Time Travel Explained



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Elfdemon

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I will explain time travel in Kingdom Hearts and how it works for those of you who don't quite understand it, or don't understand it at all. I hope this helps anyone who was confused with how it was explained in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.

(This is a part of my "Explained" series of posts. To view my "Heartless, Nobodies, Unversed, and Dream Eaters Explained" post, click here, to view my "The Braig/Xigbar Situation Explained" post, click here, and to view my "The Realm of Sleep Explained" post, click here.)

What is time travel in the Kingdom Hearts universe? Well, it's like time travel from any other game, movie, or show. It's where you leave your present time and move either backwards or forwards to a different time.

How does somebody time travel in the Kingdom Hearts universe? First, you must abandon your body and become just a heart. One way to become just a heart is to extract your heart with a Keyblade. Another method would be to become a Heartless, since Heartless are technically just corrupted hearts. Once you become just a heart, then you have the ability to move through time.

Becoming just a heart also gives all versions of yourself from across time the ability to time travel. But, they're not actually able to do so without assistance from someone who actually has a time travel power. Just because you have the ability to travel through time, doesn't mean you're actually able to do so. You can only time travel if you are just a heart, or if you have the time travel ability plus assistance. I will elaborate what I mean by "assistance" later in this post.

What are the laws of time travel in the Kingdom Hearts universe? You are only able to travel through time if there is a version of yourself present at the time you want to travel to. Also, you cannot change what is destined to happen. All that really means though is that you cannot change the future, because everything is already set in stone. Once you return back to your respective time, you will forget everything that has happened during your experience time traveling. However, these memories and experiences will be etched into your heart and could influence your decisions and the paths you take.

Since you lose your memories after you get back to your respective time, there would be no point in traveling to the future to try and find out what happens.

That is what we know so far about time travel in the Kingdom Hearts universe. Now, I will explain various characters' involvements with time travel.

Terra-Xehanort Terra-Xehanort is Terra's body taken over by Master Xehanort. He apprentices under Ansem the Wise so he can further study the darkness and get access to things that could potentially help him further gain powers of the darkness. He steals Ansem's name and identity, then splits himself into a Heartless and a Nobody. His Heartless is known as the Robed Figure, and his Nobody is known as Xemnas.

Robed Figure/Ansem, Seeker of Darkness The Robed Figure is Xehanort's Heartless, as stated above. Since he is technically just a heart since he is a Heartless, he is able to travel through time. He goes back in time to Destiny Islands, where he meets a young version of himself. Now that Xehanort is just a heart, all versions of Xehanort throughout time have the ability to move through time. Not without assistance though of course. The Robed Figure gives/shares his time travel powers that he has from being just a heart to this Young Xehanort. Now, this Young Xehanort is able to time travel without becoming just a heart and without assistance. The Robed Figure then goes back to his own time (during the first Kingdom Hearts) and places himself on Destiny Islands. He marks the time traveling Sora with the Recusant's Sigil.

The Robed Figure later possesses Riku and sort of molds/forms Riku's body into a body that's more to his likeness. Bodies are just as malleable as hearts. This amalgamate is known as Ansem, Seeker of Darkness.

Young Xehanort As explained above, Young Xehanort, and all other versions of Xehanort, now have the ability to move through time. And Young Xehanort is able to do this without assistance as if he was just a heart, because the Robed Figure shared/gave him some of his powers. He then goes through time and brings with him various versions of himself and some followers/vessels who have been loyal to him before. He gathers 10 versions of himself and brings them to the present day. Out of those people, the current known ones are Xemnas and Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, Xigbar, and Saïx. These are all people who are deceased in the present time.

The individuals that Young Xehanort brought through time have the ability to move through time, because Xehanort became just a heart somewhere along his timeline (when he became a Heartless/the Robed Figure). They aren't actually able to do so though without assistance from someone who actually has a time travel power. Young Xehanort is their assistance, since he has an actual time travel power that he got from the Robed Figure.

If someone has never became just a heart somewhere along their timeline, then they can't move through time even with assistance.

Young Xehanort time travels to Destiny Islands during the first Kingdom Hearts. He is able to do this because the Robed Figure placed himself there. He follows Sora and Riku into the realm of sleep. Now that Sora is marked with the Recusant's Sigil and now that Young Xehanort is in the same time period as Sora, Young Xehanort is able to teleport to wherever Sora is and keep tabs on him.

