Things You Didn’t Know About The Kingdom Hearts Video Games – Screen Rant

Including characters from Disney franchises, as well as Square Enix games like Final Fantasy and The World Ends With You, the Kingdom Hearts series has won over many fans all over the world. Many players are aware of the mythos of the games and the role of co-creator Tetsuya Nomura in shaping the franchise’s legacy.

RELATED: 10 Things Kingdom Hearts Taught Us About Disney’s Mickey Mouse

But only the more dedicated players will be aware of the behind-the-scenes details and media tie-ins that the action role-playing game spawned.

A TV Series Might Be In Development By Disney+

kingdom hearts disney characters and sora

An animated Kingdom Hearts TV series was announced by Disney+ back in 2020. As fans know, the streaming giant has already created content based on acquired franchises like Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so it is only natural for Disney to want to make an adaptation of a video game property that is built on its own classic characters.


In fact, IGN reports that Disney had planned to produce an animated series way earlier, in 2002. This version was canceled for having vast differences from the source material. However, not much has been written about the Disney+ series, making its future uncertain.

The Disney Park Animal Kingdom Inspired The Name

Giraffes walking by a truck

As Tetsuya Nomura set out to develop the first game, he knew that the characters’ “Hearts” would play an important role in the narrative. It is a general fact for players that the Heart is an integral part of the games’ lore, along with “Body” and “Soul.”

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However, as Den of Geek mentions in its history of the game, the “Kingdom” in Kingdom Hearts actually came from Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The zoological park opened in Florida in 1998 and today, it’s the world’s largest theme park.

Tarzan Appeared In Only One Game, As Square Enix Lost The Rights

Tarzan stretching out an arm as Goofy, Sora, and Mickey Mouse look on

From Disney mascots to Pixar favorites, several iconic characters from Disney movies and TV shows have made multiple appearances in the games. However, Anime News Network reports that Tarzan and the “Deep Jungle” world from the Disney movie could only be featured in the first Kingdom Hearts due to licensing issues.

Even though Disney has the license to use Tarzan in its movies and merchandise, the character is actually owned by the estate of the character’s creator, Edgar Rice Burroughs. Hence, even though Square Enix could obtain the rights to several other Disney characters, the studio could not retain the rights from Burroughs’ family.

Kingdom Hearts Inspired A Manga

Cover of Kingdom Hearts manga featuring Saro and Disney characters

Manga artist Shiro Amano started out with a manga adaptation of the 1999 role-playing game, Legend of Mana. He built on his popularity by authoring and illustrating similar mangas inspired by the mythos of Kingdom Hearts and even illustrated a novel series inspired by the Square Enix games.

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The manga series recreated some of the best elements of Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts II, and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, along with a few original storylines.

Donald Duck And Mickey Mouse Were Supposed To Be The Protagonists

Kingdom Hearts Mickey Sora Timeless River

Before Sora, the likable Kingdom Hearts lead character, won the hearts of fans, mainstream Disney mascots like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck were considered the franchise’s protagonists. So, while Disney was championing for the Duck in the lead role, the Square Enix team vouched for the Mouse.

According to CBR, it was only with Nomura’s insistence that a new character like Sora could take the top spot. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Sora Is Voiced By Actors From Spirited Away And Sixth Sense

Split images of Miyu Orino and Haley Joel Osment

The series protagonist, Sora, belongs to neither Disney nor Final Fantasy and yet has emerged as the most popular Kingdom Hearts character. His popularity partly came from the fame of his acclaimed voice actors, Miyu Irino and Haley Joel Osment.

Irino’s most famous voice credits include the Spirited Away character, Haku, along with roles in A Silent Voice and Haikyu. As for Osment, the Academy Award-nominated actor is perhaps best known for his role in M. Night Shyamalan’s psychological thriller, The Sixth Sense.

Kurt Zisa Was Named After An Actual Person

Kurt Zisa Kingdom Hearts

One of the earliest Kingdom Hearts villains, Kurt Zisa is depicted as an Emblem Heartless in the first game. With his sword slash attacks and snake-like appearance, he has become an enduring figure of the franchise’s role.

Funnily, the villain’s name comes from a New York man of the same name. According to the fan blog Just Kingdom Hearts Things, Zisa had won a contest called “Kingdom Hearts Name-In-Game.” The contest took place two months before the game’s release in the American market.

Tetsuya Nomura’s Favorite Character Is Sora

Kingdom Hearts Sora and Pooh

Even before his stint as the creative designer and creator of Kingdom Hearts, Tetsuya Nomura drew acclaim for helping in the creation of some of the best Final Fantasy characters. His catalog included Sephiroth, Shadow, Lightning, Yuna, and many more.

However, as he revealed in a Twitter interview, his all-time favorite creation still happens to be the Kingdom Hearts protagonist Sora, referring to him as “special.”

Recurring Kingdom Hearts Singer Utada Collaborated With Skrillex For Kingdom Hearts III

Split images featuring Utada, Skrillex, and Sora

Japanese-American singer Hikaru Utada (often known as just Utada) has been a regular part of the Kingdom Hearts franchise, lending her vocals to classic tunes like “Hikari,” “Passion,” and “Chikari.” For the soundtrack of Kingdom Hearts III, she recorded a song with the American DJ and dubstep maestro, Skrillex.

RELATED: 10 Best Disney Character Portrayals In Kingdom Hearts

Titled “Face My Fears,” the song was also written by R&B singer-songwriter Poo Bear, who has himself collaborated with Skrillex on several songs including the smash hit “Where Are U Now.”

The Games Feature Several Coincidences With The Number 13

Members of Organisation XIII standing next to each other

Fans have noticed that the number 13 is a recurring trope in the games. The first obvious reference to the number is the villainous Organization XIII. Then, the total number of letters in Kingdom Hearts comes down to 13. If this wasn’t enough, there are 13 worlds to explore in the first Kingdom Hearts game.

These might be just strange coincidences, but then, even the letters in the collective trios of Sora, Riku, and Kairi as well as Xion, Axel, and Roxas add up to 13. No explanation has been offered behind the franchise’s obsession with the number and fans can only speculate about the real reason.

NEXT: 10 Times Mickey Saved The Day In Kingdom Hearts

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