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Xehanort's Character in the DLC



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So, I think it's safe to say that Master Xehanort's final scene was a bit polarizing for many long-time fans. While I myself didn't have too much of an issue with it, it was a bit of an abrupt transition after all the horrible things he's done, even in this game alone. He was always doing them with a greater purpose in mind, but outside the reports, he never really showed any other side beyond a lust for power and knowledge. I mean Terra-Xehanort and his heartless were shown as complete sociopaths.

With the DLC showing different events, and Nomura seeming to really be taking feedback, I wonder if he will use this as an opportunity to not retcon Xehanort's ending, but maby use it so that our last image of Xehanort is a demise many other fans wanted. Sort of having his cake and eating it too; the original ending is still canon but our last glimpse of Xehanort is perhaps similar to Terra-Xehanort's end, which I thought was a perfect demise. Below are my thoughts/hopes:
  • As Sora explores Scala, he somehow gains access to Xehanort's memories, learning how he got off Destiny Islands, traveled the worlds and found Scala, his training, and of course his descent into darkness. These memories are sprinkled in between Sora following the hearts of the guardians. The MoM and Xehanort talking is one example of such a memory.
  • The memories explain why Xehanort turned to darkness, but without making him too sympathetic a character. His evil nature is still preserved and shown front and center throughout the DLC.
  • Kairi gets her chance to beat the living crap out of MX after what he did. It looks like this will indeed be the case based off the trailer.
  • Similar to the above, Aqua and Ven defeat Terra-Xehanort and Roxas, Xion, and Axel get their chance to defeat Xemnas after everything he did to them.
Not sure how this will be accomplished without rewriting the end, but since this is Kingdom Heart, there will most likely be a convoluted explanation for it. Or perhaps Nomura is retconning it. Regardless, since this will indeed be the last time we see Xehanort (at least I hope), I really hope it closes off his character in a way that all fans will enjoy.
 

Ryuman

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Something I don't really get with Xehanort, and maybe it's just poor comprehension on my part, but there's a strange disconnect in how he's portrayed just within the context of 3 itself. In the end you have him talking about Darkness as if it's some horrible mistake by humanity he wanted to undo, but I feel his secret report is a bit closer to the kind of intentions we've come to know since BBS. Discussing Darkness as a terrifying yet important power to master; something to wield in balance with the Light. Even in the Ultimania, Nomura describes his fall as becoming an 'Admirer of Darkness'.

I've just always felt like there was a layer in-between that wasn't explained. An angle we don't see that explains this odd disparity. I do think the DLC will help illuminate this, since it seems to be injecting some of that rough setting Nomura plotted out for Xehanort's past. That said I agree the ending scene as-is will probably always be a bit jarring without some kind of extra clarification.
 
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Something I don't really get with Xehanort, and maybe it's just poor comprehension on my part, but there's a strange disconnect in how he's portrayed just within the context of 3 itself. In the end you have him talking about Darkness as if it's some horrible mistake by humanity he wanted to undo, but I feel his secret report is a bit closer to the kind of intentions we've come to know since BBS. Discussing Darkness as a terrifying yet important power to master; something to wield in balance with the Light. Even in the Ultimania, Nomura describes his fall as becoming an 'Admirer of Darkness'.

I've just always felt like there was a layer in-between that wasn't explained. An angle we don't see that explains this odd disparity. I do think the DLC will help illuminate this, since it seems to be injecting some of that rough setting Nomura plotted out for Xehanort's past. That said I agree the ending scene as-is will probably always be a bit jarring without some kind of extra clarification.
Yeah, that was exactly my thought too. My main problem was how abrupt and inconsistent it was coming from a guy who literally found darkness to be the heart's true essence. I think someone actually translated the original text and found the actual translation to be close to his original goal; a more balanced universe to be controlled in order to ensure neither light nor darkness is used improperly. So, perhaps the localization was simply off.

Honestly, I first thought that his end was meant to imply he was hijacked by darkness itself at one point in his life and it perverted his original mission. It would fit with Eraqus accusing him of being taken by darkness and Xehanort refusing to give a definite answer. That darkness was purged from him by Sora, which allowed his more "pure" intentions to surface.

