The 1,000,000 munny Kingdom Hearts question.
The initial announcement for Kingdom Hearts 3 filled fans with joy, nostalgia, and most importantly, hype. But afterwards came a burning question: are we going to see Marvel and Star Wars in Kingdom Hearts now?
Since the Kingdom Hearts 3 worlds have been confirmed, the short term answer is no. But the Kingdom Hearts series will presumably continue after Kingdom Hearts 3, so the question still remains. Since Disney owns the rights to Marvel and Star Wars, will Sora one day fight alongside Iron Man against Kylo Ren? It sounds like such a far out concept… but is it any less ridiculous than summoning Chicken Little in a climactic fight for the fate of the world?
Even if we’re treading into fan fiction territory by even entertaining the idea, let’s look at the reasons why Marvel and Star Wars would be awesome in Kingdom Hearts. Then, we’ll look at why this crossover might not be so simple and clean.
Why it’s a good idea to include Marvel and Star Wars.
I mean… come on.
I was halfway tempted to just write “lightsaber keyblades” in this section and call it a day. The potential of just Star Wars in a setting like Kingdom Hearts is absolutely enormous. There’s a smorgasbord of possible Star Wars locales to make into a Kingdom Hearts world, and the stories of each franchise would go together like bread and butter. With how important your inner darkness is in Kingdom Hearts, Square could easily integrate some Heartless shenanigans into the signature battle against the dark side.
Meanwhile, Marvel has so many awesome heroes and villains that any combination of them would make a good Kingdom Hearts subplot. I couldn’t even list the most obvious examples without stretching this paragraph into 1000 words. While Marvel doesn’t have as much obvious overlap with the Kingdom Hearts‘ story, many Marvel universes are already ripe for a Japanese RPG setting. Larger than life battles, over-the-top attacks, melodrama unfolding between the hero and villain between hits… I mean, come on, it’s all right there. The fact that we haven’t had a Marvel equivalent of Final Fantasy or even Knights of the Old Republic is almost baffling on its own right.
Most importantly, Kingdom Hearts is a series that is at its best when it surprises and pleases its fans. It’s been a while since we’ve had a Kingdom Hearts world as left-field as Space Paranoids, and either Star Wars or Marvel would live up to that lofty standard.
Why Marvel and Star Wars might not fit
The question might not be whether Marvel or Star Wars should happen in Kingdom Hearts. Rather, it might be whether it can happen. Disney owns the rights to Marvel and Star Wars, but that doesn’t mean they can do whatever they want with them. For example, Electronic Arts currently has the exclusive rights to Star Wars video games, and a Kingdom Hearts world could potentially infringe on that contract. I’m not a lawyer, and I haven’t seen these contracts, but that should only indicate this issue is more complicated than any of us can imagine.
This isn’t to say it’s impossible, of course. But the question becomes whether Marvel and Star Wars are worth the effort to incorporate into Kingdom Hearts. Both franchises feature epic storylines that span multiple comic books and movies, and a Kingdom Hearts world is… a few hours long on average? Disney movies get heavily truncated to fit into Kingdom Hearts as is, so what would even be left if a Marvel or Star Wars world got greenlit? And more importantly, would it just make fans more mad because their favorite franchises got butchered in the process?
Assuming these concerns could be navigated to the satisfaction of fans and shareholders, would these worlds thematically fit Kingdom Hearts? The scope of Kingdom Hearts was originally a crossover with Disney as a brand rather than a media conglomerate, which means the worlds we saw were always ones that are strongly associated with the name Disney. There are sort of exceptions with The Nightmare Before Christmas and Tron, but you can trace the Disney DNA to their origins in one way or another. If anything Disney owns is on the table, then technically we could petition for a world based on Who Wants To Be a Millionaire.
Meanwhile, people nostalgic for Marvel and Star Wars wouldn’t view them as Disney brands. And that’s just for western audiences; we can’t forget that Kingdom Hearts is defined as an “East meets West” crossover. We know that Marvel and Star Wars are popular in the East, but would they be in high enough demand to warrant the challenges to make these worlds a reality? I honestly can’t say for sure, but it could be a hurdle that keeps these worlds from being made.
So, would it be a good idea?
Marvel and Star Wars individually have enough material to fill multiple Kingdom Hearts games. This would be totally sweet, but also unlikely. And that’s the only approach that would do these franchises justice.
Fans are already divisive about whether or not these worlds would fit in Kingdom Hearts. So honestly, I don’t know if the demand here is as high as we might think. If there was enough uproar from both Western and Eastern fans, I bet we’d see at least a cameo sneak into a Kingdom Hearts game. Otherwise, we might be waiting for a long time before we see Marvel and Star Wars in Kingdom Hearts. I mean, we had to wait over a decade for Kingdom Hearts 3, so who knows how long it’d take us to see Kingdom Hearts 4 under the best of circumstances.
Still, this won’t stop me from daydreaming about this most fantastic of crossover ideas, and I don’t think it should stop you either. If you’ve been writing fan fiction or drawing fan art of what these worlds would be like, I’d say keep doing your thing. We can’t say for sure what the future of Kingdom Hearts is, but as a wise woman once told me, whatever lies beyond this morning is a little later on.