For six years, Kingdom Hearts fans have been waiting for the third game in the series. And now, with six games in total, the plot is a near labyrinthine mess of connections and revelations. It's with that in mind that I have decided to unravel the plot of the entire series for those who may have missed the opportunity to play some of the spin-offs and those who just want a refresher before diving into the new game. Today we explore Part 4 of our ongoing feature.
Ten years have passed since Ansem the Wise's fall and the rise of Xehanort's Heartless. The worlds have slowly been changing as the Heartless begin spreading their destruction outward. However, Sora, Riku, and Kairi have been living peacefully on Destiny Islands with no idea as to what is approaching. this series of events and the story picks up with Sora, Riku, and Kairi living peacefully on Destiny Islands. Their only concern is building a raft in order to visit the countless worlds that are surely out there. Riku and Sora know that Kairi once lived on another world though she has long forgotten what it was like there. As they gather the necessary materials for their raft, Sora and Riku have many friendly competitions to see who would get to share the star-sharped paopu fruit with Kairi. It’s said that if two people share one, their destinies will become intertwined.
Thinking of the fruit, Sora visits a secret cave that he and his friends used to frequently visit to draw on the walls. He remembers drawing portraits of one another with Kairi and, on a whim, adds to the picture him handing her the paopu fruit. His memories are interrupted by a man in a brown cloak who tells him that this world has been connected to the darkness and soon it will disappear forever. Sora isn’t scared by the man’s words but is confused when he suddenly disappears. Putting the encounter from his mind, he joins his friends in finishing the raft. That evening, he is sitting alone with Kairi when she mentions that Riku has changed. Sora doesn't understand what she means and is shocked when she suggests that she and Sora should just go off together. Before Sora can respond, she shrugs it off as a joke and tells him that she’s not afraid of the journey anymore because she can always return home. As they part ways for the night Kairi asks Sora to never change.
Meanwhile, Donald Duck goes to see King Mickey but finds that he has disappeared. The only sign of him is a letter tucked in Pluto's mouth. Donald immediately runs off to Goofy and tells him what happened. The news soon spreads to Queen Minnie and her handmaiden, Daisy. The king’s letter tells them that he feels that trouble is brewing. One by one, all the stars in the sky have been disappearing. Disaster is approaching soon, and he needs to investigate why this is happening. While he does so, he requests that Donald and Goofy search for someone with the “key” and stick with him. He believes that if they go to Traverse Town and speak with a man named Leon then he will point them in the right direction. Donald and Goofy say their goodbyes to Minnie and Daisy before being joined by Jiminy Cricket, who will chronicle their travels.
Jiminy tells them of how his world disappeared and its inhabitants were scattered. As far as he knew, he was the only one to make it to the Mickey's castle. While traveling to the different worlds on their search, Donald and Goofy agree that they’ll have to blend with each new world in order to protect its natural order. Taking the gummi ship maintained by Chip and Dale, the two set off for Traverse Town with Pluto following after them at the last moment.
Unable to sleep, Sora spots a storm heading toward the island. He realizes that the raft could be destroyed and rushes toward it. When he arrives, he discovers that Riku and Kairi's boats are already there. He sees no sign of them though as a dark portal opens and begins spilling out countless Heartless. He finds Riku who seems strangely excited by everything that is going on. He asks Sora to join him in stepping through the portal to darkness so they can finally visit other worlds. Sora doesn't care about any of that and is only worried for Kairi's safety. Riku says that she will come with them as tendrils of pure blackness begin to envelop the both of them. He declares that he isn't afraid of the darkness while Sora struggles to pull him from the tendrils. He is unable to reach his friend though and is almost consumed by the darkness. He is only saved by the Keyblade that suddenly forms in his hand. A voice echoes the weapon's name in his mind as Sora escapes the darkness. However, there is no sign of Riku.
Using the Keyblade, Sora fights through the Heartless until he reaches the secret cave. There he finds a dazed Kairi. He reaches out for her when a gust of wind blows her toward him, but she seemingly passes through his body. The same wind blows him away too until he stands on only a small fragment of his former home. He’s able to fight off a large Heartless but is still sucked through a dark portal.