I also think Xehanort knows much more than he lets on. For example, I think he knew Braig was Luxu. If Braig approached Xehanort, that would mean Xehanort was in Radiant Garden and did not find it odd some random guard approached him. I don't see that working simply because Xehanort is too intelligent to be so easily fooled. Then there's the fact that Xehanort chose Braig as his first vessel for a piece of his heart; why him of all people? Yeah, he was an apprentice of Ansem, but I think Xehanort knew about his connections to the past and wanted to exploit them and used his heart to better control him.

I think Braig/Xigbar is a bit of a split personality; they are obeying the subconscious desires of Xehanort's heart, but are also fighting against it to complete the mission handed down by MoM, which I think was to find and observe exceptional fighters for the MoM to assemble. Xehanort drew out all these exceptional people: Roxas, Xion, and Namine would not have existed without him nor would Sora, Riku, Kairi, Lea, and others begin to rise to the ranks of keyblade wielders, so perhaps that's what the MoM was using Xehanort for. He needed an army to fight against a looming threat; the dandelions, tested keyblade wielders of exceptional skill, were just the start of building up that army. Xehanort filled in the missing pieces for him without realizing it while the MoM went to other wordlines to instigate similar events to find fighters in those realities as well.
 

ZeVaine

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Considering Xehanort's whole plan has to be significantly influenced by the MoM, based on the trailers (he shows him the black coat, maybe show him how to use power of waking and even Time Travel?), I think the whole "game" between Eraqus and Xehanort was always exactly that... a bet between two idealists on who could go all the way and control Kingdom Hearts. Makes me think it's representative of some idea or desire the MoM has.


Xehanort wasn't afraid to go the distance, even confidently using Darkness and Light as see fit, and neither was Eraqus to some extent... he did try to kill Ven. Eraqus might have even used the power of waking at some point in the past? Talking about the light from the past...

It's less surprising when you really think about Xehanort and Eraqus' competitve nature. Though it is funny that Xehanort's personality went from "I'm willing to let everything in existence become nothing to win! " to "Uh.. what... shoot I lost. Well, it was fun guys. Guess I'm checking out!"
 

Ballad of Caius

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Though it is funny that Xehanort's personality went from "I'm willing to let everything in existence become nothing to win! " to "Uh.. what... shoot I lost. Well, it was fun guys. Guess I'm checking out!"
He's old, which is a point people seem to forget that Xehanort himself established in BBS. If he considered he was too old back then, imagine 13 years later. I imagine part of what kept him going was his lust and the fact he was body hopping.

Xehanort's defeat in KHIII is kinda similar to Ardyn's in FFXV: they were both tired, so they gave up.
 

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The biggest problem with the Xehanort Saga is that it hardly even hinted at why Xehanort is the way he is. As far back as Kingdom Hearts 2, Nomura voiced his intention to explain Xehanort's youth in depth but it just never happened, which I think is a tragedy. Some details in BBS even made it seem like Square was gearing up to make a game set in Xehanort's youth, but again, nothing. In a post-KH3 interview Nomura said that Xehanort's final moments would have made more sense if that story had been told, but that since the Saga is over, it likely never will be. I think that what we see of him in Re:Mind is going to be a last-ditch effort to finally contextualize his character. I dunno. I lament the fact that he could have been a compelling villain, but wasn't. I guess we'll see what we see when it comes out.
 
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Nazo

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The biggest problem with the Xehanort Saga is that it hardly even hinted at why Xehanort is the way he is. As far back as Kingdom Hearts 2, Nomura voiced his intention to explain Xehanort's youth in depth but it just never happened, which I think is a tragedy. Some details in BBS even made it seem like Square was gearing up to make a game set in Xehanort's youth, but again, nothing. In a post-KH3 interview Nomura said that Xehanort's final moments would have made more sense if that story had been told, but that since the Saga is over, it likely never will be. I think that what we see of him in Re:Mind is going to be a last-ditch effort to finally contextualize his character. I dunno. I lament the fact that he could have been a compelling villain, but wasn't. I guess we'll see what we see when it comes out.
Preciesly. Even before KH3, people were confused over exactly what it was that Xehanort wanted. It was never explicitly made clear. The Secret Reports throughout the series provide a lot of explanation, but they offer several different motivations. Xehanort is simply curious and obsessed with finding answers to the past, but he also wants to bring balance to the universe, but he also wants to become a higher existence, but he also...