Master Xehanort Master Xehanort is the one who took over Terra's body, as explained above. He has returned to the present day because Xemnas and Ansem, Seeker of Darkness have been destroyed, which are his Nobody and Heartless. Once someone's Nobody and Heartless are destroyed, the original person is revived. It is currently unknown why Master Xehanort's old man self was recompleted instead of Terra-Xehanort.

Master Xehanort gathers with Young Xehanort and the 10 people that Young Xehanort had gathered.

Xemnas Xemnas is the Nobody of Terra-Xehanort. He was destroyed by Sora. He has now been brought back to the present day by Young Xehanort.

Ansem, Seeker of Darkness (pt.II) Sora has destroyed him. Young Xehanort brings him back to the present day.

Xigbar Xigbar is the Nobody of Braig. Xigbar has been destroyed by Sora, and has revived as Braig, but he has also been brought back to the present day by Young Xehanort.

It's also possible though that he wasn't brought back from the past, and the recompleted Braig was just turned back into a Nobody in order to be a more suitable vessel. Either of those two situations are possible.

Saïx Saïx is the Nobody of Isa. Saïx has been destroyed by Sora, and has revived as Isa, but he has also been brought back to the present day by Young Xehanort.

It's also possible though that he wasn't brought back from the past, and the recompleted Isa was just turned back into a Nobody in order to be a more suitable vessel. Either of those two situations are possible.

Extra Info Xehanort's plan has been to gather 13 vessels that all would bear a piece of his heart inside of them. This was Xemnas' plan with Organization XIII, but a few of the members he had gathered were inadequate. This is what lead to the various new people that Young Xehanort had been gathering. He gathered 10 people and along with himself and Master Xehanort, that makes 12 people. Their original planned 13th member was Riku, but he became immune to the darkness, so he was of no use to them, then they chose Roxas, but he became too aware of himself and returned to Sora. Xion was also a possible candidate, but she returned to Sora as well. Now, they moved down the list to Sora. They were able to capture him, but he had been saved. They are currently missing a 13th member for their new Organization XIII and will soon find a replacement.

Sora and Riku In the beginning of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Sora and Riku traveled back in time to the day Destiny Islands fell to darkness. They had the ability to move through time because both of them have become just hearts at one point in the first Kingdom Hearts. Sora became just a heart/a Heartless when he stabbed himself with the Keyblade of Heart, and Riku became just a heart when his heart was sort of kicked out of his body into the Realm of Darkness when he was possessed by Ansem, Seeker of Darkness. This caused all versions of Sora and Riku from throughout time to gain the ability to time travel. But, they weren't able to do so without assistance, so Yen Sid assisted them. Yen Sid used magic to send them back in time, which is a different method of time travel than Xehanort's method. Instead of becoming just a heart and going back in time to give a version of themself the time travel power in order to assist other versions of themself through time, Yen Sid just assisted them by using time travel magic to send them back in time. Characters like Yen Sid and Merlin have time magic. But, Yen Sid's time travel magic still follows the rules of time travel that this post has been explaining. He could only send Sora and Riku back in time to a point in time where versions of them existed/were present.

Sora and Riku are younger in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance simply because of Yen Sid's magic as well. He used his magic to make them younger again in order to sort of help with the whole starting over from scratch for the Mark of Mastery exam thing. They didn't inhabit their younger bodies contrary to popular belief. They didn't need to become just hearts in order to time travel, because they had the time travel ability plus assistance. Them becoming just hearts would've been a big mess as well. They would've turned into Heartless/Nobodies.

Timeless River In case anybody was wondering, no, Timeless River has nothing to do with any of this. Timeless River is a completely separate time anomaly that brings you to the world of Disney Castle before Disney Castle has been built.

Now that I explained various characters' involvements, I'll list some currently unanswered questions concerning time travel in the Kingdom Hearts universe. Hopefully these get answered and cleared up in the future.

