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  • Acting for Two:
    • As is fitting for a character whose plans hinge on duplicating himself, Akio Ohtsuka does triple duty in this installment; not only does he return to voice Terra-Xehanort and Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, he also plays the original Master Xehanort, taking over for his late father.
    • Corey Burton pulls quadruple duty in this game. On top of being Yen Sid, he also channels Christopher Lee for Ansem The Wise, and also voices Zeus and Dale.
  • Approval of God:
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    • The staff that worked on Toy Story and Monsters, Inc. are Kingdom Hearts fans themselves and were heavily involved in the storytelling process and character design for the Toy Story world, and declared that the story is "Toy Story 2.5". Pixar even told Nomura that they consider Kingdom Hearts to be canon.
    • The creators of Tangled, Frozen, and Big Hero 6 have also voiced excitement for their films' inclusion in the game.
  • Blooper: Inverted. The infamous hair clipping "error" from FrozenExplanation  is "fixed" in that the camera is altered to be set underneath Elsa when she throws down her braid before rotating back to its original position in front of her, effectively hiding the "error".Possible explanation 
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  • Content Leak: Copies of Kingdom Hearts III except (according to Nomura) the secret ending and the epilogue were released over a month before the official launch date. Though perhaps either because only a few individuals got the copies and/or out of respect for those that wished to remain spoiler-free, most of the game wasn't spoiled. This changed over the next few weeks as more people got a hold of early copies, most spoilers at best being gameplay until a week before release, in which spoilers went all out.
  • Contest Winner Cameo: In April 2018, Square Enix held a contest for players of Kingdom Hearts Union χ, where three hundred lucky players would have their characters' names included in Kingdom Hearts III in some capacity. These names appear when Ephemer and the ancient Keyblade wielders help Sora fight one of the bosses in the Keyblade Graveyard, a la NieR: Automata.
  • Creator Backlash:
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    • Nomura and other staff members regretted announcing the game at E3 2013, claiming it was too early in development for such an announcement, but they wanted to Throw the Dog a Bone and at least announce the title, even though it was still years away.
    • An interview with Nomura revealed that due to the leak fiasco, it's soured his mood on worldwide physical releases, with no mention on digital releases. Whether or not this will impact Kingdom Hearts in the future remains to be seen.
    • In the Ultimania interview, Nomura admitted that the production staff for the game was angry with him due to the lack of Final Fantasy characters.
  • Creative Differences:
    • Nomura has stated that it was difficult to develop the worlds based on Pixar films and the more recent Disney films because the creative staffs on those movies all wanted to be involved in the writing process. Because of this, it took over a year for Nomura to get full story approval from Disney.
    • After Kingdom Hearts II, Nomura flat out told Disney that he wanted to include Pixar properties (Toy Story especially) or he wouldn't make Kingdom Hearts III, and even then, it initially took Pixar several years to get back to him with confirmation, let alone OK the designs and stories of the respective worlds. Considering that, minus Kingdom II Final Mix and the Chain of Memories remake, the gap between Kingdom Hearts II and 358/2 Days is the longest between story entries, it shows not only that the story isn't entirely Chris Carter'd, but Nomura is a master of playing hard ball.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Lumpy is voiced by Amelia Stanger, the sister of his original actor from Pooh's Heffalump Movie and My Friends Tigger & Pooh, Kyle Stanger.
  • Defictionalization:
    • The announcement of Sora and company turning into action figures while visiting the world of Toy Story was made all the sweeter with the announcement of real life action figures.
    • The Dissidia Final Fantasy NT toyline in the Toy Story world is based on the figures made for the game. There are also figures for Final Fantasy XV, which Verum Rex is an expy of. Each figure in the Trading Arts series costs about $30 to $40 USD, while the Play Arts series (meant more for hobby and collection) are over $100 USD at the known minimum.
    • In a way only this series can, the defictionalization actually turns in on itself, in a meta way rarely seen: Not only is Yozora a stealth reference to the original Final Fantasy Versus XIII, he's an actual Game Within a Game character in the Toy Box.
  • Executive Meddling:
    • About a year into the development cycle, the higher-ups at Square Enix mandated that Kingdom Hearts III had to be made with Unreal Engine 4. The team had to switch over from the engine they were already using and ditch much of their work, contributing to the game's long development cycle.
