Kingdom Hearts 3 is a doozy. And it has every right to be, with ten games behind it and nearly two decades of plot and original characters to work off of. Its finale is a twisty, riveting end to the long Xehanort saga, dealing in heavy blows and exciting character returns—pretty much all in the final five hours too.
For those of you who just want to get to the Kingdom Hearts 3 spoilers, luckily we got you with this handy FAQ. Here, you'll find the answers you've been waiting for: Does Aqua make it out of the Realm of Darkness? Does anyone die? Is Xehanort actually defeated this time? We answer all your most pressing questions, with some additional context for the moments that might have not made sense to you too. (We also have a handy Kingdom Hearts primer detailing all the events essential in the lead up to Kingdom Hearts 3.)
Kingdom Hearts 3 Spoilers: How It Ends and Who Dies
It's obvious this article is full of spoilers. That's literally all that's here. So if you're not interested in being spoiled on everything, get the heck outta here. If you want to be here, then please remain. Thank you, and off we go to Spoiler World.
Table of Contents:
Are Aqua, Ventus, and Terra from Birth By Sleep saved?
Yes. Aqua is the first to be saved, when Riku and King Mickey gear up in earnest about midway through the story to dive back into the Realm of Darkness, after they were unprepared the first time around and Riku's keyblade snapped in half. More powerful, they battle dark forces in the underworld. Mickey nearly falls to darkness after being swallowed by a giant swarm of Heartless, and as Riku battles a corrupted Aqua—who had fallen deep into darkness earlier—Sora finds his way there to help after following his own heart, and going through that familiar secret door on his home of Destiny Islands. Together, the three are able to save Aqua from the Realm of Darkness, wherein she cries literal tears of joy upon waking on the beaches of Destiny Islands.
Shortly after, Sora and Aqua head to Castle Oblivion, where Aqua has hidden Ventus' body the past decade after the events of Birth By Sleep, before she went on to confront a Xehanort-possessed Terra. Upon entering, Xehanort's apprentice Vanitas follows them, having seen how Aqua unlocked the secretive castle at the Land of Departure. A battle ensues, and thanks to Ventus' heart lying in Sora, Ventus wakes up from his decade-long slumber upon hearing Aqua in danger. Ventus is saved.
Terra, however, isn't saved until the final act of the game. Now a time-traveling member of Organization XIII, Terra-Xehanort's big Heartless buddy (possessed by the heart of Real Terra), revolts against him. Xehanort is banished from Terra once and for all, Terra's hair returns to its familiar brown as he is reunited with his friends. It's all thanks to Aqua helping save his heart from falling completely into darkness all that time ago. It's a happy ending for the Birth By Sleep trio, as in the ending cutscene, the three are seen leaving their Wayfinder charms on Master Eraqus' grave.
Does Xion from 358/2 Days return?
Yes! In a twist towards the end, Xion is revealed to be one of the unknown Organization XIII members we were curious about. After a face-off with Axel and Sora, she has a literal change of heart, and goes over to the good side after Kairi is kidnapped by Xemnas, vowing to lay her keyblade down in her place. In the ending, she's seen alongside Roxas and Axel in a new outfit (Axel has finally shed his Organization coat too) eating sea salt ice cream in Twilight Town.
What's Axel/Lea up to?
Since Kingdom Hearts 2, Axel has been a fan favorite character in the series. In Kingdom Hearts 3, he honestly isn't up to much. He and Kairi are off training with Merlin in a place where time doesn't move forward. He embraces the name Axel, rather than Lea, even telling Kairi to only call him Axel. In the final act, he's injured in battle against Xion, and is caught off guard when her hood falls off, suddenly remembering her when he thought his memories of her were wiped back when she faded away in the events of 358/2 Days. But in the end: Axel lives on to snark another day, and by the end, he even sheds his Organization XIII cloak for some new clothes. Axel lives on, got it memorized?
Do Namine and Roxas come back?
