- "The Heartless feed on other's hearts, and they yearn for that energy core. That thing beyond the door must be a heart, too—the heart of this world. There is no proof, but, having felt that immense energy, I am certain. That was the heart of the world."
- —Xehanort, Ansem Report 6
Xehanort is the main antagonist of the first Kingdom Hearts game. a former apprentice of Ansem the Wise, and is the complete being of "Ansem" and Xemnas. Xehanort is directly responsible for the creation of the Heartless, the Nobodies, Organization XIII, is the driving force behind most of the Disney villains, and sets in motion the events that make up most of the series. Xehanort has made an appearance in every game in the series so far in some shape or form and will be in the future titles that are said to make up the "Xehanort Saga" of the series, of which he serves as the main antagonist.
Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow. (Skip section)
Though Xehanort himself appears rarely, he is represented by various alter-egos: his Heartless "Ansem" in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, his Nobody Xemnas in Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, and his two original personas Master Xehanort and Terra in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep.
Kingdom Hearts II
The former apprentice of Ansem the Wise.
Even after becoming a Heartless, Xehanort persisted in his research of the doors and the heart of all worlds - all in the name of "Ansem", of course.
Meanwhile, his Nobody Xemnas had taken leadership of Organization XIII.
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
Master Xehanort possesses Terra's heart, and thus the new Xehanort comes into being.Xehanort first appeared chronologically in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, created at the Keyblade Graveyard when Master Xehanort used his Keyblade to unlock his heart and possess Terra after the creation of the X-Blade. He sought to use Terra's body as a younger and more powerful weapon as he ventured deeper into the mystery of the Keyblade War. Terra failed to shield himself with his armor, becoming a younger incarnation of the elderly Keyblade master. Just as the possessed Terra walked off leaving his discarded armor behind, he was forced to battle it when a portion of Terra's lost thoughts and feelings brought the armor to life as a being known as the Lingering Sentiment. Xehanort was knocked unconscious, then sent to the Radiant Garden in a blast of light caused by the destruction of the X-Blade (and Vanitas) by Aqua and Ventus. The Lingering Sentiment continued to reside in the Keyblade Graveyard from then on, Kingdom Hearts vanishing above it.
Aqua sacrificing herself to save Terra's body from falling into the Realm of Darkness.Aqua, learning from Master Yen Sid that her friend Terra's heart had been lost, was led to Radiant Garden through Terra's voice after hearing it when she left a comatose Ventus to rest peacefully in the "Chamber of Waking" of the newly created Castle Oblivion. It was in the Radiant Garden that she met the new Xehanort. Confused about his identity, Xehanort attacked Aqua, conflicted by the hearts of Terra and Master Xehanort that resided within him. Using his pregenitor's Keyblade and newly created Guardian, Xehanort fought Aqua. After the climatic battle, the internal struggle forced Xehanort to unlock his heart, sealing his memories and releasing Terra's heart from within him. Along with the Guardian, the young man then fell into the Realm of Darkness, Aqua diving in after him and sacrificing her armor and Keyblade to save Terra's body. After these events transpired, Braig took fellow apprentice Dilan as well as their master Ansem the Wise to the location of the battle between Aqua and Xehanort, where the amnesiac Keyblade wielder lay unconscious with no memory at all, except the name "Xehanort". On Ansem's order, the amnesiac young man was taken back to the castle along with Aqua's armor and Keyblade.
As the years passed, Xehanort became Ansem's leading apprentice, having a great curiosity about the true nature of the heart. He also began to work with Braig, who would begin to construct a plan to mass produce the nefarious Heartless alongside him. Little was Xehanort aware that inside him a battle between what remained of Master Xehanort and Terra was taking place, the two arguing over who was to control Xehanort's body and heart. Spoilers end here
After Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
Although he was confused about his past, Xehanort's quick learning and cunning made him the foremost apprentice of Ansem the Wise. Xehanort was described by Ansem as having abilities so remarkable that they could be considered supernatural. Eventually, Ansem began to worry about the darkness that lingers within the hearts of others and sought a way to stop it before it consumed his people. Ansem constructed a laboratory under his castle where he, Xehanort, and Ansem's five other assistants (Braig, Dilan, Even, Aeleus, and Ienzo) would conduct experiments on darkness.