Unanswered Questions

  • Why did the time traveling members of the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness go back to their own time? And how are they going to come back?
  • In the Kingdom Hearts Re:coded secret ending, we see the Organization XIII members who were residents of Radiant Garden lying on the floor after being recompleted as people again. We also see Braig, who is not lying on the floor like the rest of them. He presumably woke up before them. (We know this Kingdom Hearts Re:codedsecret ending takes place after Kingdom Hearts Re:coded and before Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distancebecause Ienzo is an adult in this cutscene. There is a cutscene in the beginning of Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance that shows Even and Ienzo on the floor turning into Heartless/Nobodies and Ienzo is a little kid in that cutscene, so we know the Kingdom Hearts Re:coded secret ending takes place after Kingdom Hearts Re:codedbecause we know Ienzo grew up as an adult while he was a Nobody.) In Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance, we see Xigbar. It is thought that this is actually Braig, not Xigbar and he's just going by the name Xigbar for some reason (most likely because of the Recusant's Sigil in that name). If this is the same recompleted Braig that we saw in the Kingdom Hearts Re:coded secret ending, then how come he has long hair again and how come he has gray in his hair again? It would not make sense for him to just all of a sudden change appearance and grow hair that quickly. Is this actually Xigbar and not Braig, and they were just implying that it was Braig just to trick us? If it's Xigbar, then that can either mean that he was brought to the present day from time travel, or that can mean that Young Xehanort turned the recompleted Braig back into a Nobody for some reason (maybe he's stronger as a Nobody?). Also, do people keep their appearances that they had as Nobodies when they turn back into people, or are they reverted to how they looked before they were turned into Nobodies? This is very unclear. It seems that some parts of them did keep their appearance and some parts of them didn't for some reason. Ienzo, Lea, and Isa aged as Nobodies and kept their ages when they turned back into people. Lea lost the markings under his eyes when he became a person again though for some reason. From what we know, this is how it is: You are reverted back to how you looked before you became a Nobody, but you keep your age. For example, Lea was reverted to how he looked before he became a Nobody which is why he lost the markings under his eyes, but he still looks older because he kept his age.
  • What was the Riku that Riku saw in Monstro in Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance? Was it the dream world projecting an image of Riku from the first Kingdom Hearts? Putting Riku "back in his place", like it did to Jiminy in Sora's side of Prankster's Paradise? If so, then why is he wearing a black coat? Riku wasn't wearing a black coat in the first Kingdom Hearts, and the worlds only dream about their pasts, so this wouldn't make sense. Is it a Seeker of Darkness? If that Riku is a Seeker of Darkness, is it Riku Replica? If it's Riku Replica, then why did Riku say "That was my... my dark side. I gave into the darkness once, and ever since, it's chased be around in one form or another. The seeker of darkness who stole my body, a puppet replica of the shadows in my heart, and now, I'm facing me."? He lists the versions of his darkness that have chased him around in one form or another. He lists Ansem, Seeker of Darkness and Riku Replica and then says that now, he's facing himself. So, it's not Riku Replica, right? Unless Riku's just assuming it's not Riku Replica. If it's just himself (Riku) that he was facing, then was it when he was a villain in the first Kingdom Hearts that's time traveled to present-day to be a Seeker of Darkness? If it's Riku Replica or himself from the first game time traveled to present-day to be a Seeker of Darkness, then how come Young Xehanort isn't there with him? Like stated above, Tetsuya Nomura stated that Young Xehanort functioned as a "portal" that summoned the Xemnas and Ansem, Seeker of Darkness. Wouldn't it be the same for Riku Replica/Riku from the first game and any other time traveling Seekers of Darkness? If not, then why?
You can check out my post that lists every single currently unanswered question in Kingdom Hearts here.

I hope this helped anybody and I hope it cleared up confusion that any of you had :)
 
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ALittleNerd

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Here's my question though. Are the Xehanort vessels, or the 13 darkness's that Master Xehanort needs for the X-blade, the VERY same people from the past, or are they clones of the people from the past? Like Young Master Xehanort. If he's here in the present time fighting with Sora and the gang, then he's not where he's supposed to be, back in his time and living out his life evilly. So if Young Xehanort is killed in the present time by Sora or others, then Master Xehanort would cease to exist. So are the past Xehanorts CLONES of the past Xehanorts? Cause if not, then the solution to defeating them is a lot more simple than this whole 'Key to return hearts' plan that's supposed to be happening.
 

Royce & Mueller

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I don't get why people have to go out of their way to explain, defend and justify a nonsensical, poor, and more importantly contrived, plot point.

You practically wrote an essay here.
 

redcrown

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I don't get why people have to go out of their way to explain, defend and justify a nonsensical, poor, and more importantly contrived, plot point.

