Xehanort, also known as Master Xehanort, is a major character in the Kingdom Hearts series, and is the central antagonist of the Dark Seeker Saga. Xehanort is the main playable character of Kingdom Hearts Dark Road, which takes place during his youth and explores his journey to becoming the Seeker of Darkness.
A Keyblade Master who once taught Ventus, he believes that darkness and light should exist in perfect balance, and for this reason, he seeks to conquer Kingdom Hearts and recreate the worlds according to his wishes. Through his many different incarnations, including Terra-Xehanort, his Heartless Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, his Nobody Xemnas, and the time-travelling Young Xehanort, Xehanort is ultimately responsible for the series of events that repeatedly threaten the worlds with destruction, including the mass release of Heartless into the Realm of Light, the creation of the Nobodies and Organization XIII, and the formation of the real Organization XIII. He has also brought tragedy to many that have crossed his path, including Sora, Riku, Kairi, Terra, Ventus, and Aqua.
Master Xehanort first appeared in the teaser for Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep as the antagonist battling Terra, Aqua, and Ventus alongside Vanitas. Despite being the true main antagonist of the "Dark Seeker Saga", Xehanort did not appear until the series's sixth installment Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, and did not meet Sora face to face until the series's seventh installment Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. Prior to this, it was believed that Terra-Xehanort was the series's antagonist due to being the original persona of Ansem, Seeker of Darkness and Xemnas, until Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep revealed that the character was simply Terra possessed by the villain's original incarnation. Xehanort's origins and connection to Terra-Xehanort were hinted when it was revealed that he would be voiced by Chikao Ōtsuka, the father of Akio Ōtsuka, who voiced Terra-Xehanort and Ansem. On January 15, 2015, the elder Ōtsuka died of ischemic heart failure, and was replaced by his son for Kingdom Hearts III.
In the series's English version, Master Xehanort is voiced by Leonard Nimoy. Nimoy was chosen specifically by Tetsuya Nomura because of the role as Mr. Spock from Star Trek and because Nomura himself is a huge fan of both Star Trek and Star Wars, two franchises he intended to pit against each other by additionally casting Mark Hamill as Master Eraqus (Xehanort's enemy). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep was originally intended to be Nimoy's final performance before his retirement in 2010, but he came out of retirement and briefly reprised the role in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. On February 27, 2015, Nimoy died of chronic lung disease, and was replaced by Dutch actor Rutger Hauer for Kingdom Hearts III. Hauer died on July 19, 2019, of a short illness, making Kingdom Hearts III one of his final performances, and was replaced for Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind by veteran actor Christopher Lloyd, who also appeared in Star Trek as Commander Kruge.
From Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance onward, Young Xehanort has been voiced by Takanori Okuda in Japanese, and Benjamin Diskin in English. Prior to this, the character had a single line of dialogue in the opening scenes of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and was voiced Mamoru Miyano in Japanese and David Gallagher in English (who both play Riku in their respective languages).
Before Kingdom Hearts Dark Road
Long before Xehanort existed he was referred to in a prophecy by Luxu, who knew that one day a chosen one who will reenact the Keyblade War will appear in the cycle of bequeathing that the No Name Keyblade would go through.
Kingdom Hearts Dark Road
Xehanort grew up on the Destiny Islands where he lived a seemingly ordinary childhood. However, Xehanort sought to leave the islands, viewing them as small and uneventful, in order to see the greater world beyond, largely due to recurring dreams that gave him glimpses of worlds and individuals he had never seen or met before. One day, as a young teenager, Xehanort was paid a visit by his future self's Heartless, Ansem, offering Xehanort passage out of Destiny Islands to seek the answers to the dreams he kept having. Xehanort accepted and left through a dark corridor. Though his name was forgotten over time, Xehanort's exploit of managing to leave Destiny Islands would be remembered for years.