    • It's been mentioned in interviews that each of the Disney movies featured has included certain guidelines as to how Square Enix can represent and use them in the game, and that certain properties are more tightly protected than others (especially Cash Cow Franchise Frozen).
    • Mentioned above and below, but, to expand upon; while Disney had the stricter of rules for Tangled and Frozen, Pixar also took their sweet time getting back to Nomura on confirmation and approval for the better part of a decade.
  • Fan Nickname:
    • Riku Lucis Caelum has been thrown around due to the similarities Riku's new design has with Noctis.
    • Unlimited (key)Blade Works for the Ultima Weapon's Formchange, Ultimate Form, since it involves him summoning infinite Keyblades.
    • The penultimate boss fight, the triple battle against Young Xehanort, Ansem, and Xemnas is sometimes referred to as "The 'Nort Court".
    • "Kingstagram" or "Heartstagram" for the in-game Instagram-like social media.
  • God-Created Canon Foreigner: The "Galaxy Toys" area of the Toy Story world and the toys that appear in it are original creations that haven't appeared in any of the films. However, Pixar did have a hand in creating some of the designs. The same goes for parts of the Monsters, Inc. factory; it contains new areas that the audience got to see little of in the original movie, such as the outside zone, which can now be viewed up close in this game.
  • God Never Said That:
    • For a time, there was a rumor that this game would be the final game in the series. What Nomura actually said was this would be the last Kingdom Hearts game in the Xehanort Saga, and that the franchise would continue to focus on Sora beyond that.
    • In 2017, the Japanese Xbox site removed the listing for the game, but it was later put back up. In the interim, some started claiming that the port had been canceled, but this was never the case.
    • They also never said the game would be released in 2020. What was actually said was that the release window for "Kingdom Hearts III, Final Fantasy VII Remake, and the Marvel IP" was within the next three years. Indeed, the release date was announced at D23 2017 to be 2018, which was later pushed to January 2019.
    • There was also a rumor put out as fact after D23 Japan 2018 that the release date was to be formally revealed at E3 2018. This was never officially stated, and the release date was actually revealed at an orchestra concert a few days before E3. To be fair, somehow this didn't leak, meaning E3 featured the first release date announcement seen by the general public.
    • The epilogue and secret ending were released in a day-1 patch, to prevent them from being spoiled before the game's release if (as actually happened) the game were to be leaked. This was commonly misunderstood as the entire ending being held back.
  • I Knew It!:
    • After a new Nobody resembling Marluxia appeared in an early trailer, many people predicted that Marluxia himself (and subsequently other old Organization members) was going to come back.
    • Terra being Xehanort's guardian was a theory that was predicted as early as Birth by Sleep, since it first appeared when Xehanort fought Aqua after possessing Terra, and later when it makes a similar gesture to Terra summoning his Keyblade in Dream Drop Distance. This game confirms it.
    • Many people figured out that Vexen and Demyx would not be truly loyal to the Organization that they seemingly rejoined as soon as they first appeared in a trailer wearing black coats characteristic of Organization members.
    • Many people guessed that Drake Bell was voicing Young Eraqus long before it was confirmed.
    • Many fans correctly guessed, for entirely Jossed reasons that Xion was recruited into the Organization again when a Riku Replica first appeared in a short version of the Big Hero 6 world trailer. Likewise, everyone predicted she would be restored.
  • Jossed:
    • There wouldn't be Star Wars or Marvel characters in III, due to neither properties being Disney-original. Big Hero 6 seems to be an exception due to its inclusion in the Disney Animated Canon, and Buzz's lasers still emit TIE Fighter sound effects as a carryover from the Toy Story films.
    • There were no appearances from any Final Fantasy XV characters, unless you count the Verum Rex reference. In fact, there are no Final Fantasy characters outside of the Moogle that run the shops again and some easter eggs.
    • Many expected based on trailers and promotional art that Kairi would be playable at one point. Nope, she's just a party member in one battle.
    • Several fans thought that Riku Replica would be restored. While he does has the chance to return to life, he lets Namine use it instead, thus he's Killed Off for Real.