Xehanort, who Ansem now fully trusts as an apprentice and friend, offered to use himself in the experiments. Ansem also hoped to unlock Xehanort's memories in addition to uncovering a way to repress the darkness within hearts. Xehanort had other plans in mind though and decided to conduct his own experiments to go deeper into the research.
Braig ponders if the new Xehanort is TerraXehanort, along with Braig, Dilan, Even, Aeleus, and Ienzo, carried out their own experiments where they abducted countless people and locked them within the depths of the laboratory where Xehanort then conducted horrible experiments on the subjects. After using many test subjects, one set of experiments led to the collapse of their hearts. The subjects then went into unrecoverable conditions and were locked up in the dungeon of the castle. Eventually, Xehanort checked on the subjects and saw that they transformed into creatures of darkness, which he named "The Heartless" as they apparently lacked hearts. At this point, Xehanort had taken Ansem the Wise's name as his own and wrote his own report under this stolen name.
Xehanort then presented the Heartless with living and non-living samples; the Heartless only responded to the living. Xehanort witnessed the Heartless consume the living creatures and then multiply into more Heartless. Xehanort deduced that the Heartless seek the hearts of other things, which explains why they only react to living samples, in order to create more of their kind. Xehanort and his associates soon began to slowly accept the darkness, allowing them to have limited control over the Heartless.
They in turn began to look less and less humane, a factor that Ansem himself realized. When Ansem learned that his apprentices continued with the research, he called them together and ordered for them to cease their efforts immediately, all the while questioning what was happening to his loyal apprentices. Xehanort, however, saw his master as a fool who had no understanding of research and kept the research operating.
After observing the behavior of the Heartless and their responses to living things, Xehanort took one of the Heartless aside and observed its behavior. The Heartless began to move throughout the castle until a door appeared which Xehanort was, somehow, able to open. Behind the door was a humongous mass of energy to which the Heartless reacted immensely. The opening of this door led to the collapse of the world's boundaries, which was seen in the form of a meteor shower. Xehanort eventually deduced that the door actually led to the heart of that world and that the opening of this door led to the collapse of the walls between worlds.
This allowed inter-dimensional travel as all the walls between worlds were now broken and eventually a visitor showed up named King Mickey. He had constructed a Gummi Ship, a spacecraft capable of breaking through world boundaries, out of materials from the meteors and used it to visit many different places in search of answers of recent events. Xehanort and Mickey met and had huge discussions in which Xehanort learned of the Keyblade, a mysterious weapon that Mickey himself possessed.
There were also legends that told of seven princesses with pure hearts and how they have a connection to this Keyblade. The Keyblade can also be wielded by many, as long as their hearts qualify, and it seems there is a legend of one Keyblade bearer who went on a journey of destiny to seal off the doors to other worlds. Since this was not in Xehanort's interest, he sought a way to find this weapon, which is ironic, given that his former self once wielded one, but was now lost. Mickey eventually met and befriended Ansem the Wise and the two of them exchanged theories and ideas in his office about what the Heartless were after. Ansem decided to resist the urge to test their theories while expressing deep remorse for his actions.
However, Ansem had no idea that Xehanort had gone further than he himself even dared. Xehanort entered the office during their discussion, asking Ansem's permission to test an experiment. Ansem forbade Xehanort to conduct it and told him to forget everything he learned from the research.
Even though Ansem had no further urge to research the darkness, the experiments led by Xehanort continued including the creation of a machine that created artificial Heartless, all of which were marked with an emblem created by Xehanort in order to differentiate them from the pure-bred Heartless. King Mickey suspected something odd about Xehanort and told Ansem to check his lab, collect all his data, and see if everything was under control.
Ansem did so and learned that Xehanort had taken his name as his own and wrote a detailed report. From the report, Ansem learned of the horrible torture inflicted on people by the inhumane experiments that Xehanort had done. Ansem ordered his apprentices to seal off the laboratory and cease their scheme for knowledge.