While traveling through the dark corridor, Xehanort experienced his first encounter with darkness; extreme, negative emotions that began to overwhelm and attach to his heart. Despite the horrifying and overpowering nature of the darkness, Xehanort was greatly fascinated by it and took some level of comfort in his heart's capacity to continue to feel emotion. As recounted in his reports years later, Xehanort believed even at this point that darkness could be channeled and even controlled by a strong enough heart. The dark corridor eventually dropped Xehanort at Scala ad Caelum, where he was taken in by Keyblade Master Odin, becoming his seventh apprentice. During the course of his training, Xehanort eventually came to see his fellow pupil Eraqus as a brother. The two often spent their time playing chess between training. The Master taught Xehanort and his fellow classmates the ways of the Keyblade, and that their role as Keyblade wielders was to protect the worlds of light from darkness. However, this answer was unsatisfactory to Xehanort, and he often visited other worlds without permission to learn more. Initially, Xehanort wore Keyblade Armor during his travels, to protect himself from the darkness between worlds.
One day Master Odin informed everyone that the upperclassmen of Keyblade Wielders had gone missing, including the sister of a fellow classmate, Baldr, and that his apprentices were to split into two groups to search the worlds. Xehanort traveled with Eraqus and another apprentice, heading to Agrabah first. Xehanort quickly realized that the world was still being reborn from the destruction of the Keyblade War, as no humans were in the world. Their search continued to Wonderland, where they avoided the insanity of the Queen of Hearts, but left Xehanort pondering if slaying those controlled by darkness is also necessary to protect the world.
Four years later, Xehanort visited the graves of his four fallen comrades. Eraqus tells him their demise wasn't his fault. However, Xehanort reveals his plan to go out into the worlds to learn more before their Mark of Mastery exam; Eraqus tells him to be back before the exam. This trip took Xehanort to Wonderland, where time had barely passed since his first visit. Still seeing the Queen of Hearts being influenced by darkness, Xehanort willingly approached her.
Between Kingdom Hearts Dark Road and Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
Ansem later visits Xehanort again and grants him the power to traverse time and tasks him with gathering twelve other incarnations of himself from across time to form the Real Organization XIII for his future self's final plans to obtain the power of Kingdom Hearts. After carrying out his duties in the future as "Young Xehanort," the youth eventually returns to his proper place in time and, while the rules of time travel prevent him from keeping his memories of his travels, the experiences he gained were engraved in his heart and would act as subconscious guidance for himself in the years to come.
Eventually, the time drew near when both Xehanort and Eraqus would finally take their Mark of Mastery exams. To prepare for the exam, Xehanort was tasked to tour the various worlds to broaden his horizons. By this point in time, Xehanort had come to see the power of darkness as a necessity to wield if he were to be seen as an equal to Eraqus, a blueblood descended from the first keyblade wielders that comprised the Dandelions, and sought the means to wield both light and darkness in perfect balance. In the course of this pilgrimage, Xehanort met The Master of Masters, who gave him a black coat to use as an alternative method to ward off darkness and better observe the nature of the worlds. After seeing the darkness hidden within the worlds, Xehanort became disillusioned with the "false light" of the world that concealed the dark and decided to do what he could to change it, unaware that he was being driven by a subconscious memory of the future. Despite wishing to use the black coat, Xehanort was told by the Master that if he possessed true strength, the darkness would pose no threat to him; the Master then departed after revealing his true name. True to the Master's belief, Xehanort abandoned both his original Keyblade Armor and the black coat after feeling the darkness's power in the lanes between. Through his lack of fear of the darkness, Xehanort gained great power.
Eventually, both Eraqus and Xehanort became Keyblade Masters, and Eraqus was chosen as the Master's successor; Xehanort was chosen to inherit the No Name Keyblade. The newly titled Master Xehanort was free to take on apprentices of his own to train, and he traveled the worlds freely.