Arriving in Traverse Town, Goofy notices that a star has gone out. They start their search for Leon while Pluto discovers the unconscious body of Sora. The happy-go-lucky dog wakes Sora, and the boy quickly learns that he’s arrived in another world. He begins exploring and soon comes across Cid (from Final Fantasy 7) who confirms that he’s in a new world. Sora decides that he should start searching for Kairi and Riku in the hope that they were also brought here.
During his search, he sees a man lose his heart to a gang of Heartless. Sora is unable to save the man but is able to fight the monsters off when they turn on him. It appears as though the creatures have infected every world, and this is confirmed when he is confronted by Leon. The man is actually Squall from Final Fantasy 8, but he changed his name out of regret that he was unable to save his home. He explains that as long as Sora possesses the Keyblade, the Heartless will continually attack him and try to steal his heart. The two duel to see if Sora is worthy of the blade, but the pace is too much for the boy and he passes out. Leon’s friend Yuffie arrives, and the two take him to a safe place. Leon still finds it strange that Sora was chosen by the blade but realizes that he isn’t in a position to beg.
Donald and Goofy’s search leads them to Aerith, who recognizes them as envoys of the king. She tells them that she also knows that other worlds exist though they’ve never been connected until recently. This is because of the Heartless, beings without hearts who are attracted to the darkness within others. Since almost no one possesses a heart without darkness, everyone is at risk. She also explains that a man named Ansem had studied the Heartless and collected his findings in a report though no one knew where he or this report was now.
Leon gives Sora the same information Aerith gave Donald and Goofy when he finally awakens. He decides the two parties should meet, but the arrival of the Heartless interrupts these plans. The battle spills out of the hotel room they were in and into the streets. It's then that Sora finally meets with Donald and Goofy. The trio team up to take down a particularly strong Heartless. Afterward they invite Sora along with them, promising that they could look for Kairi and Riku during their journey. Donald doesn’t know if they’ll actually find his friends but realizes they need him to find King Mickey. At Leon’s encouragement, Sora agrees to join the two.
In an unknown place, a group of villains from various Disney worlds are watching Sora’s victory. Jafar, Hades, Ursula, Captain Hook, and Oogie Boogie are all amazed that he took down the Heartless and attribute it to the power of the Keyblade. No matter what, they agree that he must be stopped. Their discussion ends with the arrival of Maleficent. She muses on whether he’ll be able to conquer the darkness or if he’ll be swallowed by it.
The first stop on Sora, Donald, and Goofy’s journey takes them to Wonderland (land of Alice in Wonderland) where they immediately see the White Rabbit rushing off to see the Queen. Following after him, they see that a young girl named Alice is on trial before the Queen of Hearts for the attempted theft of her heart. The girl’s trial is a farce and Sora wants to help, but Donald and Goofy insist that they shouldn’t meddle in other worlds’ business. When the Queen calls for Alice’s head, Sora can’t help but step in and declares her innocent. The Queen asks for proof so Sora heads out to find evidence.
He explores all of Wonderland and soon discovers the evidence that he needs. Despite the overwhelming evidence, the Queen still insists on having Alice's head. She sends her card soldiers after him, Donald, and Goofy, but they handily defeat them. He rushes to Alice's cage, opening it to find that the girl has completely vanished. They realize that she must have been taken by the Heartless in the confusion. While trying to return to their ship, a large Heartless ambushes them, but they're able to defeat it. However, the battle reveals the hidden location of the keyhole to Wonderland's heart. The Keyblade suddenly sends a beam of light to the keyhole, locking it. With it locked, the world's heart cannot never be reached by the Heartless and consumed. Hoping that they’ll discover Alice and the rest of their friends on another world, the trio set out.
Their travels bring them to the edge of a world known as Deep Jungle (land of Tarzan). Goofy wonders if the king might be there but Donald doubts it and suggest they move on. Sora thinks that Riku and Kairi might be there though and insists on checking it out. Donald refuses and as they argue, they crash land in the world. Sora finds himself separated from the others and is soon attacked by a leopard named Sabor. A jungle man named Tarzan rescues him, and Sora tries to explain he’s looking for his friends. At first he explains that he’s looking for Goofy and Donald but, remembering the argument that landed them there, Sora instead asks after Riku and Kairi. Tarzan then leads him to his friends.
