Was Young Xehanort’s Departure Retconned?

Was Young Xehanort’s Departure Retconned?

Some time has passed since Kingdom Hearts III was released, and I’d like to discuss one little issue that’s been bugging me for quite a while now.

(Note: this post will not include any major Kingdom Hearts III spoilers, but will still deal with certain scenes from Kingdom Hearts III.)

What is this issue? The matter of Young Xehanort’s age and his departure from Destiny Islands.

Kingdom Hearts III flashback: Young Xehanort

As explained in Dream Drop Distance, the time traveling Young Xehanort has yet to leave Destiny Islands to begin training as a Keyblade Wielder.

However, the Xehanort who appears in the Scala ad Caelum flashbacks playing chess with Eraqus clearly looks younger than his time traveling self. This was an issue ever since the first chess trailer, especially since his voice actor had been told to voice him differently in that scene. Kingdom Hearts III made it even more apparent by letting you examine the character models in the journal, showing that “the boy in black” is also shorter than Young Xehanort. Young Xehanort also fights with a Keyblade in Kingdom Hearts III, something that was only possible in Dream Drop Distance due to specific circumstances that allowed his older self to temporarily possess him.

Then there is the matter of his ears, eyes, and hairstyle.

The boy in Scala ad Caelum (whom I’ll refer to as Chess Xehanort from now on) has rounded ears, unlike the pointed ears common to other Xehanort incarnations. That itself isn’t a problem. Young Xehanort has had rounded ears in every appearance up until Kingdom Hearts III.

In Kingdom Hearts III, however, his ears are pointed. We discussed this after the D23 trailer, where it contributed to my theory that Kingdom Hearts III’s Young Xehanort is actually older than the Young Xehanort in Dream Drop Distance and Re:coded.

My theory at the time was that after Dream Drop Distance, Young Xehanort returned to his own time, left Destiny Islands, began training as a Keyblade wielder, and only then traveled to the future again for the events of Kingdom Hearts III.

DDD Young Xehanort -> Chess Xehanort -> KH3 Young Xehanort would not contradict anything, but it still causes problems with Chess Xehanort’s appearance.

DDD Young Xehanort and KH3 Young Xehanort both have the same hairstyle (and general appearance), which makes it harder to place Chess Xehanort as a stage in between. More importantly, Chess Xehanort has silver eyes instead of the yellow/golden eyes of every other Xehanort incarnation.

This is a clear and deliberate change, because the initial chess trailer showed him with golden eyes.

There is no avoiding it: Chess Xehanort looks like the youngest Xehanort we’ve seen so far, which contradicts the events stated in Dream Drop Distance.

That leaves us with four possibilities:

  1. Xehanort’s departure from Destiny Islands was retconned. Despite multiple references to it in Dream Drop Distance (as well as interviews confirming it) he no longer traveled through time before leaving home but instead began training as a Keyblade wielder before his Dream Drop Distance appearance. This is the simplest and easiest explanation.
  2. Xehanort’s relationship to Destiny Islands was retconned. Despite his reports in Birth By Sleep stating that he met Eraqus once he left Destiny Islands, he played chess with Eraqus at Scala ad Caelum before ending up at Destiny Islands, where he stayed until he eventually escaped them. Since it relies on multiple retcons and ignores the fact that his conversation with Eraqus during the chess scene suggests they’re already training, this is highly unlikely.
  3. It is simply a mistake that Chess Xehanort looks younger. Nothing has been retconned, and he is older than at least DDD Young Xehanort. Honestly, I like this possibility the most… but it’s unlikely, simply due to the sheer number of deliberate factors that make him seem younger.
  4. Nothing has been retconned, and there is an actual complicated explanation for why Chess Xehanort appears younger.

This is a theory site. Guess which possibility we’ll be looking at in the future?

With Dream Drop Distance being the most recent full game before Kingdom Hearts III and Young Xehanort’s timeline confirmed in interviews, it doesn’t sit well with me that they just retconned his departure from Destiny Islands. Moving forward, we’ll take a look at some possible explanations for how this apparent difference in ages could work out without retcons.

But what do you think? Which version of Young Xehanort is the older one? Why does Chess Xehanort look so much younger? Share your own thoughts and theories in the comments.

Tags: young xehanort
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