  • Lying Creator:
    • Similar to Nomura's "lie" regarding a scene in a Dream Drop Distance trailer, the 2013 reveal trailer shows Sora picking up the Master's Defender Keyblade on Destiny Islands. This wasn't intended as an actual story event but simply as a good thematic visual for the game...which ended up being an actual scene in the final game.
    • Leading up to the Square Enix's E3 conference in 2015, they stated that they would not being showing any footage of the game. When it came time for them to announce something related to Kingdom Hearts, it turned out to be a trailer for the mobile port of the browser game, Kingdom Hearts χ. Following that trailer, they surprised everyone with a gameplay trailer for Kingdom Hearts III.
    • Nomura said that a big theme of the game was "closure" and that the Xehanort Saga would have a definitive resolution, which got many peoples' hopes up that the story would be close-ended and the following saga would start fresh. It turns out that while closure is given to certain characters' situations and Xehanort himself had a definitive resolution, there are many plot threads still left hanging at the end of the game, and a last-minute cliffhanger where Sora fades away as a price for misusing the Power of Waking.
    • Nomura played coy on the prospect of Final Fantasy characters in III for a very long time. Roughly a year before release, he stated that he'll elaborate more on FF characters at a later date. Come the game's release, and there isn't a single Final Fantasy character anywhere, with the exception of Moogles reprising their roles as shopkeepers. There's also Verum Rex, which itself feels more like a Take That! aimed at Square Enix for removing him from Final Fantasy Versus XIII rather than a proper Final Fantasy representation.
  • Meaningful Release Date: Kingdom Hearts III was set to be released in 2018, 13 years after the previous numbered title, Kingdom Hearts II. Then it got delayed to January 2019... which, if you want to be technical, is the 13th month of 2018. (2019 is the 13th anniversary of the Western release of Kingdom Hearts II, however.)
  • The Original Darrin:
    • Alyson Stoner returns as Xion for the first time since her debut game, 358/2 Days, and its HD cinematic version.
    • After being replaced by Brooks Wheelan for Big Hero 6: The Series, T.J. Miller reprises his role as Fred from the original film.
  • The Other Darrin:
    • Played with for Woody, who is played by Jim Hanks, who voices him in merchandise and spin-off material ever since the Disney's Animated Storybook and Disney's Activity Center series, replacing his brother Tom Hanks from the movies. Likewise with Buzz, who is played by Mike MacRae, the designated video game voice actor for the character since the Toy Story 3 tie-in game, replacing both Tim Allen and Pat Fraley from the movies and the Disney Theme Parks' Buzz Lightyear attractions respectively.
    • Christopher Swindle, Carlos Alazraqui, and JP Manoux voice Sulley, Mike, and Randall, in lieu of John Goodman, Billy Crystal, and Steve Buscemi. The replacement voice actor for Randall is a bit odd, since his usual replacement has been Peter Kelamis, so Manoux replaces him as well.
    • While Vexen returns with a speaking role, he is voiced by Shigeru Chiba in Japan due to the death of his original one, Nachi Nozawa. Same goes for Pete's Japanese voice as Toru Ohira has likewise died. Avoided in English, where Derek Stephen Prince and Jim Cummings reprise the roles.
    • Hayden Panettiere has confirmed that she hasn't been called in to record for the game, and Alyson Stoner confirmed she's voicing Kairi, carrying on from 0.2, likely cementing Stoner as Kairi's permanent voice actor.
    • Zachary Gordan, Tristan Chase, and Ashley Boettcher replace Justin Cowden, Sean Marquette, and Jessica Dicicco as Hayner, Pence, and Olette respectively.
    • Jared Butler voices Jack Sparrow, replacing both Johnny Depp and James Arnold Taylor from the films and Kingdom Hearts II, respectively.
    • Rabbit was voiced in II by his 90’s/00’s voice actor Ken Samson. As Samson passed away in 2012, Tom Kenny voices Rabbit, just as he did in the Winnie the Pooh (2011) movie.
    • Robin Atkin Downes voices Davy Jones, replacing Bill Nighy.
    • Kelsey Lansdowne voices Rapunzel, replacing Mandy Moore.
    • Master Xehanort was a necessary case, as both his Japanese and English actors passed away in 2015. Now he's voiced by Akio Ohtsuka (the son of the previous Japanese actor) and Rutger Hauer (the man who played the Replicant Roy Batty in Ridley Scott's Blade Runner) in those respective languages.