As he journeyed, Xehanort obtained vast knowledge concerning Keyblade lore, the Heartless, and the mysteries of the Keyblade War and Kingdom Hearts. Over the years, Xehanort's beliefs that darkness and light were meant to be in balance were further reinforced, believing that the "tyranny" of light had destroyed much of the darkness and shifted that balance. He, therefore, resolved to obtain the power of Kingdom Hearts so that he may create a World in balance. To that end, he sought to recreate the legendary χ-blade and begin a new Keyblade War. By this time, however, Xehanort had grown very old, and he devised a plan to use his Keyblade to extract his own heart and transfer it to a younger body to prolong his life until his ambitions were fulfilled. At one point, Xehanort discussed his ideas about the Keyblade War with Eraqus, who attempted to dissuade him from risking a new apocalypse for the sake of gaining knowledge. When Eraqus tried to stop him by force, Xehanort used his power of darkness to easily fend him off, scarring his face in the process.
Eventually, Xehanort encountered Ventus, who he took on as a pupil. Finding Ventus unsuitable as a vessel, he decided to use the boy in his plan to create the χ-blade. After failing to stimulate Ven's darkness during a training exercise in the Badlands, Xehanort forcibly extracted the darkness from his heart, creating Vanitas. Ven's heart was badly damaged in the process, and Xehanort brought him to the Destiny Islands to die in peace, but Ven showed signs of recovery after his heart connected with that of the newly born Sora. In order to strengthen Ven's light and keep him separated from Vanitas, Xehanort brought him to Eraqus at the Land of Departure and requested that he take care of Ventus and train him as a Keyblade wielder. His hopes were that Eraqus's dedication to the light would nurture Ventus and make him equal in strength to Vanitas so that they could one day fight each other, forging the χ-blade. Despite how they had parted ways, Eraqus readily accepts Xehanort's request, taking Ventus as an apprentice, to be trained along with Terra and Aqua. While there, Xehanort noticed Terra's desire for power, and he decided to make Terra his new vessel.
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
A few years later, Master Eraqus invites Master Xehanort to the Land of Departure to witness Terra and Aqua becoming Keyblade Masters. Xehanort accepts, but he hints that Terra has the potential for darkness and suggests Eraqus administer a Mark of Mastery exam to the two apprentices. During the exam, Xehanort subtly uses darkness to affect the Orbs of Light and nudge Terra's darkness during his spar with Aqua. At the end of the exam, Eraqus names Aqua as Master, telling Terra that he failed to keep his darkness in check. Meanwhile, Xehanort leaves the building, passing by Vanitas, who tells him that Terra is the key to luring Ventus away from home. Outside, Xehanort tells Terra that he should not fear his darkness, and that he should learn to channel it instead. He then leaves via a Corridor of Darkness, making himself unavailable when Eraqus tries to contact him about the Unversed threat. Master Eraqus tasks Aqua and Terra with countering the Unversed and locating Master Xehanort, and Vanitas manipulates Ventus into following Terra.
During his travels, Master Xehanort meets the evil fairy Maleficent, and he informs her of the existence of other worlds, the Princesses of Heart, and Kingdom Hearts. He also tells her that the Keyblade is necessary to take others' hearts, and warns her of the three Keyblade wielders that would follow him to her world.
Some time later, Master Xehanort summons Terra to the Keyblade Graveyard, where he tells him of Vanitas and his connection to the Unversed. He explains that he created Vanitas after Ventus succumbed to darkness in a training accident, and he asks Terra to stop Vanitas for him, suggesting that he may be drawn to Radiant Garden, the city of light.
After arriving at Radiant Garden, Terra spots Master Xehanort walking into the Castle Town, but he is distracted from following him by a giant Unversed. Xehanort strikes an alliance with Braig, and they stage Xehanort's kidnapping in order to manipulate Terra into using darkness. Braig faces Terra in battle, and Terra accidentally channels his darkness, scarring Braig's face and forcing him to flee. Xehanort consoles the distraught Terra, offering to take him under his wing, so they may pursue a balance between light and darkness together. He tells "Master Terra" to continue his journey and his search for Vanitas.
After Terra leaves Radiant Garden, Braig attempts to gun Master Xehanort down, furious at being set up as "collateral damage", but Xehanort easily forces him to back down. When Braig remarks that a scarred face is better than a lost heart, Xehanort reveals that Terra is incapable of stealing a heart, implying that he himself was the one who stole Aurora's heart.