Yes and yes. Namine is a trickier case, as former Organization members who did research under the good Ansem are in the business of making replicas: shells of human beings where lost hearts can go live in, taking on their original form. Replicas are so humanlike, that you can't really tell the difference between them and an actual human. In the ending cutscene, we see that the replica being made for Namine is finally successful. She wakes up in Radiant Garden, where she soon meets Riku and the two jet off in a Gummi Ship—presumably to the family reunion we see being held on the shores of Destiny Islands in the final cutscene.
Roxas returns during the Xion reveal, telling Xemnas that his heart traveled back here and zipped into one of Xemnas' many waiting replicas. Ya snooze, ya lose!
Does Xehanort die?
Yes. Finally, the old man kicks the bucket. He flies into the moon of Kingdom Hearts in the sky as a ghost, helped along by his old friend Master Eraqus whom he had slain in Birth By Sleep after getting too greedy about darkness. Holding one another, their ghostly selves turn into their young teenage selves, about the same age as the rest of the crew. Smiling, they fly up and fade away, finally at peace. (Side note: Do you think Master Eraqus and Master Xehanort had a thing going on, or what? Maybe that's a debate for another day.)
Does Sora die?
I mean, does anyone ever really die in Kingdom Hearts? Even folks torn apart by light, like Ansem, Seeker of Darkness from the first game, reappear thanks to time travel when Xehanort gets his many fragmented selves back together. Then again, we did see the death of Xehanort earlier, so it does happen. Anyway, in the ending, Sora embarks on one last journey to save Kairi, who was punted off in the harrowing events of the finale. (Xehanort, being the big bad he is, dangles her over a cliff and then kills her.) Despite Donald and Goofy's insistence to come along, Sora says he must go it alone. After all: his story began with losing Kairi, and now he's lost her again.
Hardened with resolve, he assumedly journeys into the Realm of Darkness or wherever else to find her. In a sweet final cutscene with all the characters on Destiny Islands, Riku glances away from the crowd and sees Kairi and Sora holding hands on the distant bench-like palm tree. Then in a shocking moment, we see Sora fade away, signifying that wherever Sora saved Kairi from, he did not make it back alive. So yes, Sora dies. Or is lost. Or something.
Does anyone else die?
Probably not? We did see all the Organization XIII members "perish" after our boss battles, but as we see in the Epilogue, at least one survives the dramatic closure. Xigbar, who vanishes following a boss battle against him in the lead up to facing Xemnas and Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, isn't so dead after all. The other Organization XIII members defeated along the way likely survived the slashing too somehow. In the universe of Kingdom Hearts, only trust death if both the body and heart are obliterated.
Who is the secret boss?
In the last Battlegate located in the Keyblade Graveyard world, you'll stumble across an intimidating foe—and you won't be able to have Goofy and Donald at your side. The boss is familiar too: it's the swole heartless that Terra's heart drifted back into, that under his control aids him in saving Aqua and Ventus from Terra-Xehanort's clutches. Here, the scary Heartless is bad again though, and he has a bone to pick with Sora.
Kingdom Hearts 3's Ending
The ending to Kingdom Hearts 3 is a long one. From journeying to the Keyblade Graveyard to dealing a final blow to Xehanort on Scala ad Caelum, there's about five or so hours of boss fights.
Their valiant efforts prove moot though, when all the heroes are obliterated by a shadowy Heartless mob and a subtitle describes that light failed and darkness won. That's not the end of the story though. Sora, being the strong-hearted lad he is, finds himself in a sort of limbo, and is tasked with recovering the hearts of his friends. He chases a boss through all the worlds he's visited, recovering each of their hearts along the way.
Regrouped and having basically traveled back in time before the horrid events that claimed their hearts before, they are successful (thanks to Terra possessing armor again as he did in Birth By Sleep and Master Yen Sid deciding to pop in to part the Heartless like Moses parted the red sea). It's all thanks to Sora (who literally summons the keyblades of fallen warriors from the great Keyblade War, and the usernames of players from the mobile-desktop game Kingdom Hearts ? appear en masse in a rad sequence), Master Yen Sid (who swoops in to part the sea of Heartless like Moses), and a suit of armor possessed by Terra.