You practically wrote an essay here.
Welcome to the KH fandom. This is considered very normal.
 

Dandelion

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Here's my question though. Are the Xehanort vessels, or the 13 darkness's that Master Xehanort needs for the X-blade, the VERY same people from the past, or are they clones of the people from the past? Like Young Master Xehanort. If he's here in the present time fighting with Sora and the gang, then he's not where he's supposed to be, back in his time and living out his life evilly. So if Young Xehanort is killed in the present time by Sora or others, then Master Xehanort would cease to exist. So are the past Xehanorts CLONES of the past Xehanorts? Cause if not, then the solution to defeating them is a lot more simple than this whole 'Key to return hearts' plan that's supposed to be happening.

No. They're not clones, they're plucked from a moment in time and when they're done traveling they go back to the same moment without memories of being in the future, so it's like they never left. They can't be killed, to our knowledge, because a defeat would go against the rules of time travel - so upon defeat they'd probably just go back home.

I don't get why people have to go out of their way to explain, defend and justify a nonsensical, poor, and more importantly contrived, plot point.

You practically wrote an essay here.


A pompous two-liner isn't more worthy of anyone's time than someone making sense of the established plot points to a series they want to understand because they enjoy it.
 

Master Alew

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I don't get why people have to go out of their way to explain, defend and justify a nonsensical, poor, and more importantly contrived, plot point.

You practically wrote an essay here.
That's more like a glossary. Also, you know that this is a Kingdom Hearts forum right?
 

Oracle Spockanort

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I don't get why people have to go out of their way to explain, defend and justify a nonsensical, poor, and more importantly contrived, plot point.

You practically wrote an essay here.
We might as well just stop analyzing all media then. Surface level enjoyment. No critical thought ever again. Nope. Not the place on a discussion forum. We do not discuss things here anymore.
 

redcrown

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Tbh it is the weakest, most mythos/story shattering, and most nonsenseical thing in this series, and this is Kingdom Hearts. It really wasn't needed and really overcomplicated things.
But if people want to take it seriously and try to understand and make sense of it, then good for them.
 

Oracle Spockanort

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Tbh it is the weakest, most mythos/story shattering, and most nonsenseical thing in this series, and this is Kingdom Hearts. It really wasn't needed.
No denying that. I hate time travel in this series and in the days of BBS everybody was hoping it would never happen despite the building evidence.

It is here, though, and it will be featured in KH3 so we all have to either get used to it or just not understand a portion of the game. Out of the two options, the first is probably the better and most ideal one.

People like Royce being judgmental about a person creating a simplified explanation to help others is completely unnecessary, though.
 

The_Echo

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No denying that. I hate time travel in this series and in the days of BBS everybody was hoping it would never happen despite the building evidence.
I remember seeing someone theorize that time travel would be introduced based on the content of the "Volume Two" scene.

At the time I was like "what? I don't want that."

But with the way time travel is used, and the rules surrounding it, I honestly have no objections.
At its core it's just an excuse to bring back all the old villains for a Greatest Hits montage in the finale, which is fine by me.

It doesn't really have a negative impact on the story; I think Nomura designed it with the express purpose of making as little mess as necessary. Like, nothing changes.
 

redcrown

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But with the way time travel is used, and the rules surrounding it, I honestly have no objections.
At its core it's just an excuse to bring back all the old villains for a Greatest Hits montage in the finale, which is fine by me.

It doesn't really have a negative impact on the story; I think Nomura designed it with the express purpose of making as little mess as necessary. Like, nothing changes.
I think it would have gone smoother and more neatly (and made less of a convoluted mess) if they somehow used the dream realm/power to bring back all versions of the same villain at the same time for the finale. MX could have followed Sora and Riku to the dream realm, waiting for them to open the portals, and could have hijacked the whole thing a lot easier (on the viewer's brain).
 

Elfdemon

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I don't get why people have to go out of their way to explain, defend and justify a nonsensical, poor, and more importantly contrived, plot point.

You practically wrote an essay here.
I'm not trying to defend or justify anything. I'm just explaining how time travel works in Kingdom Hearts and what we know so far about it for anyone who didn't quite understand it in Dream Drop Distance.

"I don't get why people have to go out of their way to explain" "You practically wrote an essay here."
You don't seem to quite understand the point of forums.
 
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Elfdemon

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I remember seeing someone theorize that time travel would be introduced based on the content of the "Volume Two" scene.

