The trailer for Kingdom Hearts 4 introduced fans to the world of Quadratum, which bears a striking resemblance to the real world ( hence Sora’s realistic-looking, Final Fantasy-esque makeover). Strelitzia, the girl who resides there and in the Tokyo apartment Sora wakes up in, tells Sora that Quadratum is like an afterworld for people like them, but it’s full of life for everyone else. As series creator Tetsuya Nomura pointed out in a recent interview with Famitsu, it’s a different reality than the one Sora came from, therefore he won’t stay there forever, nor will he keep his new look once he leaves and gets back to his universe.
That being said, there will be plenty of other worlds for Sora and company (once Donald and Goofy find him, of course) to travel to where he’ll maintain his original look — spiky hair, clown shoes and all (or whatever outfit he wears in accordance to the motif of the world he finds himself in). Nomura did confirm that multiple worlds are in development but did not reveal what they are.
Now comes the fun part of the Kingdom hearts hype cycle: Anticipating which Disney and Pixar worlds might make it into the game. Here are the six I need to see in Kingdom Hearts 4 (including one that may have been teased already).
At the beginning of the Kingdom Hearts 4 trailer, fans have spotted the foot of what looked like the AT-ST walker. Such an artifact implied that a Star Wars world will be in the game — specifically, Endor.
For those of you who are not Star Wars fanatics, Endor is a gas planet in the Outer Rim that’s home to the Ewoks, the teddy bear-like creatures from Return of the Jedi, and has more vegetation than any other planet in the galaxy (which explains the red spores growing out of its trees). It’s also where the Empire built a second Death Star and where said Death Star got destroyed, taking the Emperor and Darth Vader with it.
A possible story scenario for this world would be to have Sora, Donald, and Goofy go through Jedi training with Luke Skywalker and follow Princess Leia and Han Solo, along with Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C-3PO, as they raid the Forest Moon of Endor, shoot up some Stormtroopers, and face the AT-ST and Darth Vader as boss fights. Perhaps we’ll be able to see Sora carry a Lightsaber Keyblade. Kingdom Hearts is already like Star Wars in and of itself, so it seems like a natural fit.
Although the world of Pixar’s Onward is filled with all sorts of mythical creatures — elves, unicorns, goblins, trolls, pixies, manticores, and mermaids — the advanced technology that all its inhabitants adopted has rendered almost all magic useless. However, some people still study the art of magic, as 16-year-old elf Ian Lightfoot tries to resurrect his father, Wilden, using a magic staff gifted to him by his mother on his birthday. If Yen Sid and the Three Good Fairies really worked their magic on Sora and the gang, Sora would still be able to cast spells with his Keyblade.
At the risk of this world’s cutscenes being shot-for-shot remakes of the original movie, Sora and the crew could go on a quest with Ian and his brother, Barley, to find the Phoenix Gem and complete the visitation spell that would bring their dad back for a day. Along the way, they would fight Heartless in the form of the aforementioned creatures, take on the pixie bike gang, and fight off the cursed stone dragon — and ride on top of Barley’s van to fight off any flying Heartless while they’re at it. Sora might also give Ian a life lesson that anyone could be his real father, even if it’s not his biological one. He should know, he’s been raised by Donald and Goofy.
Speaking of which …
A Goofy Movie
We’ve visited Queen Minnie at Disney Castle in Kingdom Hearts 2; interacted with Scrooge McDuck and his nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie at Disney Town in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep; and fought alongside Mickey, Donald, and Goofy in their Musketeer forms in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. However, there’s one Disney Toon world that has evaded Nomura’s touch: Goofy’s hometown of Spoonerville in the Goofy Movie universe.
Outside of the Kingdom Hearts franchise, we all know that Goofy has a son named Max based on his appearances in Goof Troop, A Goofy Movie, and An Extremely Goofy Movie, as well as some other TV shows and direct-to-DVD films in the early 2000s. However, Goofy has not mentioned Max once throughout his adventures with Sora and Donald. This world sounds like a crazy idea even by Nomura’s standards since any memory Goofy, and Pete by extension, may have of his life in his movie/TV universe has been wiped clean, but it would be fun to see how his interaction with Max, who might probably be a young college graduate, would play out. If Nomura follows through with it, maybe it won’t be so awkward.
Destiny Islands aside, the Polynesian islands where Moana takes place would be the third nautical-themed world in the Kingdom Hearts series after The Little Mermaid and Pirates of the Caribbean (OK, maybe the fourth if you include Neverland from Peter Pan since it’s just an island in an endless ocean). In the movie, the titular character is chosen by the ocean to return the heart of Te Fiti to Te Ka, a volcanic demon who caused a blight on Moana’s island after demi-god Maui stole the relic in order to give humanity the power of creation. Moana seeks out Maui to guide her toward the island of Te Fiti to restore it and save her people.
The story would follow closely to the original source material — though hopefully not as close as the Tangled and Frozen worlds did in Kingdom Hearts 3 — and gameplay for this world would play out in the style of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker as Sora and the gang would fight off pirate-like Heartless threatening to sink them to the depths of the sea. They could also take on the Kakamora, Tamatoa, and Te Ka as possible boss fights.
Zootopia would be a fun, furry world for Sora and the gang to run around in. Donald and Goofy would retain their original forms and Sora would become a fursona of whatever animal Nomura would choose to draw him as. He could be a rabbit, tiger, bird, fox, or a lion since he was already one in the Pride Lands in Kingdom Hearts 2.
In Zootopia, rabbit Officer Judy Hopps and con artist fox Nick Wilde form a partnership to find all the predator animals that have been kidnapped, only to discover that the mayor’s assistant, a lamb, was the brains behind the attempted takeover of the city. The world’s story in Kingdom Hearts 4 would be set after the events of the film, where Nick leaves his con artist days behind and becomes Judy’s partner in the ZPD, which leaves a lot of room for creativity. Sora and the gang would help the cops solve crimes and investigate cold cases à la TellTale or an episode of Gotham.
Winner of this year’s Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, Encanto was Disney’s runaway hit of 2021 both in theaters and on Disney+, which started streaming the film on Christmas Eve — just a month after its theatrical premiere. Set in a magical realm in the mountains of Colombia, the film finally Mirabel, the only member of the Madrigal family who doesn’t have any magical powers that would benefit the rural titular village, as she discovers the sentient house in which she and her multigenerational family reside is falling apart and their magic is fading.
With hit songs like We Don’t Talk About Bruno, Surface Pressure, and Dos Oruguitas, it’s easy to assume there would be a plotline that involves rhythm segments set to those songs just like Atlantica in Kingdom Hearts 2. But Casita didn’t think of giving anyone the gift of music, let alone Mirabel, so that would be off the table. Instead, Sora would have to fight off the Heartless that would manifest as the decay of the House of Madrigal and the generational trauma the family suffers from as a result of the matriarch’s high expectations for everyone.