There are exciting revelations in the final act; like Sora finally seeing Vanitas' face that is… his face, and so on. In the process though, Kairi is kidnapped. In a battle at the top of a mountain, Xehanort seemingly destroys Kairi's heart and body, leaving her livelihood in question, motivating Sora and the others to battle. Eventually, Xehanort successfully forges the dreaded ?-blade, a legendary weapon that needed seven hearts of light and thirteen hearts of darkness to clash to reform.
Xehanort uses it to start to reopen Kingdom Hearts itself, thus putting the entire universe in danger under Xehanort's power and vision. To combat him, the keyblade wielders (Aqua, Ventus, Terra, Riku, Mickey, Axel, and Xion) vow to try and close Kingdom Hearts, while Sora drags Xehanort into a portal to transport him to another time—to an era where he can viably finally defeat him and throw off his plans.
The battle that ensues within the beautiful Scala ad Caelum is a fantastic one. Eventually, Xehanort's body breaks down and Master Eraqus appears: his heart emerging from Terra. (Oh yeah, the keyblade buddies joined the party at the end too, to ensure Sora, Donald, and Goofy were okay.) Xehanort accepts that death will claim him, and offers the ?-blade to Sora so that they can seal up Kingdom Hearts and save the universe. Xehanort and Master Eraqus float peacefully up to, well, wherever the dead hang out. Kingdom Hearts will not remake the world. And everything, it seems, is finally safe.
Yet there's still the case of Kairi. And Sora can't really feel joyous at the great turn of events knowing that Kairi is probably dead for good. But Xion emerges from the small cluster of keyblade wielders to let him know that she's okay. She's somewhere. He decides that instead of going home with the rest of the gang, he's going on a journey alone to find and save her, despite King Mickey's pleas for him not to go—knowing the probable danger that lies ahead. In the ending cutscene, we see that his journey may have been a sacrificial one, with Kairi returning to Destiny Islands and Sora dissolving into mist as the two hold hands and watch the sunset. Kairi sheds some tears, and by gawrsh, we are too! Say it ain't so Sora.
Kingdom Hearts 3's Epilogue
You would think that with the Epilogue, which unlocked on January 30 for players who have finished the game, we'd see more about Sora's journey to save Kairi. Instead, we return to the Keyblade Graveyard, where a mysterious Organization XIII coat-donning person is hanging out, when four sorta-familiar masked faces shows up: the Foretellers (also known as the stars of the cinematic addition to Kingdom Hearts ?, called Back Cover). The Foretellers are five Keyblade Masters, who each led their own individual unions which eventually led to the Keyblade War. Among the four, the fifth—Ava, who was "on her own mission"—is missing. And the person wearing the Organization outfit? It's good ol' Xigbar, a familiar side-villain within the Organization since Kingdom Hearts 2.
Xigbar is a new identity for him though, as his true name is Luxu, one of the six apprentices to the Master of Masters, an uber powerful Keyblade Master who had the power of foresight before he disappeared. Luxu's clash with Ava is what started the Keyblade War all those years ago, after Ava figured out Luxu was presumably the traitor noted in the Book of Prophecies bestowed upon the other five Foretellers by the Master of Masters. Luxu still being alive, as revealed in this Epilogue, basically posits him as the next Big Bad of the series now that Xehanort's out of the way. We also see a glimpse of the big black box that Maleficent and Pete have been searching across worlds for, but we never see what's inside.
How to Unlock Secret Movie
The Secret Movie for Kingdom Hearts 3 is unlocked after finding a certain amount of hidden Lucky Emblems of Mickey's head across the worlds. The harder the difficulty you're playing, the less emblems you'll have to discover. The Secret Movie will be patched in sometime on January 31.