Later, Master Xehanort has Vanitas abduct Mickey Mouse to lure Ventus to the Keyblade Graveyard, where he reveals to Ventus the truth about his past and his plans to create the χ-blade. He adds that Master Eraqus has kept Ventus from venturing away from the Land of Departure in order to prevent the creation of the χ-blade, and that he never trusted Ventus enough to tell him the truth. Xehanort summons a dark vortex that sends Ven to the Land of Departure, expecting him to confront Eraqus. He then calls Terra to him, telling him that Ven went to confront Eraqus on his own, and that he fears for Ven's safety. He sends Terra after Ventus, and Terra arrives in time to protect Ven, throws him through a portal to safety, and defeats Eraqus in battle. Although Terra and Eraqus both regret their actions, Xehanort appears and delivers the final blow against Eraqus, who dissolves into light in Terra's arms. Revealing his true intentions to Terra, for him to succumb to darkness, Xehanort tells Terra to return to the Keyblade Graveyard, where he will see Ventus and Aqua meet their ends. He then summons his Keyblade and uses it to unleash darkness on the Land of Departure, completely destroying the world and leaving nothing but the castle's remains, before departing.
Terra, Ven and Aqua arrive at the Keyblade Graveyard, where Master Xehanort and Vanitas confront the three Keyblade wielders. Xehanort uses his immense magic to alter the landscape, summoning giant cliffs and creating a whirling stream of abandoned Keyblades that pursues the three friends. Terra is knocked onto the cliff where Xehanort stands, Ventus tries to attack him from behind, but Xehanort instantly moves behind Ven and grabs him by the helmet of his Keyblade Armor. Terra is knocked off the cliff by the flying Keyblades while Xehanort flash-freezes Ventus and drops him off the cliff. Xehanort then creates an orb of magic which he launches into the clouds overhead, summoning Kingdom Hearts in the sky.
Terra returns to the top of the cliff and faces off against Xehanort and Vanitas, but Xehanort soon sends Vanitas to fight Ventus, leaving Xehanort and Terra to fight one-on-one. Xehanort goads Terra into tapping into his darkness, and Terra successfully defeats the elderly Master. While the battle between Ventus and Vanitas climaxes in the χ-blade's forging, Xehanort uses his Keyblade to extract his own heart and implant it into Terra, declaring his vow to survive to see the results of the Keyblade War. Terra-Xehanort is converted from Terra's body, with his old body fading away in a shower of light with a triumphant smile.
Master Xehanort and Terra continue to dispute over internal dominance within Terra-Xehanort. Despite Xehanort's insistence that he will soon subsume Terra's heart into his own, Terra remains confident that he will win over and eventually expel Xehanort. Xehanort realizes that Terra is harboring the heart of Eraqus, which may allow him to resist his darkness for longer than he expected. However, Xehanort serenely points out that he has many other plans in the works should he lose control over Terra's body.
Between Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts II
Anticipating that Ventus and Vanitas's union may fail to successfully create the χ-blade, Master Xehanort had arranged a number of back up plans: Braig took the role of advisor and comrade for Terra-Xehanort, who had lost his memories except for his name following his fight with Aqua in Radiant Garden. With Braig's guidance, who led Radiant Garden's ruler, Ansem the Wise into discovering Terra-Xehanort and taking him in as an apprentice researcher, he and the amnesiac Terra-Xehanort began conducting experiments into the nature of the heart and the darkness within, in the attempt to remove one's sense of self. The two recruited other apprentices to assist in their research, which eventually led to the mass release of Heartless into the Realm of Light, which Terra-Xehanort marked with an emblem. Having banished Ansem the Wise to the Realm of Darkness and taking Ansem's name for himself, Terra-Xehanort and the other apprentices continue their experiments until they lose their hearts to darkness. Terra-Xehanort, recovering the use of his Keyblade, takes Braig's heart himself, before giving his own heart, creating his Heartless Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, and his Nobody Xemnas.
