Young Xehanort acquired the ability to travel through time from his future self's Heartless, and he used it to manipulate events so that his future self's plans would come to fruition.
Xehanort's younger incarnation, from Dream Drop Distance onward, has been voiced by Takanori Okuda in Japanese, and former child voice actor Benjamin Diskin in English. Prior to this, Young Xehanort had a single line of dialogue in the opening scenes of Birth by Sleep, where he was voiced Mamoru Miyano in Japanese and David Gallagher in English (who both play Riku in their respective languages).
Before Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
Xehanort grew up on the Destiny Islands. As a young man, he was paid a visit by his future self's Heartless, Ansem, who granted him the power to traverse time and tasked him with gathering twelve other incarnations of himself from across time. After carrying out his duties in the future, Xehanort returned to his proper place in time at the Destiny Islands. While the rules of time travel prevented him from keeping his memories of his travels, they engraved themselves on his heart so that he retained a desire to eventually leave the islands.
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
When Terra, Ventus, and Aqua travel to the remains of the Land of Departure again, they meet the time-displaced Young Xehanort, who hides his identity by keeping his hood up. After he is defeated, he departs again through time.
Kingdom Hearts coded
Soon after Mickey finishes his research into the Datascape, the time-displaced Young Xehanort travels to Radiant Garden and wakes Braig. The two discuss Master Xehanort's plans and the details of his Keyblade for a short period, then agree to take Isa, as Saïx, with them.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
The time displaced Young Xehanort successfully gathers other incarnations of himself from across time, until they total eleven, including himself.
At the beginning of Sora and Riku's Mark of Mastery exam, the disembodied Ansem appears, in his robed appearance. He causes Sora to be marked with the Recusant's Sigil, allowing him to be tracked and guided through the Sleeping Worlds by Young Xehanort and his comrades.
Young Xehanort appears before Sora and Riku in several worlds, often accompanied by either Ansem or Xemnas. They taunt the two, Sora about his unknown links to others' hearts, Riku about his dark past, and both about being trapped in their dreams. Young Xehanort chooses to make Sora the thirteenth vessel for Master Xehanort's heart, as Riku had developed a resistance to darkness. In the Symphony of Sorcery, Xehanort confronts Sora, commenting on the idyllic and beautiful dream-like landscape. Xehanort reveals he is not part of Sora's dream and ominously tells Sora to keep sleeping and they will meet again.
Eventually, Sora is brought to the real World that Never Was, where Xigbar explains how his journey had been manipulated all along, and Young Xehanort plunges Sora back into a deep sleep, showing him illusions of his own past. Sora then dreams of the many people connected to him, and when he chases the phantoms in his dream, he falls deeper into sleep. Eventually he confronts Xigbar and Xemnas, who reveal to him the true purpose of Organization XIII and admit that Nobodies can regrow their hearts over time. Although Sora defeats Xemnas, the fight weakens him to the point that he cannot escape from his deep sleep. Young Xehanort reappears before him, and he tells Sora how they had manipulated his journey. As Sora falls unconscious, Xehanort informs him that he will become the thirteenth member of the new Organization XIII.
Riku attempts to find Sora in The World That Never Was, eventually defeating Ansem and returning to the real world. He tracks Sora to the Castle That Never Was, where he finds Sora in Where Nothing Gathers. Young Xehanort stops Riku from reaching Sora, and he tells him about the true purpose of Organization XIII as vessels for Xehanort, as well as his role in gathering the members from across time, and his choosing Sora as the thirteenth member. The current members appear, but before Master Xehanort fully materializes, Mickey arrives and freezes the area with a Stopza spell. However, Master Xehanort possesses the body of his younger incarnation, allowing him to move and to summon a Keyblade. Young Xehanort faces Riku in battle, but Riku finally prevails. The time freeze wears off, and Master Xehanort fully revives on the highest throne, while Young Xehanort takes his place on another.
After Master Xehanort's plans to make Sora his final vessel are thwarted, Young Xehanort leaves this era along with the other time travellers.
Kingdom Hearts III
In order to conduct an experiment on the growth of hearts, Young Xehanort takes several of Andy's toys and traps them in an alternate version of their world called the Toy Box. He has a particular interest in pitting Buzz Lightyear and Woody against each other to learn about the relationship between hearts and bonds. The toys (accompanied by Sora, Donald, and Goofy) track Xehanort down to Galaxy Toys, where he admits the fraudulent nature of the world before summoning Heartless to take over several Gigas action figures and attack the group.
Once the toys find Rex in the game store, Young Xehanort has a Heartless possess Buzz and forces him to shoot at Woody. Xehanort dodges Sora's attacks while explaining his plan: to separate Woody, Buzz, and their friends from Andy, who was the source of their hearts through their close bond, so as to weaken them, the appearance of Sora and their distrust of him being the last straw until they could be taken over. He then traps Sora in a video game. Young Xehanort takes Buzz through a Corridor of Darkness before being followed by Sora and Woody. They dispel the darkness of isolation surrounding Buzz through the light of friendship, teaching Xehanort that empty vessels can truly grow hearts. He disappears and leaves behind the King of Toys Heartless as a "parting gift."
Young Xehanort appears alongside the other Seekers once the Guardians reach the Keyblade Graveyard. The group summon a massive horde of Heartless, Nobodies, and Unversed to stall the guardians before departing.
After Sora rescues Axel's heart from the Lich in San Fransokyo, Young Xehanort appears once again, admonishing Sora for blindly pursuing the Lich to save his friends, and warning that there will be a heavy price to pay.
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. After Master Xehanort informs them that the χ-blade is nearly completed, Young Xehanort, Ansem, and Xemnas then attack the group.
After a difficult battle, in which Master Xehanort frequently interferes via a storm of Keyblades, Young Xehanort is defeated and returned to his proper place in time, though not before again warning Sora that there is a high cost to overusing the power of waking.
In his youth, Xehanort had mildly tanned skin, golden 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 backwards 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. While traveling through time, he wears the black coat.
Young Xehanort's body model in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep is a slightly-modified copy of Saïx's, though it is likely that this is simply due to data recycling rather than any deeper significance.
Like the members of the original Organization XIII, Xehanort's name contains the letter "X", along with the anagrams "Another" and "No Heart".
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Young Xehanort has the ability to control time with enough precision to manipulate the flow of battle, either by slowing the opponent while unleashing a multitude of swift, powerful strikes, or reversing the flow of time to recover from damage. He is also an extremely skilled magic user, and is able to cast powerful spells based on the elements of Fire and Blizzard, fire magical shots similar to those fired by Sora in Wisdom Form, or teleport himself around the battlefield.
Young Xehanort wields two weapons that bear a striking resemblance to Xemnas's Ethereal Blades. Unlike many of Xemnas's weapons, however, Xehanort's appear to have hilts. The blades are made of light blue energy, and the black handles are somewhat reminiscent of the Terminus and Ruination Ethereal Blades. The blades can be combined into a dual-blade or can extend to be lashed like a whip. Xehanort wields these weapons with a reverse grip. In his battle with Riku at Where Nothing Gathers, while possessed by his older incarnation, Young Xehanort wields a Keyblade that incorporates elements from both the No Name Keychain used by Terra, Ventus, and Aqua and the No Name Keyblade used by Luxu and Master Xehanort.
Notes and references
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