One of many wildly popular worlds in the Disney and Pixar universe/metaverse, Kingdom Hearts (and the character of Sora) grabs the hearts and minds of countless fans around the globe. But with the wide cast of characters in the KH realm, some fans are asking questions about the ownership of the world, as well as at least one of the main characters, a male character named Sora. Two big questions have been swirling around the internet of late. The first is, “Does Disney own Kingdom Hearts?” And the second usually goes, “Does Disney own Sora?” You’re in luck! We have the answers to both questions right here.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misrepresented Sora’s involvement with Final Fantasy. The character of Sora first appeared in Kingdom Hearts.
What Is Kingdom Hearts?
Kingdom Hearts is a VERY interesting property, because it’s not just ONE THING.
It’s actually a TON of different things that all come together and wrap up in a universe of Disney and video game characters.
The official Kingdom Hearts Fandom page puts it like this:
So you can see right away that, with Final Fantasy involved…
This is not a simple product of Disney characters in a world together (which would already be a lot!).
In fact, the Kingdom Hearts world spans even outside of console and mobile gaming, to include:
- Books, novels, and manga
- Popular soundtrack music
- Collectible merchandise
- And even a potential TV series on Disney Plus
Much of this is thanks, in large part, to the creator and designer Tetsuya Nomura at Square Enix.
To add a little more clarity, here’s how Wikipedia describes the Kingdom Hearts franchise:
“Kingdom Hearts is a crossover of various Disney properties based in an original fictional universe. The series centers on the main character, Sora, and his journey and experiences with various Disney and Pixar characters, as well as some from Square Enix properties, as Final Fantasy, The World Ends With You and Einhänder characters, in addition to original characters and locations created specifically for the series. The primary plotline of the series sees the protagonists clash against the multiple incarnations of Xehanort, the primary antagonist.”Wikipedia
So, that’s the world of Kingdom Hearts in a brief nutshell.
Now, let’s get into the questions of the day!
Does Disney Own Sora?
With all these properties interacting and coexisting in the same gaming and storytelling universe/world…
You can see how quickly it might get tricky to sort it all out from an IP perspective.
Especially when you’ve got two big companies like Disney and Square Enix involved.
Remember, we’re talking about Mickey Mouse and Final Fantasy, here!
These are two of the biggest properties in the history of media / multimedia.
In other words, who actually owns all these characters?
Does Disney own Kingdom Hearts? Does Square Enix own Kingdom Hearts? Does Disney own the character Sora, or does Square Enix?
These (and others like them!) are the main hot topic questions that fans around the world are asking right now.
Here are the answers to these two burning questions…
Does Disney own Kingdom Hearts? Yes, Disney owns Kingdom Hearts. According to former Disney VP of Production John Vignocchi: “A lot of people are confused about who exactly owns Kingdom Hearts, but it’s Disney — it’s developed in partnership with Square-Enix.”
So, here’s the definitive answer: Disney owns Kingdom Hearts — 100%.
OK, so that’s one answer out of the way…
But what about Sora? Who owns the character Sora, with connections to Final Fantasy? Is Sora owned by Disney or Square Enix or Nintendo, or another company altogether?
Here’s the answer to that one, too…
Does Disney own Sora? Yes, it appears that the character of Sora is owned by Disney, who owns Kingdom Hearts, even though the gaming company Square Enix develops the characters and gameplay for Kingdom Hearts (KH).
Because he is attached to Final Fantasy (FF), which is developed and owned by Square Enix, that company also has access to the intellectual property (IP) for development purposes in partnerships with The Walt Disney Company.
(Here’s a KH/FF forum post with various references to dig into more.)
According to the Final Fantasy Fandom page:
Sora does not make an appearance in the game’s main storyline, but was temporarily available as a summonable Champion as free downloadable content with the update patch to version 1.03. Sora is unavailable in the standalone Maxima versions, however.
In the Japanese version, Miyu Irino voiced Sora for his summon sequence. However, the English version doesn’t have any dialogue.”Final Fantasy Wiki via Fandom
More Sora Ownership Confusion?
Now, this seems to create even more confusion between Kingdom Hearts and Sora…
But it doesn’t have to!
There’s a very good explanation for all of it, actually.
Here’s how it all works out for Disney, Square Enix, Nintendo, and others with regard to the ownership of Kingdom Hearts and Sora:
How can Nintendo use Sora from Kingdom Hearts in Super Smash Bros.? Nintendo can use the character of Sora of Kingdom Hearts in Super Smash Bros. partnership with Disney/Square Enix, without owning Sora outright.
Nintendo owns Super Smash Bros, and Disney owns Kingdom Hearts.
Disney owns Sora (and partners with Square Enix to develop his character and the game).
But they can both use him in their games by partnering with Square Enix to do so!
Hopefully that answers all your burning Sora and Kingdom Hearts questions.
If not, let me know on Twitter @disfordisney_.
Have a magical day!
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