Box art - Kingdom Hearts 3

Kingdom Hearts 3 Ending explained | What happens to Sora in the final scene?

Oh boy, that Kingdom Hearts 3 ending. If you managed to keep your composure through KH3’s final scenes, then you probably had a lot of lingering thoughts and unanswered questions. Thankfully, we’re here to explain the Kingdom Hearts 3 ending, plus try to make sense of the big questions, such as if Xehanort died, why Sora disappears on Destiny Islands, whether Kairi is alive, and the importance of everything that happened in the Keyblade Graveyard. Sit back and buckle up: this is one conclusion not to be missed. Oh, and a spoiler warning is in effect. Obvs.

Kingdom Hearts 3 Ending explained | The Keyblade Graveyard

This is it. The final act of the game takes place almost solely in the Keyblade Graveyard, the resting place of so many warriors who laid down their lives during the Keyblade War.

In order to get a second Keyblade War going and forge the ultimate weapon, the X-Blade (pronounced “Keyblade,” because of course), Xehanort gathers the 13 seekers of darkness to go against the 7 warriors of light. All of that fighting will somehow, in the Kingdom Hearts universe, creates a master weapon. Just roll with it.

So, who’s who? The 13 seekers of Darkness that gather in the game’s many, many final battles include:

  • Xehanort
  • Young Xehanort
  • Ansem
  • Xemnas
  • Replica Riku
  • Terra-Xehanort
  • Xigbar
  • Larxene
  • Luxord
  • Marluxia
  • Xion
  • Vanitas
  • Saix

The seven warriors of light that clash with this baker’s dozen are as follows:

  • Sora
  • Kairi
  • Riku
  • Axel
  • King Mickey
  • Aqua
  • Ven

But before we can even get there, those on the side of light have to fight off several thousand Heartless before Aqua and Ven are confronted by Terra-Xehanort, the corrupted vessel that was once their childhood friend, Terra. This is where things get weird.

Kingdom Hearts 3 Ending explained | Does Sora die in Kingdom Hearts 3?

All seven warriors of light die in Kingdom Hearts 3. You’d be forgiven for thinking, though, that Tetsuya Nomura would pull a deus ex machina out of the hat. And that’s exactly what happens.

Just when it looks like Sora dies in Kingdom Hearts 3, and the rest of his friends perish with him, we cut back to the ongoing chess game in the past between Young Xehanort and Young Eraqus. Eraqus, despite being in checkmate, opts to return his piece back to its starting point at the beginning of the game, hinting that light offers a way to time travel.

And he’s not far wrong. Sora ends up in The Final World, a land essentially serving as the Kingdom Hearts version of limbo. While there he meets the Moogle Chirithy, a creature who watches over an assigned Keyblade Master. While there, Sora quite literally pieces himself together and returns to the moment before his death. This is where things get weird. Again.

Sora gets consumed by the darkness but, instead of dying, manages to chase down a Heartless Lich who is holding all of his friends’ hearts, including Donald and Goofy, hostage. Sora eventually recovers them all, fights off a Demon Wave with the help of his pals, and sets to work dismantling Organization XIII once and for all. I’m sure fan theories will be abound about how everything that takes place after this is a dream, but this seems like the real deal.

Kingdom Hearts 3 Ending explained | Is this the end of Organization XIII?

It sure seems that way. In a series of bouts between light and dark, good prevails over the Organization XIII members. The likes of Marluxia, Larxene, and Saix succumb to their wounds and presumably return to their human host bodies, while Xion is finally brought back to the side of good, just as she was in 358/2 Days.

In one more climactic scene, Terra-Xehanort finally breaks free of his chains and returns to his former self. With the villains defeated, the stage is set for one final showdown between Sora and Xehanort.

But things don’t quite go to plan. Despite defeating Ansem, Xemnas, and Young Xehanort, Sora played right into Xehanort’s hands, forging 12 of the 13 Keyblades needed to create the X-Blade. He crafts the thirteenth by striking down Kairi in cold blood, killing her instantly. All that remains is her blue spirit, much like Sora looked like in The Final World. Xehanort opens Kingdom Hearts and gets his hands on the X-Blade. But Sora, being the stand-up guy that he is, follows Xehanort through the Kingdom Hearts portal.

Did Xehanort die in KH3?

Xehanort ends up being defeated by Sora, Donald, and Goofy in one helluva final battle in Xehanort’s home of Scala ad Caelum. However, towards the end of the fight, the pristine marble of the cities walls is revealed to have been ravaged by time. With his home in tatters, Xehanort decides to continue his onslaught but is eventually stopped by Terra, who has a bombshell to drop.

No, he’s not Xehanort’s son (can you imagine that?), but holding a secret far greater: He has Eraqus in his heart this whole time. It’s not quite clear how exactly, although after Eraqus was killed in Birth by Sleep, his heart had to go somewhere. He pleads with Xehanort to stop. The chrome-domed Keyblade Master eventually relents, Eraqus and Xehanort embrace, and the two pass over to the other side. So, yes, Xehanort does die in Kingdom Hearts 3.

Is Kairi dead at the end of Kingdom Hearts 3?

Yet that still isn’t the end. Kairi is still dead/trapped in the Final World. Heeding the words from Hercules, as well as Ven’s reaction in his heart when he saw Anti-Aqua, Sora heads off into a portal to find Kairi without a second’s thought. The song “Don’t Think Twice” (geddit?) starts playing, as the game wraps up with a closing montage:

  • Mickey returns to his Kingdom and is met by Minnie and Pluto
  • Aqua, Ven, and Terra mourn Eraqus
  • Ven is also reunited with his Chirithy.
  • Axel, Roxas, and Zion eat sea salt ice cream together once more in Twilight Town, this time joined by Isa/Saix, Pence, Hayter, and Olette.
  • Namine wakes up in Radiant Garden and is met by Riku

Finally, the gang are shown larking about on Destiny Islands with their journey having finally come to an end. Then a strange moment takes place: Everyone turns and faces in the same direction, and we finally see what they see. Sora and Kairi are holding hands as the sun sets. But is it a happy ending? Kairi starts crying and Sora pulls an Infinity War and fades into dust. I speak for everyone when I say this is the most WTF thing to happen in the history of Kingdom Hearts, which is saying something.

Why did Sora disappear in the Kingdom Hearts 3 ending?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but it’s not entirely clear. Sora may very well be dead along with Kairi at the game’s close, or possible one of the two has been trapped in the Final World. It’s important to note, though, that Kairi seems to actually be present in the scene. Otherwise, why would everyone be looking in her direction? This is going to be a topic that’s going to run and run for some time. My two cents? It’s a bit of a cheap ending designed to create some ambiguity when, in the framework of the story, there should be none. Sora is still off in search of Kairi, and the symbolism of Sora slipping away from Kairi hints that the two of them are still separated, or Sora may have even sacrificed himself so that Kairi could return.

We didn’t quite get the happy Kingdom Hearts 3 ending we hoped for and, in true Kingdom Hearts fashion, there’s one more plot point to get everyone talking, despite evil ultimately being defeated and Kingdom Hearts being closed. That sounds about right.