesn't almost entirely depend on friendship, which has gotten him out of basically all ruts in the series.



Riku- His main character arc seems to be wrapped up so I'm not sure what there is to develop on. KH4/ the next saga will focus on the Foretellers who all had/have an obsession with eliminating darkness (and Darknesses) from the world. He'll likely contribute personal monologues and speeches about his inner darkness and it's something we all have to live with. Or he might begin to question and consider the validity of their goal. Hopefully, not the latter because that would be a tired shtick for Riku.



Kairi- I have absolutely nothing of significance to say.




Ventus- He's from the age of fairytales and seemingly harbors a Darkness within him. This is heavily suggested in Remind when Sora dives into Ventus' heart.

Sora: Who are you?
The "Darkness": Darkness
Sora: Darkness..? Vanitas?

However, I'm skeptical on if Vanitas merely a combination of one of the 13 Darknesses and Ven's own darkness or if Vanitas is just Ven's own darkness. Regardless, one of the 13 Darknesses is basically confirmed to be inside of Ventus. Thus, the returning Foretellers will likely have their sites set on Ventus. My question is of whether that Darkness chooses to sleep inside Ventus or if Ventus managed to take control and suppress the Darkness from taking control (which iirc is the case for the Foretellers who harbor the 7 strongest Darknesses). If Terra and Aqua aren't returning as important characters, I'm sure they'll return for emotional support at least.

We last see Ventus at the end of Remind where he, Aqua, and Terra venture into the Realm of Darkness. I'd assume this wouldn't be a good place to dive into if you have a powerful Darkness existing inside of you, regardless of whether he has power over it or not. The only person in the Wayfinder Trio to have existed in the Realm of Darkness with their mortal body is Aqua...which bring me to Terra.



Terra- Terra might just be another victim of lazy storywriting post-KH3 if Nomura decides to throw him away, but I find it hard to believe if he were able to conquer the darkness in him that he was struggling to deal with throughout BBS. That struggle for control led him to be possessed by Master Xehanort for over 10 years. When Xemnas and Ansem SOD were defeated, Terra was recompleted along with Master Xehanort but (iirc) was immediately possessed by a time traveling Terranort (MX). When would Terra have had time to conquer the darkness? Yes he "set things right" in the Keybalde Graveyard (which wasn't even entirely his fault/responsibility to do so to begin with) but what about himself? Master Xehanort wasn't the only to possess him but so did Maleficent temporarily at the beginning of BBS.

To top it all off, he's supposed to venture into the Realm of Darkness (with Keyblade Armour at least)? Neither Terra nor Ventus were ever completely in the Realm of Darkness (to our knowledge) in their mortal, physical forms and putting them both there potentially sounds like a recipe for...disaster.



Aqua: I had faith that she would be a returning character with some importance but that seems kinda washy now. Sora's dive into Aqua's heart tells us that she still suffers severe mental trauma from wandering in the Realm of Darkness for so long. We also last see her venturing into the realm of Darkness along with Terra and Ventus. She reassures Riku of her decision.
Riku: Are you sure about this?
Aqua: Yes, but don't worry. I'm not alone this time.

Skeptical of that. Will she be fine? Will Terra be fine? Will Ven be fine? Will she be fine if Terra and Ven aren't fine? But anyway lol
In KH3 main ending cutscene, we see that Aqua has placed the Master Eraqus' Master Defender in the ground as a memorial. We also see that Terra, Aqua, and Ven have left their Wayfinders on the Keyblade as a part of the memorial (I'll get to this later), We know that the Master Defender is pretty much an ancient keyblade that went through rounds long before Eraqus. Thus, I could see Aqua returning with a role of importance if she wielded such a weapon of significance (as in it's been wielded by people of significane in the KH Universe). Thus, it seems deliberate by Nomura to have that weapon placed in the ground as if he wanted to eliminate any important ties to her. Of course, Aqua or anyone else could always unearth it from the ground but we'll see. I feel like having the trio place their wayfinders on the memorial is also a way to "sideline" the characters as a trio but still pluck an important character (likely only Ventus).