The Path to Destruction and Knowledge
Ansem's apprentices did as he instructed them but Xehanort eventually banished Ansem to the Realm of Nothingness and ravaged the world with Heartless. The Heartless under the command of Xehanort began spreading to other worlds and destroyed numerous ones in their mad search for hearts. One side effect of the destruction of so many worlds was the creation of Traverse Town, made up of the remains of the ruined worlds and populated by the few survivors of those said worlds. Xehanort then ordered for the seal on the laboratory to be broken and that a room that he called the "Chamber of Repose" be constructed. Once done, Xehanort often went in and spoke as if there was someone else in the room. It is later revealed that the room housed Aqua's armor, which Xehanort used to help gain further recollection about his past.
Xehanort then abducted and sent Kairi, a resident of Radiant Garden, to the oceans of other worlds. The reason for this was because Xehanort thought Kairi had a connection to the Keyblade bearer, as she seemed to possess power comparable to that of a Princess of Heart, which is rumored to posses a connection to the Keyblade. He hoped to use her to find the Keyblade master and prevent him from sealing off the doors to other worlds.
Xehanort made the final pages of his report, which outlined his intentions as well as those of the Heartless. The Heartless seek to consume the hearts of all living things. However, they not only seek human hearts, but the hearts of the worlds themselves. Their ultimate goal is to collect enough hearts to form the biggest heart of all, the heart in which all that exist are evolved from: Kingdom Hearts. Xehanort decided to use the Heartless' instincts to make his own plans.
He would find Kingdom Hearts in order to gain ultimate power, control, and knowledge. Xehanort also learned that the creation of a Heartless can also lead to the creation of another creature called a Nobody, beings that are left over bodies of those whose hearts have been stolen away. They transform into an inhuman state and do not truly exist as they lack a heart to make them truly live.
Xehanort and the others eventually gave themselves to the darkness to gain the ability to control all Heartless and wield the powers of darkness. They lost their hearts in the process and they became powerful Nobodies. However, Xehanort was the only one to have both a human Heartless and Nobody, both possessing the memories prior to their creations. Since they possessed strong hearts, Xehanort and his followers were able to retain their human forms as Nobodies. Radiant Garden was almost completely destroyed, save for the castle and the mutated waterways, which had several modifications done to it by Xehanort and the other apprentices, and most of its people were wiped out while some managed to escape to Traverse Town, such as Leon, Aerith, Yuffie, Cid, and Merlin.
Kingdom Hearts II
- "Master Ansem. Regarding the experiment I presented the other day... With your permission, I'd like to proceed..."
- —Xehanort speaks to Ansem in King Mickey's flashback.
A painting of Xehanort hanging in Ansem the Wise's study in Kingdom Hearts II.While Sora was investigating Ansem the Wise's study within Hollow Bastion, he spots a portrait of an unnamed man. He and his friends (Donald Duck and Goofy) realize that this man was the original being of the Heartless "Ansem", who Sora had defeated one year ago. After speaking with Tron and learning more about Ansem the Wise, they return to Ansem's study and run into King Mickey, who indicates that the true Ansem was not the one they fought. He asks them to give Tron some further help, and once they return, they find an image of an unknown man on Tron's computer, which Mickey identifies as a picture of the real Ansem. Later, after defeating the Heartless swarming the town, the trio encounter Xemnas, the Nobody of the fake Ansem and the superior of Organization XIII. Mickey finally remembers that Xemnas's original being was Xehanort, and explains about his past encounter with Ansem and Xehanort.
In The World That Never Was, King Mickey encounters the true Ansem, and learns from him that his goal is to destroy Xemnas's artificial Kingdom Hearts and exact revenge on his old apprentice for stealing his name and pride. Riku and Sora also refer to the fake Ansem as "Xehanort's Heartless", when Sora mistakes Riku for the villain, and when Riku explains how he had gained Ansem's form. Later on, Ansem repeatedly uses the name "Xehanort" to insultingly refer to Xemnas, who replies by listing Ansem's own sins, and accusing Ansem of always holding his research back.
Throughout Xehanort's known appearances, too little of him has actually been seen to know what the man was truly like. Upon his creation in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, he appeared to retain the personality of Master Xehanort, implying that had he not lost his memories, he would have been nothing less than a younger version of Master Xehanort's ruthless and cunning.
Shortly after Xehanort was defeated by the Lingering Sentiment, and lost some of his memories, he ended up in Radiant Garden, and began to question his existence upon meeting Aqua - questioning her by strangling her. Upon being rescued by her, and found by Braig and Ansem, he has lost all of his memories entirely - save for the name "Xehanort".