    • Sarge is voiced by Piotr Michael following the death of his original voice, R. Lee Ermey.
    • After the death of his classic voice actor Alan Young (who previously voiced him in Birth by Sleep), Scrooge McDuck is voiced by neither David Tennant (his voice for the current DuckTales (2017) series) nor John Kassir (voice for the new Mickey Mouse shorts). This time, he's voiced by Enn Reitel.
    • David Kaye voices Olympus' narrator, rather than the long-deceased Charlton Heston.
    • Just like in Kingdom Hearts II (with the exception of its Australian dub), Brian George voiced Hector Barbossa, replacing Geoffrey Rush.
  • The Other Marty: Due to Pierre Taki's cocaine-related bust in March 2019, Square Enix announced that he will be replaced as Olaf for future patches.
  • Pre-Order Bonus:
    • Japan features different bonuses based on the retailer: Seven Net Shopping is distributing a reskin of the Kingdom Key and a rubber phone charm, Amazon is distributing a PS4 theme, and the Square Enix store is including the Steelbook.
    • There are two physical deluxe editions in North America: a more basic version with a Steelbook case, exclusive enamel pin, and small concept art book, and a more expensive version featuring the above along with action figures of Sora, Donald, and Goofy in their Toy Box forms. GameStop distributed cloth posters based on certain worlds, while Amazon included the Seven Net Shopping/Dawn Till Dusk Keyblade mentioned above. Both North American console marketplaces also feature digital deluxe editions with exclusive dashboard themes and reskins of the Star Seeker Keyblade: the Phantom Green for Xbox and Midnight Blue for PS4. Each Keyblade has different status buffs, with the Phantom Green buffing Thunder, Midnight Blue buffing Blizzard, and Dawn Till Dusk buffing Fire.
  • Promoted Fanboy:
    • Skrillex, who co-wrote the opening theme "Face My Fears" with Utada Hikaru, is an avowed fan of the series and has made remixes of its music.
    • Ryan Potter, the voice of Hiro Hamada, has been a fan of the games and was happy to be in them.
    • Likewise Zachary Levi, the voice of Flynn Rider, has said that a part of the reason he took the role was in the hopes of being in Kingdom Hearts one day.
    • Erika Harlacher has been a long time fan of the series and voiced a few minor characters (her Twitter mentioning an NPC in Twilight Town and the newscaster in a cutscene for San Fransokyo).
  • Refitted for Sequel:
    • Nomura wanted to have Toy Story representation in some fashion as far back as the first Kingdom Hearts, pitching a world incorporating Al's Toy Barn, Pizza Planet, and Andy's house; Buzz and Woody were also almost included as Summons in the Final Mix version of Kingdom Hearts II. On both occasions, Nomura's ideas were declined due to Disney and Pixar's relationship at the time. III includes a fully fledged world based on the movie series, with Buzz and Woody being its temporary party members.
    • Wreck-It Ralph was supposedly going to appear in the cancelled Fragmented Keys mobile game (which may or may not be real).
    • According to Nomura, the ending features something he'd been wanting to do in the series since the very first game. This wound up being The Final World, a spiritual world that is basically the last stop before the afterlife, and where Sora is "conceptually in pieces". Given that it's Kairi's belief in Sora that allows him to not pass on to the afterlife and put himself back together, it's likely Nomura wanted this as part of the event where Sora becomes a Heartless in the first game. This also aligns with cryptic remarks Nomura has made in the past about how he wanted to make the Sora-Heartless event of the first game "a little longer".
  • Role-Ending Misdemeanor: After Pierre Taki, Olaf's Japanese voice actor, was arrested for cocaine usage, Disney announced plans to replace his performance in a future patch for the game, as well in the upcoming Frozen II.
  • Role Reprisal: Returning actors/actress for the Disney worlds featured include:
    • Idina Menzel as Elsa, Kristen Bell as Anna, Josh Gad as Olaf, and Johnathan Groff as Kristoff in the Frozen world.
    • Zachary Levi as Flynn/Eugene and Donna Murphy as Mother Gothel in the Tangled world.