At the time I was like "what? I don't want that."

But with the way time travel is used, and the rules surrounding it, I honestly have no objections.
At its core it's just an excuse to bring back all the old villains for a Greatest Hits montage in the finale, which is fine by me.

It doesn't really have a negative impact on the story; I think Nomura designed it with the express purpose of making as little mess as necessary. Like, nothing changes.
Yeah, these are my exact thoughts. A perfect finale for a saga is fighting every single big name villain in one game. It truly shows how much Sora and the others have grown and how strong they've become.
 

Elfdemon

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Tbh it is the weakest, most mythos/story shattering, and most nonsenseical thing in this series, and this is Kingdom Hearts. It really wasn't needed and really overcomplicated things.
But if people want to take it seriously and try to understand and make sense of it, then good for them.
I'm not trying to "make sense of it". I'm simply just explaining what time travel is in Kingdom Hearts and how it works for people who didn't quite understand it in Dream Drop Distance.
 

Audo

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I think it would have gone smoother and more neatly (and made less of a convoluted mess) if they somehow used the dream realm/power to bring back all versions of the same villain at the same time for the finale. MX could have followed Sora and Riku to the dream realm, waiting for them to open the portals, and could have hijacked the whole thing a lot easier (on the viewer's brain).
Eh, still would have required time travel, unless the suggestion is that Sora and Riku and Yen Sid would intentionally cast a world into darkness in the present just to get it to become a sleeping world.
 

redcrown

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Eh, still would have required time travel, unless the suggestion is that Sora and Riku and Yen Sid would intentionally cast a world into darkness in the present just to get it to become a sleeping world.
No, it wouldn't. The game could still have used the dream element for MX to "dream up" various version of himself.

Idk, I just feel DDD could have easily used the newly introduced dream realm/concept to come up with a better and less convoluted reason as for why MX can bring back other versions of himself. Anything related to dreams instead of time travel, which made the end of DDD kind of a mess. And watch time travel never be used in this series again.
 

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No, it wouldn't. The game could still have used the dream element for MX to "dream up" various version of himself.

Idk, I just feel DDD could have easily used the newly introduced dream realm/concept to come up with a better and less convoluted reason as for why MX can bring back other versions of himself. Anything related to dreams instead of time travel, which made the end of DDD kind of a mess. And watch time travel never be used in this series again.
I think "dream powers" would just make things even more ridiculous. If Xehanort could just dream up his other versions, where is the limit to this power? Why not dream up a complete χ-blade? Or any number of things.
 

Audo

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No, it wouldn't. The game could still have used the dream element for MX to "dream up" various version of himself.

Idk, I just feel DDD could have easily used the newly introduced dream realm/concept to come up with a better and less convoluted reason as for why MX can bring back other versions of himself. Anything related to dreams instead of time travel, which made the end of DDD kind of a mess. And watch time travel never be used in this series again.
But the only way anyone was able to enter the Realm of Sleep was through time travel, that's what I was referring to. Time travel was used just to enter the Realm of Sleep, and would still be required given the way the story is written even if the big thing was Xehanort using the RoS to recreate himself. The Sleeping Worlds only exist when worlds are lost to the darkness, which is why Yen Sid gets Sora and Riku to time travel to when DI fell to darkness, so they can enter the RoS. Without time travel, the suggested plot would have Sora and Riku intentionally cause a world to fall in the present story in order to get in.


Lest we forget, Xehanort was not the only one who used time travel in KH3D.
 

redcrown

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I think "dream powers" would just make things even more ridiculous. If Xehanort could just dream up his other versions, where is the limit to this power? Why not dream up a complete χ-blade? Or any number of things.
I didn't mean specifically "dream up versions of himself". Just something related to the dream realm. DDD is the game that introduced the sleeping worlds and dream realm, and by the end had to have MX have full strength again.

If you were the writer, wouldn't you logically want to take advantage of this new element, as MX's reason for being able to bring others versions of himself back, instead of introducing another concept and complicated mytho that just overconfuses the hell out of everyone (and even made some people drop the series) and makes less sense?

Edit: I did not know time travel was necessary to dive into the dream realm in the first place. Didn't see your post before I typed this, Audo. Still, this time travel thing really overcomplicated an overcomplicated game and series, imo. DDD would have been simpler without it. even with this I can't deny that I actually still like this game
 
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