Ansem and Xemnas each carry out a part of Xehanort's plan: Ansem manipulates Maleficent into gathering the seven Princesses of Heart, while Xemnas and Xigbar found Organization XIII with the intent to turn its thirteen members into vessels for Xehanort's heart. But anticipating that the Organization members would prove unsuitable as vessels, Ansem travels back in time due to lacking as body and approaches Xehanort in his youth, granting him the ability to move forward in time and tasks him with gathering many incarnations of himself from throughout time.
In the meantime, Ansem and Xemnas each attempt to obtain the power of Kingdom Hearts. Ansem manipulates the Heartless into consuming the hearts of many worlds which created Kingdom Hearts in the End of the World's depths from the lost hearts, while Xemnas had Roxas and Xion collect hearts from Emblem Heartless and later manipulated Sora into doing the same which created Kingdom Hearts above The World That Never Was' sky from people's hearts. However, their plans are both thwarted by Sora and his friends, and both incarnations of Xehanort are destroyed.
Kingdom Hearts coded
When Mickey returns to the Mysterious Tower, Yen Sid explains that the destruction of Ansem and Xemnas will inevitably lead to Xehanort's resurrection. Musing that Xehanort will have left himself many paths to take and cryptically suggesting that there may be more than one version of Xehanort to contend with, Yen Sid instructs Mickey to summon Sora and Riku to the tower to take the Mark of Mastery exam.
At the same time, Terra revives separately from Master Xehanort. Xehanort had Terra's heart moved to the Dark Figure and then Terra-Xehanort's heart from the past infused into Terra's empty body. Following this, Young Xehanort arrived in Radiant Garden to return Braig and another former member of the Organization to Nobody state.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
As part of Master Xehanort's plan to fill the thirteenth seat in his new Organization, his incarnations intefere with the Mark of Mastery Exam to capture either Sora or Riku. Once Sora is put to sleep under a Nightmare's guard, Master Xehanort calls the Organization together. While he is materializing, Young Xehanort keeps Riku at bay. However, Mickey freezes the Organization with Stopza. Unfortunately, Master Xehanort possesses the body of his younger incarnation, allowing him to move and to summon a Keyblade, holding off Riku until Mickey's magic wore off.
Master Xehanort arrives, admitting using only two hearts to create the χ-blade was too hasty. He reveals the χ-blade was divided at the conclusion of the Keyblade War into thirteen darknesses and seven lights. To gather the amount of hearts he needed, he tricked Maleficent into gathering the seven pure lights and created the Organization to hold pieces of his heart to serve as the thirteen darknesses. Due to Sora and Riku's interference and the unforeseen independence or weakness of a number of Organization members, the two-part plan had failed. However, having given Young Xehanort the ability to travel through time, Xehanort has brought about the creation of a new Organization XIII made up of himself, his other incarnations, and vessels that harbor pieces of his heart, which he intends to pit against the "Seven Lights".
Xehanort moves in to place a fragment of his heart inside Sora, but the arrival of Lea, Donald, and Goofy stalls the Organization long enough that they are forced to retreat, each member returning to his own time. As Master Xehanort fades, he tells his opponents that both the seven of light and the thirteen of darkness will have their numbers filled when the time comes.
Although Yen Sid and Mickey agree that they will be playing into Xehanort's hands, they resolve to gather seven Keyblade-wielding Guardians of Light, rather than endanger the Princesses of Heart.
Kingdom Hearts III
After Ansem, Xemnas, Dark Riku, and Vanitas vanished back into their respective pasts, Master Xehanort retreated to the Keyblade Graveyard with Saïx and Xigbar; Terra-Xehanort left on stand by, Luxord went looking for the Black Box, and Marluxia and Larxene went looking for the New Seven Hearts.
After reminiscing about his meeting with the Master of Masters, Xehanort discusses with Xigbar and Saïx how they would fill the second half of their new Organization. Saïx explains that they would turn Vexen and Demyx back into Nobodies to serve as reserve members, refine the replicas for housing the time traveling hearts, and recreate the lost replica No i to take Sora's place, as it is connected to the Sora's memories.