Meanwhile, Goofy and Donald are lost in the jungle with Donald insisting that they don’t need Sora. Goofy is still worried about him, but they are soon discovered by a man named Clayton. He takes them back to the base camp where Tarzan and Sora have already arrived. Tarzan introduces Sora to Jane, and she asks if the boy is there to see the gorillas. Clayton dismisses the trio, wishing nothing more than to hunt gorillas, but Jane reminds him that they’re there to study, not hunt, them. At first Sora and Donald are happy to see one another but soon dismiss each other again because of the argument. Their standoff is broken up by Goofy who shows them that he found a gummi block, one of the materials used to build gummi ships. Realizing that the king may be there, Donald and Sora put aside their differences for now.
The search turns up nothing, but Clayton insists that their friends must be with the gorillas. Only Tarzan knows where they are though, and he’s kept it secret up until now. But the sight of Sora desperate to find his friends changes his mind. Clayton follows and tries to shoot one of the gorillas, but Donald is able to stop him. The gorillas’ leader, Kerchak, sees Clayton’s actions and rebukes Tarzan’s pleas. Clayton tries to explain himself, but no one believes him. Storming off, he is attacked by the Heartless that fill the jungle. The shots from his gun alert the others, and they go off to find him. The search is fruitless and when they return, they discover that Jane and the gorillas have been kidnapped.
Sora and the rest find Clayton commanding the Heartless to hunt the gorillas. The darkness in his heart has consumed him, granting him temporary control of the monsters. After a fierce battle, the hunter is crushed beneath the large Heartless that he was riding. Sora's actions finally earn the gorillas' trust. They lead Sora and his friends to Deep Jungle's hidden keyhole which he locks. Having earned the gorillas’ trust, they lead Sora and his friends to the Deep Jungle’s hidden keyhole which he locks. Tarzan is eventually able to communicate that friends are always in a person’s heart. While they weren’t able to find Mickey, Riku, or Kairi, Tarzan’s words help repair the rift between Sora and Donald.
The group sets out while the villains discuss what drew the Heartless to a far off world like Deep Jungle. Maleficent explains that it was Clayton’s lust for power that called out to them. They all declare that Clayton’s fate would not be their own though some are concerned about Sora closing the keyholes. Maleficent assures them that it would take ages for him to lock them all. Besides, he remained completely unaware of their other plans: the seven Princesses of Heart. She reveals that the girls are slowly falling into their hands before bringing in a confused Alice.
Sora, Donald, and Goofy are unsure of what to do with the gummi block they found so they return to Traverse Town to ask Leon. He explains that every world has a keyhole and that they lead to the heart of that world. The Heartless are able to enter through this keyhole and eventually cause the world to disappear. Locking them is the only way to guarantee their protection. Leon tells them to visit Cid to explain the gummi block, and the old man explains that it will help them find new worlds. Before sending them on their way, he hands them an old book that he had just finished restoring and asks them to deliver it to a certain person.
When Sora arrives at the house, he sees of vision of Kairi that reminisces of their times together. It’s interrupted by the the appearance of Merlin who says he was instructed by Mickey to help them. He tells them that the book they brought is special (since it’s the one that he showed Terra, Aqua, and Ventus years ago) though some of its pages have gone missing in the chaos of the past ten years. He teaches Sora some basic magic before introducing him to the Fairy Godmother who also provides guidance. Taking their leave, they’re suddenly attacked by a group of Heartless, but it’s Riku who saves them.
He tells them that he hasn’t seen any sign of Kairi since they were split up. Sora is relieved to finally find his friend again before showing him the Keyblade and introducing Sora and Donald.He asks Riku to join them, but Donald refuses. While they argue, Riku disappears from sight. Despite him wondering why Riku left, Sora is simply satisfied to see him safe. They reunite with Cid, Aerith, and Leon who all tell them about how Maleficent had been controlling the Heartless for years. It was partly her fault that their world was lost in the first place. They also mention Ansem again and how he dedicated his life to studying the Heartless.
