There’s a high chance that Kingdom Hearts III will receive a few different types of DLC, whether in the form of the tried-and-true “Final Mix” edition, or regularly released content packs. As Disney worlds are a major part of the entire Kingdom Hearts franchise, I’m sure it’s likely we could get some new worlds to explore. Where they’ll fit into the story remains to be seen, but I have no doubt that the talented folks at Square Enix could find a way to make it work.
There are lots of new and returning worlds that would get fans excited, especially with the potential for Keyblade transformations based on these classic films. And after seeing how amazing Kingdom Hearts III‘s upgrade to Pirates of the Caribbean was, it would be fascinating to revisit worlds that didn’t quite get the best adaptation.
A few great returning worlds would be:
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Halloweentown is probably the most widely-loved Disney world in all of Kingdom Hearts, which is why I was surprised to see it not return in Kingdom Hearts III. Making a plot wouldn’t be too difficult, as The Nightmare Before Christmas has a seemingly endless amount of potential when combined with the whimsical tone of Kingdom Hearts. Heartless have corrupted each Holiday World, taken their respective doors, and are destroying Halloweentown. Sora arrives to help Jack by fighting the Heartless, finding the doors, and sealing them with the Keyblade. Badda boom badda bing, KH3 has the Pumpkin King.
Kingdom Hearts II bit the bullet and adapted The Return of Jafar, the most boring and empty direct-to-DVD Disney sequel. This means Kingdom Hearts III can adapt the third and final Aladdin film, The Prince of Thieves, which is far better than it has any right to be. Aladdin’s real father, the King of Thieves, has been corrupted by the Heartless, and now seeks to use his band and the Heartless to turn his son to his side and take over Agrabah. Sora, Donald, and Goofy arrive on the scene, happy to help their old friend come to terms with his father, closing off the Aladdin story for good. Sneak Kurt Zisa back in as a secret boss again, and you have a hefty and enjoyable world.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Since it was technically a “sleeping” world in Dream Drop Distance, let’s give Hunchback another go with a fresh/rebooted start. As one of Disney’s darker animated films, Hunchback‘s world could be an altered take on the film’s story, which was loosely covered in Dream Drop Distance. Frollo’s xenophobia and paranoia could be taken to the next level when Maleficent informs him of Sora and the gang coming from another world. Cue Frollo unleashing the Heartless on France in the hopes of eliminating all outsiders, and Sora fighting them alongside Quasimodo, Phoebus, and Esmerelda. Also, the Feast of Fools would be the perfect place for some minigames, and could actually have crowds, instead of the big empty plaza we got in Dream Drop Distance.
There’s a bit of bias here, since Tron is one of my absolute favorite movies, but bringing back The Grid actually makes sense in-terms of the existing Kingdom Hearts story. Dream Drop Distance showed us that, as is the case in Tron Legacy, Tron has been brainwashed by Clu, turning him into the evil Rinzler. Remembering the dream world and ready to use his newfound “Power of Waking” (assuming he gets in by the end of Kingdom Hearts III), Sora would feel compelled to go back to The Grid to save Tron, and his whole world in the process. This is one of the few worlds that actually has an incomplete story in Kingdom Hearts at the moment, making it ripe for revisiting.
Some new worlds that would work perfectly include:
I was hesitant to include The Incredibles, but Sora’s adventures as a hero in Big Hero Six can now give him a unique perspective on the hero-ban that the world of The Incredibles is subject to. Sora would naturally want to prove that heroes are good and should be celebrated, a feeling that the Parr family could certainly relate to. Syndrome’s hatred of Mr. Incredible leads to a Heartless/Unversed infestation, making the “Keyblade Hero Three” trio jump into action against the hero-ban. There’s a good deal of room for some interesting story-telling here, and I hope Square Enix feels the same way.
Is it just me, or do those treasure orbs in Kingdom Hearts III‘s Gummiship segments really look like the Map Sphere from Treasure Planet? I’m going to be stubborn and view it as a reference to the cult-favorite commercial flop, Treasure Planet. Maybe a hidden/new treasure orb arrives in Gummispace, which reveals a new world when solved. Sora arrives at Treasure Planet and meets Jim Hawkins, a young man who follows the suspicious John Silver in search of a legendary treasure. John’s greed combined with Maleficent’s meddling leads to the Heartless running loose all over the soon-to-explode planet. Sora and friends have to save Jim and try to turn John to the light. It’s a fairly standard Kingdom Hearts plotline, but it would still be a blast.
Not the Eddie Murphy movie. Let’s get obscure, and base this world on the hidden gem Haunted Mansion game from the PS2/Gamecube/Xbox era of games. In the game, you played as the new groundskeeper for the titular mansion. Using the magic light of your lantern, it was up to you to battle ghosts and ghouls throughout the mansion as you learn of its dark history. Now, the phrase “magic light” is already veering dangerously close to Kingdom Hearts territory, so having Sora accompany the groundskeeper as an unexpected apprentice/intern feels fairly natural. The mansion’s spirits have been disturbed and twisted by the arrival of the Heartless, giving both Sora and the groundskeeper a reason to traverse the frightful estate while using light to battle darkness.
The Sword in the Stone
Though it isn’t Disney’s most remembered classic, The Sword in the Stone is where Merlin, an important wizard in Kingdom Hearts, originated from. Unless he’s been retconned to come from Radiant Garden, I’d love to see Merlin’s home world in all its medieval glory. Learning more about Merlin, and why he left his world, would be great, but my main reason for including this world is Arthur. For most of Kingdom Hearts, Sora has looked up to or befriended the residents of each world (i.e. Hercules, Aladdin, Jack Sparrow, etc.). I’d like to see Sora in more of a mentor role here, as Arthur finds himself idolizing Sora in his quest to become a knight. It would be the perfect way to show Sora’s growth and maturity over the series, as he could see himself in Arthur’s heroic aspirations and brave heart. In addition to this, Madam Mim in her many forms would be a colorful and varied boss-fight, and an Excalibur-based Keyblade is just too good to pass up.
The Black Cauldron
I recently learned that Japan likes The Black Cauldron a bit more than the West, as its main hero and main villain were both major parts of an enormous dark-ride at Tokyo Disneyland. It makes sense that The Black Cauldron could be a world in Kingdom Hearts, especially with the movie’s unique and unapologetically dark tone. Sora could arrive in Prydain just as Taran’s journey begins. The Horned King is the perfect antagonist to use the Heartless, as he could spawn them in place of his Cauldron-born army from the movie. Sora could show Taran that friendship/the light are more powerful than any darkness, leading to a climactic battle between the darkness-enhanced Horn King and Sora, alongside Taran and Gurgi. Another fairly standard story, but one that fits Kingdom Hearts quite well.
Though Ralph appears in Kingdom Hearts III as a link, it astonishes me that his film didn’t get the Kingdom Hearts treatment. It’s a movie that takes place in video games, it just seems really easy to adapt. Swap out the film’s bug monsters for Heartless, have Ralph recognize Sora from his game and ask for him help in saving the arcade, and call it a day. You could have some fun background cameos from other Square Enix characters in the background of Game Central Station as well, like The Bouncer or a Slime from Dragon Quest. End on a feel-good moment of Sora saying something like “well if I was a video game character, I’d want to say thanks to the player who’s been helping me all along!”, and you have a wonderful new world for Kingdom Hearts III.
A Goofy Movie Seriously, did Goofy abandon his son or does Max Goof just not exist in this universe?
And those are my picks for which Disney worlds I’d like to see come to Kingdom Hearts III as DLC. Do you agree with my choices? Leave your own suggestions in the comments, and stick around for more Kingdom Hearts III content!