This incarnation of Xehanort appears to have a very professional and no nonsense attitude, shown by his determination in his study, and having little patience for Braig's pestering. In the secret ending, Braig even questions Xehanort if he's truly Terra due to his behavior and personality, but quickly brushes it aside.
However, one can assume that Xehanort's research into darkness has clouded and twisted his mind into insanity, causing over eleven years of suffering across the worlds.
As Terra's body was used in the creation, Xehanort originally wore a skintight, black, high-collared shirt, showing that he is rather muscular. Xehanort's pants bear a distinct feudal Japanese style; his belt is tied like an obi-sash and he wears hakama (traditional samurai pants distinguished by the large pleats). His hakama are dark grey near the top, with several loops for his belt and two buttons, both of which are undone. The rest of the pants are tan with a small, lighter stripe of tan on the bottom hem. Xehanort wears a plain black wristband on his right arm, while his left arm is significantly more armored. Xehanort's eyes are amber-gold and his hair was originally identical to Terra's in style, albeit a bit messier, with a pronounced spike on the top. Xehanort's hair also becomes stark white in color.
While in Radiant Garden, after losing his memories, Xehanort wore a white labcoat with rather loose sleeves that is partway zipped down. The coat also has pockets roughly where Xehanort's hips would be. He wears black boots that are identical to those worn by his Heartless and the members of Organization XIII, with a white/silver lining along the top and an indentation on the sides. Underneath his coat, Xehanort wears a grey vest overtop a white collar shirt, along with a purple ascot around his neck. During this time, his hair is worn long, with two bangs framing his face. His hair also sports three backward-facing spikes, one at the top of his head, and one on either side, just above his ears. His skin is also rather tan.
- Main article: Xehanort (Boss)
Xehanort wielding Master Xehanort's Keyblade before the battle with the Lingering Sentiment.After Master Xehanort possesses Terra towards the end of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Xehanort is able to wield Master Xehanort's Keyblade. The weapon has a spiky shaft, a gleaming eye found near the teeth, which look similar to a battle ax. It is black and silver in coloration, able to lock and unlock hearts, appearing similar to the Oblivion Keyblade. It also contains two demonic blue eyes; one above the handle and the other one on the head, similar to the Soul Eater, Way to the Dawn, and Vanitas's Keyblade. Xehanort uses the weapon to perform long, powerful combo attacks, as well as use several powerful desperation attacks. After Xehanort lost his memories, he lost his ability to wield this weapon.
Xehanort, being a possessed version of Terra, is able to use both the Quake and Meteor spells, as well as the Dark Impluse Command Style, and the Black Volley and Ultima Cannon Shoot Locks. He is able to attack using Master Xehanort's Keyblade with Solos Arcanum, a fast, multi-hit combo, and is also one of the few bosses able to heal with Curaga. As with the Keyblade, Xehanort lost access to Terra's abilities after the loss of his memories.
In Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Xehanort calls upon a dark entity called the "Guardian" to fight alongside him. The Guardian is a spirit-like creature that floats behind Xehanort as both his defense and offense. The Guardian can shield Xehanort from enemy attacks, slam opponents with physical blows, possess its targets, and fire projectiles of darkness energy. Xehanort's chronological first use of the ability to summon the Guardian was during the battle against Aqua in the Radiant Garden.
- If you remove the "X" in Xehanort's name and reassemble it, you can get the phrases/words "No Heart" and "Another". On a side note, when Xemnas visits the Chamber of Repose, his password in the computer is "another", hinting that Xehanort himself realized the anagrams in his name, typed along with the original names of the other apprentices that became Organization XIII's first six members.
- In the Japanese version, Xehanort is voiced by Akio Ōtsuka, the son of Chikao Ōtsuka, the Japanese voice actor of Master Xehanort.
- According to the Director's Secret Report XIII, Xehanort will most certainly reappear in a future game - as his Heartless and Nobody were slain in that order. Nomura has confirmed this, stating that Kingdom Hearts III will portray the final battle between Sora and Xehanort, and serve as the conclusion of what he thinks of as the "Xehanort Saga".