Once all the seven guardians have been found they travel to the Keyblade Graveyard where Xehanort waits. He appears alongside Ansem, Xemnas, Vanitas, and his younger self, giving a similar speech to the one he gave Eraqus many years ago. The group summons a massive horde of Heartless, Nobodies, and Unversed to stall the guardians before departing.
Once the guardians make it back to the Keyblade Graveyard, Xehanort and the rest of the real Organization XIII confront them at the crossroads where he once confronted Terra, Aqua and Ventus. He states that the secrets of the Keyblade War will finally be unlocked, then summons No Name and creates a sprawling labyrinth known as The Skein of Severance as the battleground for the final clash, signifying the beginning of the war. Xehanort himself remains on a larger pillar behind the labyrinth to observe the coming battles.
After defeating nine of the thirteen darknesses, Sora, Riku, and King Mickey arrive at the Tower of Endings at the end of the labyrinth, where they are confronted by Young Xehanort, Ansem, and Xemnas. Xehanort informs them that the nine clashes beforehand have produced nine keys, taking the form of the No Name and that the remaining four will be forged with the final four battles, waving off the heroes' hopeful protestations. Young Xehanort, Ansem, and Xemnas then attack the group.
After a difficult battle, in which Master Xehanort frequently interferes via a storm of Keyblades, his three past selves are defeated, yielding three keys. He declares that only one more key is needed, uses No Name to summon Kingdom Hearts, and beckons Sora to battle him. While Sora initially refuses, Xehanort reveals Kairi and destroys her body to motivate Sora. Sora, Riku, and Mickey all attempt to attack Xehanort, but are easily repelled.
As the thirteenth key appears, Xehanort rises into the air and points No Name at Kingdom Hearts. The thirteen keys forged by the clashes combine, transforming No Name into the completed χ-blade. With the χ-blade finally in hand, Xehanort bids Kingdom Hearts to open and show him a new world. A ray of darkness emanates from the χ-blade and strikes Kingdom Hearts, consuming it with darkness.
Sora doubts that they can defeat Xehanort now that he controls Kingdom Hearts, but is reassured by the arrival of the rest of the guardians of light. Riku states that as Xehanort can travel through time, he acts as a portal, which can be used to trap him. Sora volunteers to stop Xehanort, aided by Donald and Goofy, while everyone else keeps Kingdom Hearts under control. Sora surprises Xehanort by opening the portal within him, transporting the four of them to a memory of Scala ad Caelum.
Unbeknownst to the guardians, Xehanort takes seven fragments of Kairi's surviving heart and scatters five of them across Scala ad Caelum, having hidden the remaining two within the hearts of Riku and Mickey, all as a final resort to ensure Kingdom Hearts can be opened through the power of the Princesses of Heart. During this time, Xehanort encounters a future version of Sora, who has used the power of waking to travel from the past and restore Kairi's heart. Noticing that Sora is beginning to fade from existence as a consequence of his power, Xehanort taunts that Sora has nearly run out of time as his present counterpart arrives with Donald and Goofy.
After Sora defeats the Replica Xehanorts, Xehanort appears again and explains that Scala ad Caelum used to be the seat of power for all Keyblade wielders, and that he and his other selves can reunite here. Xehanort proceeds to absorb the replicas, granting him a set of Keyblade Armor. Summoning No Name, he proceeds to reshape the world to trap Sora, Donald, and Goofy, and engages them in battle. After a grueling battle both within the town and under its waters, Xehanort's armor is destroyed, but he escapes through a Corridor to the peak of the town. Sora, Donald, and Goofy pursue him to the tower, where he summons the χ-blade, summons Kingdom Hearts once again, and challenges the three to a final battle. Eventually, Xehanort uses the power of both Kingdom Hearts and the χ-blade to nearly slay Sora, but he is called back by Donald and Goofy. Together, they use the Keyblade and the power of friendship to break through Xehanort's attack and deal a blow that pierces Xehanort through the chest, mortally wounding him.
Sora urges Xehanort to admit defeat, but Xehanort states that it's too late. Xehanort reveals that Kingdom Hearts will trigger a purge, destroying all Worlds and returning them to their original state, giving them a new beginning where he may shepherd all those who would pollute the world with the darkness that sprouts endlessly within their hearts. Sora rebukes him, stating that a true leader would know that destiny cannot be controlled, reminding Xehanort of Eraqus.