All of these motivations work together as a single motivation, sure. He wants to find the truth, and the truth will lead him to the true Kingdom Hearts which will allow him to become a higher existence and use his newfound ultimate power to bring balance to the universe. But, the games themselves really don't do a great job telling you that. If you neglect the secret reports, Xehanort's primary motivation seems to be sheer curiosity. Eraqus himself literally says "You would risk an apocalpyse out of sheer curioisty?" and that's one of the only scenes in the series where his motivations are discussed outright. If you don't go digging for it yourself, Xehanort's motivations really aren't well-explained.

And then KH3 comes along and introduces a new problem, which is that there is very obviously a big part of Xehanort's backstory that we have never been shown that contextualizes everything about his character. That missing piece is why the transitions from Scala Xehanort to BBS Master Xehanort to KH3 Master Xehanort seem like something doesn't add up. Even in the KH3 Ultimania Nomura mentions how he wanted to show how Xehanort went from 'that kid playing chess to an admirer of darkness'. Which means Nomura didn't backpeddle on Xehanort's character. He's still referring to him as an 'admirer of darkness' once he gets older. But how Xehanort got to that point, as well as how his motivations shifted from wanting to create a new world to wanting to reset the world, we never get to see how and why that happened. So Xehanort's speech at the end, though it still makes sense, is super blindsiding because we're missing backstory that only Nomura is currently aware of. I hope the scenes we've seen of Xehanort with the MoM in the ReMIND trailers are a hint that said backstory is finally going to be at least somewhat explained to us. Even if they can't make it a full playable experience, to simply know the full lore behind Xehanort's character in any capacity would be very welcome and is my #1 hope for the DLC.
 

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I have to concur. I'm one of the people who liked Xehanort's ending in KH3, at least taken on its own merits. It hit the right emotional spots for me, but to be honest, I couldn't really tell you why. After all, there is a huge disconnect between the Xehanort we got at the end there and the Xehanort we've come to know.
Frankly, I think the new voice actor made a lot of the difference. I know the Japanese voice actors who voiced him, being related, sounded very similar to each other, but being an English player and hearing Rutger Hauer's voice after being so used to Leonard Nimoy was such a radical shift that I started looking at Xehanort as almost a brand new character just by virtue of the totally different style Hauer was putting into him. It almost feels like KH3 Xehanort was rewritten as a character specifically to fit Hauer's unique take (which I know is malarkey since of course Nomura catered it to the Japanese VA's, but that's just how it ended up feeling to me). I could never see Nimoy's Xehanort giving that final monologue, and I think that's why I feel so much more content with his ending as it was than most other people do. With Hauer's performance, it feels much more appropriate. If Nimoy had stuck around to voice him in 3, then I'd probably have much more of a problem with this ending, because Nimoy's performance really sold the dark, slimy, evil side of his character, and the abrupt shift toward "misunderstood villain" would have felt wildly out-of-character. But Hauer's performance was much softer, smoother, and emphasized his character's age more than his malice, so that helped to sell the idea just a little more.
To be honest, as much as I adore Nimoy, I actually think Hauer's voice felt more like the natural kind of voice that Xehanort's younger incarnations would grow into. When I hear Benjamin Diskin as Young Xehanort, or Richard Epcar as Ansem (whom I understand is designed to resemble how Xehanort looked and sounded in his prime), Rutger Hauer's voice sounds like what those two would more closely sound like when their characters grow into old age. Nimoy's voice makes it sound like Xehanort developed some kind of throat problem in his later years.
To me, the greatest discrepancy that ReMIND needs to elucidate is the timeline of Xehanort's younger years, and exactly how he went from chess kid to time traveler. Because it seems to be that even in his youth, Xehanort was comfortable turning toward the dark side, certainly enough to go time-hopping for his evil older self. Not to mention that it's unclear exactly what the trajectory of his younger years even is, as flashbacks on Destiny Islands seem to indicate that Xehanort was older than his chess-playing self BEFORE going to Scala ad Caelum, which obviously makes no sense. And not knowing the timeline of his character throws any understanding of his character development out the window. So, yeah, I'd say that's probably the biggest gap they need to fill, but luckily it looks like they intend to do just that.
 
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