Unknown to all of them, Maleficent and Riku are watching their discussion. She tells him that while Riku was searching for his friends, Sora merely replaced him with new ones. Maleficent convinces him that he shouldn’t care about him anymore. Instead, she will help him find what he's so desperately looking for. As Leon and the others finish their story, they tell him of a bell in town that no one can reach. Sora and his friends manage to find a way to it, revealing Traverse Town’s keyhole and a massive Heartless. They defeat it handily before locking the keyhole, forever keeping Traverse Town safe from total destruction. Relieved at their handiwork, they set out to continue their search for Kairi and King Mickey.
Their journey takes them to Agrabah (land of Aladdin) but as they arrive, Maleficent and Jafar talk about the search for the world’s keyhole. It will be found eventually, but he is having more difficulty finding Princess Jasmine. He doesn’t see why she’s so important but Maleficent reminds him that Jasmine is one of the Princesses of Heart. If they don’t have all seven girls, then they won’t be able to open the door they reveal when brought together. Jafar swears to redouble his efforts and calls forth a swarm of Heartless.
Sora, Donald, and Goofy are soon found by Jasmine, and she tells them of Jafar’s rise to power thanks to the darkness. She would have be captured if it hadn’t been for Aladdin, but he’s currently searching for a safe place for them to hide. Jafar suddenly appears and Sora tells her to run while they hold his Heartless off. Losing track of the princess, the trio head into the desert in hopes of finding the Cave of Wonders. They find the mysterious cave as well as Aladdin outside though he's trapped in quicksand. Rescuing him proves difficult though as they are surrounded by a horde of Heartless. Aladdin ends up saving all of them though as he uses a magic lamp and its genie to make the Heartless disappear.
Recovering from the encounter, Aladdin introduces himself and Genie, a magical being of the lamp that he had found in the Cave of Wonders. Genie then informs his master that he only gets three wishes and one has already been used. Aladdin tells of his dream to be with Jasmine though since she is a princess and he is a mere street rat, it's nearly impossible. He could use his next wish to become a prince but puts the idea on hold when Sora, Donald, and Goofy recognize Jasmine' name and tells him that she’s in trouble. Worried, the group rushes back to the city but along the way Genie tells them of his dreams of freedom. Aladdin, considering Genie a good friend, promises to free him after they save Jasmine.
They find Jasmine in the clutches of Jafar and Aladdin uses his second wish to save her. It’s interrupted though when Jafar steals the lamp and the princess before disappearing back to the Cave of Wonders. With complete control of Genie, Jafar uses his first wish to find the keyhole which is tucked deep within the cave. The group finally stumbles upon Jafar and demand Jasmine's return. He refuses and reveals that she is one of seven Princesses of Heart. He then uses his second wish to tell Genie to crush them. A battle rages with Genie resisting as best as he can while Sora and his friends attack Jafar. Growing desperate, the villain uses his final wish to become an incredibly powerful genie himself.
The odds seem low, but they manage to wrestle control of Jafar’s lamp from Iago and imprison him. Sora is then able to lock the keyhole of Agrabah though Jasmine has disappeared during the scuffle. Aladdin begs them to take him along on their journey, but they can’t since it would meddle with the worlds’ order. Genie reminds Aladdin that he still has one wish left and that he could use to get Jasmine back. Aladdin thinks about for a second but selflessly wishes for Genie to have his freedom. Genie is absolutely ecstatic to be free after thousands of years and goes to explore the worlds, telling Aladdin that they'll always be friends. The new friends all say their goodbyes before leaving Agrabah.
It isn't long before the other villains discuss Jafar’s defeat. Hades states that it could have been avoided had Riku helped out, but the boy states he did his mission by securing Jasmine. Maleficent states that Jafar let himself be too drawn in by the darkness and was punished for it. Still, she praises Riku for his good work and, as part of their deal, she asks Captain Hook to take Riku to Kairi. Riku asks what the catch is but the witch insists that there’s no catch since he’s like a son to her. The boy doesn’t believe her so instead she reminds him that she kept her end of the bargain. Riku warily goes off with Captain Hook without saying another word.
The story continues tomorrow with the ongoing search for Kairi and the growing rivalry between Riku and Sora. Be sure to keep up by reading Parts 1-3 of the Timeline:
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