The rest of the guardians of light arrive, having followed their hearts to find Sora. Terra approaches Master Xehanort and reminds him that there's more to light than meets the eye, causing Xehanort to remember that Eraqus's heart has been with Terra all along. Eraqus emerges from within Terra and tells Xehanort to hand the χ-blade over. Xehanort initially refuses to admit defeat, but Eraqus declares checkmate.
Finally accepting that he has lost, Xehanort hands the χ-blade to Sora. After silently observing the reunion between Terra, Aqua, Ventus, and Eraqus, he finally succumbs to his injuries, but is supported by Eraqus before he collapses. Eraqus asks his old friend if he is ready, and Xehanort assents. The two briefly take on the appearances of their past selves, share one last laugh, then finally depart for the afterlife together.
Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory
When Kairi finds herself in a memory of the Final World, she encounters a vision of Master Xehanort. As the two fight, Xehanort admits Kairi has grown as a Keyblade wielder but gloats that she will be unable to find clues to Sora's whereabouts in her current state. He overpowers her and nearly delivers the final blow, but Sora takes control of her body and defeats him, restoring the final fragment of her heart to her body. Before disappearing, Xehanort gives her a clue to Sora's whereabouts by recounting the words he, as Terra-Xehanort, had told her before sending her away from Radiant Garden.
Birth by Sleep
As an old man, Xehanort is bald except for thin eyebrows and a curled, silver goatee. His ears are pointed and his eyes are yellow. He has broad, hunched shoulders and a crooked back. He appears overall as a somewhat feeble old man, certainly deceiving given his immense power. His clothing is the same as that worn by his eventual Heartless Ansem. It is composed of a white and black coat with a red inner lining, which is worn over a white shirt with two thin black belts, as well as white gloves and calf-high black boots. The major difference between the two outfits is that Ansem wears the shirt unbuttoned, exposing the Heartless emblem on his chest. However, there are a few minor changes as well; Ansem's coat has a gold lining on its edges, where Xehanort's has black lining. He sometimes wears a black coat, which would later be worn by Xemnas and the Organization members, over this outfit.
In Kingdom Hearts III, Xehanort has noticeable veins covering the back of his head, due to the lack of hair.
In his youth, Xehanort had mildly tanned skin, white eyes, and silver hair which both slightly spikes and falls past his shoulders in the back; it is styled similar to Terra-Xehanort's, albeit with four bangs framing his face, the back two thicker than the front two, and the two backward spikes on the sides are absent, the topmost one slicked back. He wore the same style of white shirt, which only reaches to his thighs, a black vest with a high collar, long armbands which cover his forearms, and dark grey pants stuffed into his boots, similar to those worn by Organization XIII but without the silver lining on top, much like those worn by the guards of Radiant Garden. After meeting the Master of Masters he is given a black coat.
Like the members of the original Organization XIII, Xehanort's name contains the letter "X", along with the anagrams "Another" and "No Heart".
Xehanort is shown to be a cunning, callous, and pragmatic being with the sole goal of merging with Kingdom Hearts and obtain ultimate knowledge, as the lives of innocent people and even those who care for him meaning absolutely nothing to him. To this end, he is willing to put whatever he pleases on the line or destroy anything in his way, demonstrated when he manipulated several characters such as Terra, Aqua, Ventus, Braig, and even Maleficent, created Vanitas, a sentient being born for the sole purpose of forwarding his evil plan, and slew his old friend Master Eraqus in cold blood after tricking Terra into defeating him in battle. He even shrugged off ruining Terra, Ventus, and Aqua's lives by telling Mickey and Riku that they were destined to fall, and went as far as to refer to Sora as a "dull, ordinary boy". Xehanort tends to have a series of back-up plans to occur whenever his previous scheme fails, and his skill for this has given him a reputation as a "devious tactician", as relayed to Mickey by Yen Sid.