    • John Ratzenberger as Hamm, Wallace Shawn as Rex, and Jeff Pidgeon as the Little Green Men/Squeeze Toy Aliens in the Toy Story world.
    • Kevin R. McNally as Joshamee Gibbs in the Pirates of the Caribbean world.
    • Susan Egan as Meg, James Woods as Hades, and Tate Donovan as Hercules in the Hercules world.
    • Ryan Potter as Hiro Hamada, Scott Adsit as Baymax, Jamie Chung as Go Go, Genesis Rodriguez as Honey Lemon, and T.J. Miller as Fred from Big Hero 6. Khary Payton also reprises his role as Wasabi from Big Hero 6: The Series.
    • Jim Cummings as Winnie-the-Pooh, Tigger, and Pete. Likewise, Tom Kenny returns to voice Rabbit.
    • Mary Gibbs reprises her role as Boo, albeit through archival recordings. Same with the two girls who played young Anna and Elsa in Frozen, Eva Bella and Katie Lopez.
    • Michael Gough voices Gopher for the first time since 2006, never mind the fact this is Gopher's first appearance in any media since that time.
    • Besides his role as The Other Darrin as explained above, Jared Butler returning to voice Jack Sparrow is a reprisal from both the video game adaptation of At World's End (which is funnily enough the same film adapted here) and Disney Infinity. Likewise with Carlos Alazraqui as Mike, reprising from the video game Monsters, Inc. Scream Team.
    • Similar to Jared Butler, Brian George voiced Hector Barbossa again after Kingdom Hearts II, the At World's End game, and Disney Infinity. Robin Atkin Downes also reprises his role as Davy Jones from the At World's End game.
    • Although J.P. Manoux as Randall is The Other Darrin to Steve Buscemi, he’s also reprising the role from the Licensed Game adaptation for Monsters Inc. from way back in 2001.
  • Screwed by the Lawyers: After the May 2018 Premiere Event, where certain personalities and media outlets were allowed to demo the game, attendees were allowed to publish their gameplay footage without cutscenes to avoid leaking spoilers. However, GameSpot mistakenly uploaded an uncut recording of their demo, cutscenes and all, to YouTube. This video is notable for having a high-quality line-in recording of the audio from the console itself as opposed to from the camera pointed at the monitor. The video was eventually delisted as a result, but not before it had already been downloaded and reposted by others.
  • Self-Adaptation: Some of the staff from Toy Story and Monsters, Inc., including John Lasseter himself, were involved in the development for the respective worlds, which included the story writing and character design for Sora, Donald and Goofy's appearance.
  • Shrug of God:
    • Square Enix has been somewhat evasive on the issue of whether elements from the Disney acquisitions Star Wars or the Marvel Cinematic Universe are going to appear in the game, though they have said that the two are certainly not off-limits. At the very least, Disney's take on Big Hero 6 (which is not part of the MCU, but rather the Disney Animated Canon) will be a part of the game. It would later be announced in June 2018 that there would be no content from either franchises due to neither being Disney-original properties as well as problems with synchronizing with all the writers.
    • Whenever asked about the release date or progress, the response has usually been something along the lines of "it's coming" with no timeframe given. When a rumor starts, however, Square quickly shoots it down, as was the case in early January 2015 when Bill Farmer's tweet promising the game's release later in the year began catching fire on the Internet. It was announced in June 2015 that a release window had been internally decided upon, which was publicly revealed at D23 2017 to be 2018.
  • Spoiled by the Cast List: The ending credits show that the Foretellers sans Ava are present in the game through their voice actors. The cutscene they appear in can only be viewed after seeing the credits.
  • Talking to Himself: Several instances, with many of them being examples of Significant Double Casting.
  • Teasing Creator:
    • Utada Hikaru has teased that she might leak the full theme song if Square Enix didn't hurry up and release the game, although the official release of the full album took that one from her.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • According to Ultimania, models for Leon, Cinderella's Fairy Godmother, and other Final Fantasy characters were partially made but then scrapped. Leon was dropped because there were already so many characters that the Final Fantasy cast on top of that would be too much, but the reason the Fairy Godmother didn't show up wasn't given.
    • The dev team wanted to reuse the Command Deck system for III's combat, but Nomura decided to go back to using II's combat as a base.

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