WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the following:
The Kingdom Hearts series
About a couple of years ago, I wrote a list of worlds I would like to see appear in the Kingdom Hearts series. Since that list, both Tangled and Big Hero 6 based worlds have been confirmed for Kingdom Hearts III, which clearly means Square Enix and Disney read my stuff and value my opinion. Or it’s just a coincidence.
Regardless, with a new trailer and a new world to be shown this weekend at the D23 Expo, I’ve decided to return to this topic with another ten Disney properties that I’d love to see adapted in a future title.
1. The Jungle Book
You may think this is an odd choice but part of my reasoning for putting it on this list is because, well, at one point, it was going to happen. Apparently, there is data in the PSP title, Birth by Sleep, of a Jungle Book world, including areas like King Louie’s throne room. Knowing that this was at one point planned kind of makes me want to see how this world would actually work.
It’s not like a jungle setting wouldn’t fit; we’ve been to a Tarzan world before. The plot could just revolve around Sora and friends helping accompany Mowgli to the man-village, protecting him from the Heartless along the way. Maybe even have Sora acting as a big brother figure and trying to convince Mowgli that he needs to go back to where he belongs? Or even have him do the opposite and actually support Mowgli staying in the jungle? I dunno, I feel like either one could work.
Oh, and obviously we could have a kick-ass boss fight with Shere Khan – duking it out in that wasteland area from the film, with thunder and lighting echoing in the background. Hell, have Shere Khan become a Heartless too and give him some magical abilities of his own, like Scar in the Lion King world. Getting to battle Disney villains is one of my favourite aspects of the series, and Shere Khan is one I’d love to fight against.
2. Robin Hood
It’s by no means one of the best Disney films but I still love Robin Hood. Despite having financial difficulties, resulting in a tonne of recycled animation (hi, obviously edited scenes from Aristocats and Jungle Book), it has a lot of charm and is just a great, simplistic adventure. So, obviously, I’d love to see it appear in Kingdom Hearts.
Fighting alongside Robin Hood himself, exploring Sherwood Forest, maybe even getting a boss fight against the Sheriff of Nottingham – the idea itself just appeases to my nostalgia. Plus, considering Donald and Goofy tend to stick out like sore thumbs whenever the gang visit most world, it’d be pretty hilarious to see Sora be the odd one out for once in a world populated with anthropomorphic animals.
3. The Princess & the Frog
Remember how in the last list, I mentioned how I couldn’t think of how a Tangled world would work but I just wanted it to happen? I have the exact same opinion on The Princess & the Frog – a film that I consider to be grossly underrated and deserving of more love. And what better way to introduce it to more people than with an appearance in Kingdom Hearts?
The obvious idea would be to have Sora, Donald and Goofy turn into bayou animals or something and help Tiana and Naveen as frogs become human again, but I’m not sure how a frog Sora would work from a gameplay standpoint. Maybe the world’s plot could take place after the movie and skip all the frog shenanigans entirely? There is one aspect I think that would connect this film to Kingdom Hearts in a cool way. Dr. Facilier makes deals with demons, right? Demons that can take the form of shadows on the wall. Just replace them with Heartless. That’d be awesome.
It’s tricky incorporating this film but I just want to see the cast come back for a new adventure. It’s been, like, eight years. Give us Princess & the Frog fans something, Disney!
Or Zootopia if you’re in America. As good as this film is, I initially couldn’t think of how it could work in a Kingdom Hearts game. But after a little bit more thought, this would definitely be a great world to explore. I remember when I watched the film for the first time, I thought the setting would be great for an open-world adventure game of some kind. And with how big the worlds could be in Kingdom Hearts III, being able to run and jump around all the different areas of the city would be an absolute blast.
And while they could easily just insert Sora and co. into the plot of the film, I think they should instead do an original plot of some kind. Have Sora and co. assist Judy and Nick with a new crime wave involving the Heartless. Maybe even have Bellweather break out of prison and cause problems? And have Donald and Goofy stay exactly the same but have Sora turn into a rabbit or something just for comedy’s sake. Or maybe even a lion as a neat reference to his original concept art. Or have him stay human and just stand out and have no one comment on it; I’m easy.
Throughout my entire first viewing of Moana, I was repeatedly thinking of how well a world based on it would work in Kingdom Hearts. In fact, let me break down every aspect that proves it.
First off, Moana lives on a tropical island but wishes to explore the outside world and gets the opportunity to do so after being “chosen”. Sound familiar? Yeah, it’s just like Sora. The two would compliment each other so well in that regard and it’d be great to see another character aside from Moana’s grandma support her in the quest.
Secondly, you have two potential party members – Moana and Maui. Moana proved she’s more than capable of handling herself when dealing with the Kakamora. She could use her oar as a weapon and maybe use water-based magic as well (an element I don’t think we’ve seen in the series so far). Or go the safer route and use Maui instead, with his magical fishhook and animal transformations. Imagine Sora riding his hawk form to battle Te Kā; that’d be the hypest shit.