It would have been nice to see some character express verbal hate towards Master Xehanort as he peacefully departed from the world (for the sake of character development, of course). Don't misunderstand this: all those characters are allowed to navigate their emotions in whatever way they want (aka whatever way Nomura writes them) and letting Xehanort depart peacefully is all fine and dandy but some variation would have been nice. What I'm thinking is something similiar to the ending of Season 8 of The Walking Dead (spoilers if you care): [URL='https://youtu.be/sJ8CRkcl40g?t=235']Rick almost kills Neagan and decides to spare him[/URL] which results in Maggie erupting in anger and tears because she believes that letting him live in whatever scenario is too light of a punishment for his crimes. Not saying she should have been dramatic as this but yes variation is nice This also would have worked well for Aqua because she seemed to adhere strictly to Master Eraqus' teachings (seemingly until she learned of what he almost did to Terra and Ven). Master Eraqus' obsession with eradicating the darkness only manifested darkness in his heart and it would have been very plausible to see Aqua go down a similar path.

Aqua (to Terra): What else is darkness, but hate and rage?
This would have also aligned nicely with the next saga's theme(?) of light, darkness, and morality/sacrifice.

I digress.



Roxas/Xion- I don't see these characters returning with an important role (if they do at all). Remind tells us that the Twilight Gang has been searching Roxas and Xion's memories (which I believe will lead them nowhere) so it seems to me that this is just a way to sideline these two characters, which I'm fine with. I was satisified with their endings in KH3 and sidelining them would leave room for other characters that need the screentime.




Lea/Axel/Isa: It was revealed that Isa and Lea went through shenanigans in BBS to become apprentices to free(?) Subject X, a friend that they met by sneaking into the castle previously. Eventually, she disappears and they get turned into Nobodies but decide to continue their search. Saix climbs the ranks to be as close to Xemnas as possible and Axel helps him get there. They discuss this before the Keyblade Graveyard battle in Kh3.

Axel: I helped you rise up the ranks, so I hope it paid off.
Saix: I'm afraid not, nary a trace...and then in time, I awakened to a new purpose.

After the battle...

Axel: I thought this was all for her.
Saix: At first. I sacrificed everything to try and track her down. You're the one who went off and made other friends. Left her and me both in the dust. It infuriated me how you just exited our lives.
Axel: I didn't forget you.
Saix: Yes. I know. You wouldn't do that. But...I was jealous.

We saw Saix to be more expressive, playful, and emotive in KH3 with insecurities and longings. The search will continue in KH4/the next saga but will Lea be as committed as Isa now that Xion and Roxas have returned? Will they come along for the journey? Either way, I hope we get to know Isa on a more personal level and would love to see him become a main/more important character.

And they should just make Isa and Lea a romantic couple because we all have eyes and can see it but anyway.




Marluxia/Laurium- From the age of fairytales so will very likely appear next game. Will have likely regained most if not all of his memories and pursue his search for his missing sister which I assume might lead to interactions with "unreality."




Larxene/Elrena- From teh age of fairytales. Currently has no personality traits other than being a b!tch or being thirsty for Marluxia's dack. She has potential. Come on Nomura, give her something.




Demeyx- From the age of fairytales and is the Master of Masters Nobody (jk lol). iirc....we know very little about him. Xemnas tells us that they're somehow important but that isn't really displayed in KH3.
Xemnas: You four [Marluxia, Larxene, Demyx, and Luxord] are going to reveal your greatest secret: the ancient keyblade legacy that slumbers within you.



Luxord- From the age of fairytales. We don't know his true identity or importance but he is possibly in the car with Yozora in that FFXIII Versus knockoff scene we in the secret ending of Remind.



Ansem the Wise and Apprentices- I believe we've seen everything we need to in their story. They'll likely assist the protagonists in whatever technical or lore concerns the main characters may have but I believe Nomura has intended to communicate that they have been "redeemed" for their past actions already.



Namine- Much potential, much possibilities but I believe she will be sidelined so won't bother speculating from Nomura's crumbs.


