With the official launch of Kingdom Hearts 3 comes a major new piece of content, available only as a downloadable patch: the epilogue. And if you expect it to be a nice, tidy bow on the adventure, hoo boy. Hoo BOY. You are in for a ride.
It’s time to get into serious spoiler territory, as we take our best stab at eking out some sense of what’s going on in the epilogue to Kingdom Hearts 3. But please note that it involves a whole mess of information that, frankly, does not make a lot of sense.
[Warning: There are plenty of spoilers below as we discuss the biggest questions — and reveals — in the epilogue.]
How do I watch the Kingdom Hearts 3 epilogue?
First off, to access the epilogue, you must complete the game and watch the ending. Then, should you have downloaded the update, the game will prompt you to check out a new video in the Theater mode. It’s called “Lost Masters” — a clear reference to the Keyblade Masters that make up the backbone of Kingdom Hearts’ lore, dating way back before Sora was even a twinkle in his unseen parents’ eyes.
What happens in the epilogue?
From out of the sky, a mysterious, Keyblade-like weapon shuttles down into the sand of a desert.
“Finally,” a hooded figure says, picking it up. “Back where it belongs.”
This is a version of the Keyblade graveyard seen in the final hours of Kingdom Hearts 3, albeit most likely from a time long ago. The hooded figure is quickly joined by four people in animal masks, who appear out of portals into the area. Now that the group of five has gathered together, the figure pulls down his hood: It’s Xigbar, a member of Organization XIII that we could have sworn died during the events of the game.
Xigbar used to be known as Luxu, which is how the group still knows him. One person is missing, however; it’s Ava, whom Luxu may have just not invited to the party. As he’s vaguely telling the group about how he goes by Xigbar now, not Luxu, we see two familiar figures watching silently from afar: Maleficent and Pete, who were seen early on in Kingdom Hearts 3, only to be forgotten halfway through the game. They were hunting down a mysterious black box that contained … something mysterious. But we never saw how their story played out.
Well, Luxu/Xigbar now has that black box with him, so it looks like Maleficent and Pete either gave up on their task or helped him. He promises to explain, but it’s a long story, he says.
The epilogue then jumps to Young Eraqus and Xehanort playing chess, as seen in the very beginning and end of Kingdom Hearts 3. But now Eraqus wants to play a new game that involves seven black pieces, as Xehanort notes, and a single white piece, which Eraqus smashes onto the board as the scene cuts to black.
OK. So. We have questions. And thankfully, there are answers.
Who is Luxu?
Luxu, a.k.a. Xigbar, is one of the Master of Masters’ apprentices. An all-knowing, all-powerful Keyblade wielder, The Master of Masters deputizes his students to watch over the world before he disappears without a trace. The group of six went on to become a group of five, known as the Foretellers, each of whom is a Keyblade Master. The Foretellers had to contend with the world’s looming darkness and protect it from a prophesied apocalypse. They ultimately fail, and the Keyblade War breaks out among them and the rest of the world.
But the prophecy also told of a traitor in their midst. Luxu is the odd one out, as the Master of Masters tasks him with watching over his powerful Keyblade, which is imbued with foresight into the future (and, it seems, the ability to time travel). He must also protect, and keep closed, a Black Box that hides an important secret. While his fellow students engage in the War, Luxu watches from the sidelines, committing its history to memory.
Luxu continues to travel and observe throughout the years. A long time later, Luxu assumes a new form, as one often does in this series. That form is Xigbar, or Braig, a sort of sleeper agent in Organization XIII. But now it seems that Xigbar is ready to return to his Luxu days, bailing from Xehanort’s clan to meet back up with his old crew.
Who is Ava?
Ava is the one Foreteller who doesn’t succumb to the same anger that ruins her fellow apprentices. The Master of Masters instructs her to find the other Keyblade users and create a separate group from the Foretellers, called the Dandelions, who must avoid the inevitable Keyblade War and illuminate the world once more.
Although she is mostly successful in this, Ava is prone to suspicions. The prophecy mentions that there is a traitor in the Foretellers’ midsts, and that they would cause darkness to fall upon Keyblade wielders. After running into Luxu, she wonders if it’s him, and they end up fighting, as Luxu insists that the Master of Masters knows best — that the Keyblade War will happen, and that Ava and the Foretellers will lose no matter what. Their fight signals that Luxu was right, and the War will soon break out.
Who are those four masked, robed people?
They’re the Foretellers, who wore white-and-pink robes, unlike the black robes worn by the Master of Masters and Luxu/Xigbar. And they also covered their faces with masks, each one inspired by a different animal.
There’s just four of them, and Xigbar points out that Ava is missing from the group. That means we can safely assume that the robed people are the four other apprentices: Aced, Gula, Invi, and Ira. (These are the folks who caved into the rage that begat the Keyblade War.) We don’t know much else about what Xigbar wants with them, but they, too, demand answers.
When does all of this backstory stuff happen?
Most of it happens before the series even starts. The rest is part of the storyline for Kingdom Hearts χ, the mobile game whose story was thankfully recapped in Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover, which you can view in the PS4 series compilation The Story So Far. The game covers the beginning of the end of the Foretellers, watching them fall apart and fight each other. Ava is a big part of the storyline, as she tries to keep the other apprentices at peace. The game also features her fight with Luxu, and thus the beginning of the Keyblade War.
Where is Sora?
The end of Kingdom Hearts 3 tells us that Sora is still on the hunt for Kairi, the series’ perennial damsel in distress. The epilogue doesn’t answer this question for us, however; all we know is that Sora continues to venture from world to world as he tries to find his ever-missing friend. Thankfully, there’s a “secret movie” that’s still on the way, so maybe we’ll find out more about Sora from that.
Why are Eraqus and Xehanort still here?
The scene with these two friends-turned-foes comes from way back when, before the days when their friendship went south and Xehanort broke bad. Just as Xigbar has a story to tell, Eraqus does, too. There are seven black pieces on that chess board — which could be the six apprentices, plus the Master of Masters — and a white one we can’t identify. There’s likely some explanation … whether it makes sense or not.
Is the epilogue a teaser for Kingdom Hearts 4?
We can’t say that for sure. We know that Kingdom Hearts as a franchise isn’t over — please, like that would ever happen! — but this saga, known as the Dark Seeker saga, certainly is. Whenever or however Kingdom Hearts continues, we have to imagine that Xigbar, the Foretellers, Xehanort, and Eraqus will play into the events somehow. Which means we’re going to head back into the past, baybeeeee.
And it’s crucial to remember this: We still don’t know who the Master of Masters is, or was, or where he is now. This is the biggest question without an answer, so we have to guess it’s the next stop on this Kingdom Hearts train to who-knows-where.
Read more: Polygon