Kingdom Hearts 4 is officially a go, and it took all of 40 seconds for the wild speculation to begin. At the Kingdom Hearts 20th Anniversary Event, Square Enix released the first-ever teaser trailer for Kingdom Hearts 4, confirming the game’s existence, teasing a few story details and even giving us a glimpse of gameplay. None of that is terribly surprising — but a detail indicating a potential Star Wars cameo might be.
Eagle-eyed fans on Reddit noticed an odd shape that shows up about 40 seconds into the trailer. If you want to try to spot it yourself, we’ve embedded the announcement video below. You’ll want to pay careful attention when the timestamp reaches 4:40. (There are trailers for other games before the KH4 section begins.)
If you didn’t spot it, don’t worry; we also had to watch it a few times. You’ll want to pay close attention to the unnatural-looking structure in the upper-right corner. Compare and contrast this image with the rear view of an AT-ST, otherwise known as the scout walker from The Empire Strikes Back. There’s more than a passing resemblance between the KH4 screenshot and the back view of an AT-ST’s “foot.”
Whether this is actually a Star Wars reference, a deliberate mislead or just an errant rock, it’s difficult to stay. The forest level does bear a passing resemblance to the fourth moon of Endor from Return of the Jedi, and the “rounded-base-with-a-straight-beam” design is an AT-ST characteristic. On the other hand, it’s also a solid base for any kind of man-made design, from a trestle to completely different kind of mech.
It's worth noting, at least, that Kingdom Hearts 4 represents the first opportunity to incorporate Star Wars into a mainline Kingdom Hearts game. When Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, Kingdom Hearts III was already in development, and it wasn’t clear how much Disney would want to incorporate Star Wars with its other franchises. Now that we’ve seen Star Wars cross over with everything from Mickey Mouse to The Simpsons, however, it doesn’t seem ridiculous for Kingdom Hearts to incorporate the space fantasy franchise as well.
On the other hand, there’s more to Kingdom Hearts 4 than whether it will include a Star Wars level, and it’s probably shortsighted to focus on a half-second Easter egg. The series has now been around for 20 years, and it’s worth asking what a fourth mainline installment could accomplish that the previous dozen games haven’t.