Mickey- Duh. We have to have a keyblade wielding Disney protagonist and that's Mickey.Was tasked at the end of Melody of Memory to find out more information about Scala ad Caelum.

Donald/Goofy- Duh. At the end of KH4's trailer, we see them searching and finding what seems to be Hades in the Underworld. Likely searching for clues about Sora's whereabouts.


Lingering Questions to Consider/Answer:
1. Do you think the storytelling will be better the next game/saga?
2. Are there any characters that you want to see?
3. Any specific character arcs you want to see?
4. Do you think any characters will side with the Lost Masters?
 

AegisXIII

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I remember that at the release of KH3, Nomura mentioned that it was hard for him to write some characters knowing that it would be their last appearances.
And I have no idea whose character he was talking about as nearly everyone might come back.
I thought he was talking of Xehanort, but we saw him again in MoM.

I think what I would like to see is all the same characters in a real world situation. Just put them in a daily life that we can relate to at a high school/university as an initial setup before the call to adventure hits again and I am sold.
 

LoneFox

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I remember that at the release of KH3, Nomura mentioned that it was hard for him to write some characters knowing that it would be their last appearances.
And I have no idea whose character he was talking about as nearly everyone might come back.
I thought he was talking of Xehanort, but we saw him again in MoM.
I don't think MoM was even in planning at that time, and in any case it was originally meant to not have any new story content. Also, Dark Road had been cancelled. So, Nomura probably expected KH3 to be the last appearance of both Xehanort and Eraqus.

The other character who should be gone for good is (both versions of) Riku Replica. But considering that what Nomura has said about him directly contradicts what is in the game, it seems clear that he didn't write that part of the story.
 

Face My Fears

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Seeing as Roxas and Xion's stories have been more or less wrapped up, I don't want them to return (as much as I love them). I rather not drag out their emo-ness any further. It would be interesting to see them embrace their individuality now, but amidst a game like KH4 that will be jam-packed with new concepts and characters, I just don't see the point of exploring them further.

Riku is the biggest concern to me. He was written phenomenally in all of his appearances until KH3 - which was the game that had his arc basically done. If KH3 Riku is an example of Nomura's usage of a character AFTER their arc is completed, it's a bad sign for any characters he chooses to use like that. Riku was pretty lifeless and didn't do much in KH3 except whatever the plot demanded of him (or anyone available) to move the plot forward. Even his monologues weren't as interesting because he's moved on from his redemption arc.

The only characters I can actually see being used well by Nomura in KH4 - if they appear - are Sora, Aqua, Ven, Yozora, and Axel. I probably won't like Axel in KH4, but I'm sure other people would love him.
 

palizinhas

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I want Riku to delve deeper into darkness but without becoming bad again.

We know he's immune to its effects, so I want him to find more ways to use it - and manage to explore how he sees it, how everyone else sees it.

If it's a battle against Darkness, I want someone who can absorb one of them WITHOUT losing themselves to it - basically "you're in my body now so your powers are mine and that's all you're doing to me" and Riku's perfect for that.
 

Launchpad

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I don't think Sora will ever rely on anything BUT friendship, in order to be strong. I just think he may come to depend on memories and belief in his friends, no matter how far they may be. If anything, he'll probably depend on friendship more in KH4 than in any other game baby!! Let's go, friendship boyzzzzzz
 

Ðari

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Quick Disclaimer: this is all IMO, alright continue reading.


Kingdom Hearts 3 was probably one of the better character arcs for Sora. Theres an element to be said about his personal development that DDD actually managed to do properly when transitioning directly from that game into Kingdom Hearts 3. For once, Sora was the damsel that needed to be saved by his friends, suffering a debilitating and total defeat where he was locked in a nightmare after basically nearing the finish-line of his exam.