Speaking of Te Kā, remember how the film starts with Te Fiti having her heart taken and, thus, transforming into a mindless monster? She’s literally a Heartless; it fits so perfectly. It’s unlikely that we’ll see a Moana world in KH III, but this is one Disney film that NEEDS to make an appearance at some point.
6. The Incredibles
In hindsight, I’m kind of surprised I didn’t include The Incredibles on the last list, considering how much I love the movie. Sora’s lived out the classic childhood dreams of being a pirate and flying; why not give him the chance to hang out with a family of superheroes?
Much like the Zootropolis example, this would be one of those worlds that I think would benefit from having its own original story, rather than inserting Sora and co. into the plot. Bring in a new super villain to fight or even just have Maleficent, Pete or maybe Xehanort or one of his vessels causing trouble. That being said, I wouldn’t mind boss fights against the likes of Syndrome or the Omnidroid.
Considering that, at this point, it’s highly unlikely we’ll see any Marvel worlds any time soon, an Incredibles world would certainly scratch that superhero itch. Plus, it’d just be a joy to hang out with the Parrs again.
Yes, I’m aware the developers have shown little interest in having worlds based on TV shows but, to steal a phrase from Nick Fury, “given that it’s a stupid-ass decision, I’ve chosen to ignore it.” Disney has some fantastic TV shows under its belt that would make for great worlds to explore (hell, we nearly got a Gargoyles world). Case in point: DuckTales.
Granted, the city of Duckburg wouldn’t exactly be groundbreaking or anything, but the reason why this is such a hotly demanded world is just because of the possibility of having Scrooge McDuck as a party member. If you’re familiar at all with the character, you know how bad-ass he is. He had no issues standing up to a giant Unversed in Birth by Sleep; just imagine him kicking ass with his cane and bouncing off of enemies like he did in the old NES DuckTales game.
Considering the series’ reboot is happening later this year, its inclusion could be both nostalgic and relevant. Just make sure to incorporate the main theme song somewhere and we’re golden.
8. Phineas & Ferb
While the adventures of step-brothers Phineas and Ferb mostly involve trying to make the most out of summer vacation, the series was no stranger to more action-packed antics. They mostly involved Perry the Platypus and Dr. Doofenshmirtz, but Phineas and Ferb themselves once helped save an alternate dimension and even teamed up with the Avengers once, so having them help Sora and co. deal with the Heartless is both entertaining and plausible.
Danville itself wouldn’t be particularly interesting but the possibility of character interactions is the real selling point to me. The plot could involve Phineas mistakenly using the Heartless for some innocent task, much like how Jack Skellington did in the first KH game or maybe Doofenshmirtz attempts to use them to take over the city. Maybe have Perry as a party member? And if Phineas and Ferb do team up with Sora, you could have Candace trying to bust her brothers, desperately trying to prove the existence of shadowy monsters, a talking duck and a giant, magic key to her mum. Come on, the thought of that is pretty funny.
9. Gravity Falls
In case you never read my review of this show, I frigging loved Gravity Falls. Essentially a more kid-friendly Twin Peaks, it saw twins Dipper and Mabel dealing with all sorts of weird monsters and paranormal events. And considering how the show eventually dealt in multiverse stuff with alternate dimensions and the like, it’d be a perfect fit for Kingdom Hearts.
It’d just be really cool to see Sora interact with its cast; Dipper being intrigued with the Keyblade and the existence of the Heartless, Mabel trying to adopt a Shadow and getting attached to Donald and Goofy and Grunkle Stan trying to steal the Keyblade and make it an attraction at his Mystery Shack; I’m just spit-balling here but I feel there’s a lot of potential.
You could even have the mysterious journal contain info on the Keyblade and the like. Maybe the Author stumbled across some stuff related to Kingdom Hearts itself. Hell, Bill Cipher would make a fantastic antagonist; one that would rival even Xehanort on the power scale. He could serve as a villain for an entire KH game. Honestly, though, with the series over, I just want one more adventure in this crazy world.
10. Star vs. the Forces of Evil
Much like Gravity Falls, Star vs. the Forces of Evil is no stranger to otherworldly hi-jinks. In fact, the main characters go to other worlds almost every episode. The show is so steeped in magic and weird shenanigans that having Sora, Donald and Goofy show up would be one of the few instances where the other characters not reacting to their prescence would be justified.
Star herself would make for a great party member; the insane range of bizarre spells would make for a visual spectacle and help her stand out. Maybe her and best buddy Marco could operate together as a single unit, with her focusing on magic and him using his karate skills. Throw in villain Ludo replacing his henchman with the Heartless and/or being manipulated by Maleficent or Xehanort and the chance to explore both Echo Creek and the Kingdom of Mewni and you’ve got yourself an entertaining world to visit.
Some worlds people would argue ultimately stick out and don’t feel like they really belong in the wider KH universe. Star vs. the Forces of Evil would gel with it so well that it’d honestly be foolish to not include it in some way.