Despite his overwhelming malice, Xehanort has been shown to have some slight sympathy for his victims, such as when he takes pity on Ventus, following the rupture of his heart, and decides to leave him to perish peacefully on the Destiny Islands. All of Xehanort's other seeming virtues are revealed to have sinister intentions behind them, demonstrated when he only took Ventus as an apprentice and cared for him solely with the intention of making the boy his vessel once he was strong enough, and when he only accepted Master Eraqus's invitation to witness the Mark of Mastery exam win back Eraqus's trust following their falling-out and sabotage the exam to put Terra on the path to darkness so as to make him his new vessel after deciding to instead use Ventus for the χ-blade. Like his other incarnations, Xehanort puts on a polite façade to make other people do what he desires. In his final moments, however, he admits to Sora that his true intention was to create a world devoid of corruption and develops a newfound respect for Sora upon his defeat at the boy's hands, allowing him to close Kingdom Hearts and telling him "very well done".
Overall, Xehanort is the true catalyst of all the events in the series so far, having been responsible (either directly or indirectly) for converting Terra into the first of his many vessels, arranging his younger self's quest through time, the Disney Villains' hunt for Kingdom Hearts, the creation of Vanitas, the Unversed, and the original Organization XIII, the release of the Emblem Heartless and Nobodies, and the plaguing of the Sleeping Worlds with the Dream Eaters. Xehanort has a few unusual tendencies and quirks, however, such as turning away from the people he speaks to, or over-dramatizing his hand gestures when delivering a speech, even flexing his fingers in a peculiar grasping motion.
Upon noticing how Sora reminded him of Eraqus, Xehanort got a chance to speak with his old friend, who convinced him that they had finally reached "checkmate". For the first time, Xehanort admits defeat, seemingly reclaims his friendship with Eraqus and develops a respect for Sora.
Master Xehanort is the most powerful Keyblade Master and a skilled magic-user. Able to teleport if he is in danger, Master Xehanort strikes opponents with powerful, fast-paced combos. He also can bombard foes with Fire, Thunder, Blizzard, and Earth-based magic. His magic skills are some of the most advanced seen in the series so far, as he is able to create massive rock formations and pillars, encase Ventus's body in ice, project a gust of wind powerful enough to send Ventus and Mickey flying from his hand, block Braig's Arrowgun shots without raising his arms, and telekinetically control the Keyblades covering the Keyblade Graveyard to attack Terra and Aqua. Master Xehanort's magical prowess is shown when King Mickey tries to confront him in Kingdom Hearts III; Mickey attempted to wipe him out with an Ultima spell, but Xehanort countered with a Stopza spell so powerful, it reached far enough to immobilize Riku. He also possesses physical strength sufficient to grab a fully-armored Ventus by the back of the head and lift him into the air with one hand. His old age, however, somewhat hampers his mobility, forcing him to rely more on magic and cunning in battle, until he manages to possess Terra.
Master Xehanort shows a great deal of skill in utilizing the heart and its capabilities, able to create a living being, Vanitas, out of the darkness of Ventus's heart when he unlocks it, to direct his heart into Terra's body to possess it after his defeat in the Keyblade Graveyard, or to steal the light from Sora's heart. Master Xehanort's greatest asset, however, is his intellect and capacity for manipulation. For over a decade, he has, directly or indirectly, influenced many of the hardships and suffering the worlds have gone through, and always has backup plans ready in the event his initial schemes fail.
Within his Scala ad Caelum, Xehanort is able to manipulate the town's structure at will. Using the χ-blade, Xehanort could warp by using Keyholes and summon Kingdom Hearts in whatever world he wished.[?]
Master Xehanort is able to wield his No Name Keyblade with great skill despite his age, and enough of his strength has remained over the years that he is able to use it in fast-paced physical combos. His battle stance is similar to that of both Vanitas and Riku, but he mainly allows the Keyblade to hang loosely at his side as he walks slowly towards opponents. Master Xehanort also uses his Keyblade to unlock countless hearts, including his own. Upon forging the χ-blade, Xehanort discards his Keyblade in favor of the ancient weapon.
Notes and references