I thought, theres no way in hell Nomura wrote this (if you scratch the time-travel stuff, that plot was mid-mid/high)

That sense of regret, soul searching, and trying to be "at the level" that Riku and the King are at present since he didn't obtain the mark of mastery was some relatable underdog story that transformed itself through KH3's narrative. Granted, the disney worlds themselves were never really about or meant for Sora, but all the troupes that get rehashed do fundamentally impact him as a character on a mental and emotional level because it has always served to foster his personal relationships with the islanders, the king, as well as Donald and Goofy throughout the games as a whole.

I realize as most of us are now fossils, relics, older and more cynical adults, all that "charm" and "awe" and "cutesy" stuff probably isn't as relatable to us or provokes the same feelings and emotional investment from playing the games from when we're kids. Through the eyes of a much older person in the present, Kingdom Hearts 3 Sora was probably the most reminiscent of KH1 Sora by far. Seeing him collapse in the middle of the war was without a doubt one of the best scenes in the entire game and I felt truly remorseful for Sora's struggle because this is the most vulnerable on an emotional level he has EVER been across all of the games, its just undeniable, to that effect I applauded the writers for actually giving him the most depth and exposing him to the darkest possible scenario and it just broke him. Bravo!
 

AegisXIII

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I realize as most of us are now fossils, relics, older and more cynical adults, all that "charm" and "awe" and "cutesy" stuff probably isn't as relatable to us or provokes the same feelings and emotional investment from playing the games from when we're kids. Through the eyes of a much older person in the present, Kingdom Hearts 3 Sora was probably the most reminiscent of KH1 Sora by far. Seeing him collapse in the middle of the war was without a doubt one of the best scenes in the entire game and I felt truly remorseful for Sora's struggle because this is the most vulnerable on an emotional level he has EVER been across all of the games, its just undeniable, to that effect I applauded the writers for actually giving him the most depth and exposing him to the darkest possible scenario and it just broke him. Bravo!
I think I see what you mean. The idea of breaking Sora was indeed great but I think the impact would have been way more powerful if we were to play this defeat as all of these great events happened as cutscenes. Just playing a fight against a giant tornado of heartless only to fail miserably would have increase this feelings of failure.
 

Elysium

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Just a random thought in reaction to some of the posts above: I suppose it's possible, if Quadratum turns out to be an AU / worldline (as far as being a reversal of Sora's universe), that Light and Darkness' roles could be reversed there. As in Light is the more dangerous power to succumb to or utilize. That would be fodder for Nomura to play with in regards to Sora and Riku while they're there and Yozora, too, possibly, as far as so many in the fandom wanting a Light-based villain.
 

KHRULER

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I realize as most of us are now fossils, relics, older and more cynical adults, all that "charm" and "awe" and "cutesy" stuff probably isn't as relatable to us or provokes the same feelings and emotional investment from playing the games from when we're kids. Through the eyes of a much older person in the present, Kingdom Hearts 3 Sora was probably the most reminiscent of KH1 Sora by far. Seeing him collapse in the middle of the war was without a doubt one of the best scenes in the entire game and I felt truly remorseful for Sora's struggle because this is the most vulnerable on an emotional level he has EVER been across all of the games, its just undeniable, to that effect I applauded the writers for actually giving him the most depth and exposing him to the darkest possible scenario and it just broke him. Bravo!

I enjoyed this aspect of the game as well and I believe it should explored in future titles as well. It's been explicitly stated when Sora and the gang first arrive at the Keyblade Graveyard that the Xehanorts planned to "break" Sora and it was always Master Xehanort's plan to weaken his opponents.

Vanitas: Only when your hopes have been broken by battle upon battle can the key be claimed to Kingdom Hearts.
Young Xehanort: And break you is what we shall do. It has been etched.

However, this intended for all the Guardians of Light, not just Sora. Still, it seems like we only see Sora and Aqua affected by "breaking" both physically and mentally. Sora screams in distress after everyone perishes and Aqua surrenders to her fears and also perishes. Everyone else though? Not really clear.

I hope there is an aspect of the protagonists recouping from the distress that Xehanort has placed on them for many years and during the final battles as well. This should also be explored outside of the Guardians of Light as well. Terra was literally a vessel for 10+ years. Everything shouldn't just be fine and dandy now that he's liberated physically.
 
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