The Voice of King Mickey: A Tragic Piece of Disney History
If there’s one thing that bugged me about being in the Kingdom Hearts fandom, it’s the fact that it seems to be the general consensus that the new voice of King Mickey isn’t as good as the old one.
Which I can actually understand because it’s like night and day when listening to King Mickey in Kingdom Hearts 2 compared to Birth By Sleep.
And when asked what’s wrong with the new voice, most of the time people say they’re not really sure… it just sounds off.
But I just learned something. Apparently the new voice (Bret Iwan) was originally hired to just be an understudy to the old voice actor (Wayne Allwine) so essentially Bret was going to learn from the master and essentially have Wayne as a voice mentor.
Unfortunately, this didn’t end up happening as Wayne tragically passed away from complications caused by diabetes a short time later.
Which means that Bret was suddenly hired as the new voice of Mickey Mouse with basically no professional training. Bret could still do the voice, but couldn’t obtain any of the knowledge about Wayne’s experiances that spanned for over 30 years. Any personal tips about inflection, emotion, or even inner character interpretation was lost.
And what was one of Bret’s first gigs as Mickey Mouse? You guessed it, Birth By Sleep.
So imagine. The legendary voice of Mickey Mouse passed away before Bret could really learn anything and now he is suddenly forced to voice a generally happy go lucky character in a serious light that is vastly different from anything else the character has ever been in. That must have been terrifying.
So I’ve always felt bad for Bret. He was given the short end of the stick and did as best he could, again, without any real training from Wayne Allwine before he tragically passed away. It’s a real sad situation for all involved.
And not to mention that Wayne voiced Mickey in Chain of Memories…. but it was around the time when his health really started to decline… he sounds tired and you can really tell he was very ill while voicing that game. So not only do we have an entire game where Wayne was really sick, but this is also the last prominent voice for King Mickey before he passed (excluding non-verbal noises in 358/2 Days).
So essentially the Kingdom Hearts games hold a tragic turning point in Disney History. It captures the slow declining health of the legendary Wayne Allwine right before he passed away (which honestly makes it difficult for me to replay Chain of Memories) and it captures the slow climb for Bret Iwan who didn’t even have the chance to learn before becoming the new voice for King Mickey.
In the end, I’m glad that most people have learned to accept Bret over time. He’s definitely grown into his role and you can tell the difference between Birth By Sleep and the newest instalment, 0.2 A Fragmentary Passage.
It’s just really sad that Bret’s transition to be the new voice of Mickey Mouse happened in this genuinely devastating situation for all involved. They did their best in bringing the voice of King Mickey to life despite the challenges they both faced and I have the highest amount of respect for them.
Storyboards of the Summons from the Kingdom Hearts video-game: Bambi, Mushi, Simba, Tinker Bell and Genie!- Dedicating this to my girlfriend nefowls for 2 years of making each other happy !^_^18/11 I LUV YA!
How Mickey’s Poor Memory Ties Into KH3: Kingdom Hearts Meta
Right, so I just finished watching the ReCoded HD Cutscene movie and there’s something that stuck out to me.
So we all know that Mickey knew Terra, Aqua, and Ventus over ten years ago according to the KH lore. Yet he never brought them up. This is highlighted in the KH 2.8 Remix trailer when Mickey not so subtly drops that not only did he know them, but he met Aqua once in the Realm of Darkness.
This naturally got a lot of people in the fandom really mad. After the sad events that transpired in Birth By Sleep, the only survivor of the ordeal finds out information but doesn’t say anything for ten years? Yeah, that would be suspicious… but is it possible his actions can be explained?
Let’s step back from that for a minute and go towards KH2. Mickey met Xemnas. The leader of Organization 13. The guy who was purposefully destroying countless worlds so he could create Kingdom Hearts. Yet, even though Mickey clearly met him and understands the danger the worlds are in, he completely forgets ever seeing Xemnas until he sees him again at Hallow Bastion.
Which makes things worse considering Xemnas was the spitting image of Terra. And even though Mickey never met Terra personally, he does know Xemnas’ true identity because of his reaction to it in Dream Drop Distance.
So why would Mickey just casually forget the pain and suffering of his friends? Or forget who Xemnas is?
It’s a mystery unless you analyze the psychology of ReCoded.
Near the end of the game, Data Sora is taken to Castle Oblivion where he begins to walk through the castle and starts forgetting all of his friends. Data Roxas tells him that it’s better to just forget and not connect with people in the first place, because that hurt will destroy him.
Essentially, if Data Sora dwells on the pain, then the darkness will overtake him. Instead of Mickey easily giving sage advice… he instead says something interesting.
The reason why this is interesting is because MICKEY HAS BEEN THERE!
Mickey was the sole survivor of the onslaught that transpired between Aqua, Ventus, and Terra against Master Xehanort. A fight he wasn’t even supposed to be a part of. Yet because of his friendship with those three, he wanted to join in to help in any way he could…
And he couldn’t save them.
Mickey didn’t just forget about Terra, Aqua, and Ven as the years went by… he repressed those memories on purpose because it hurt too much to think about. That guilt built up but he couldn’t face his past because that pain was too much for him. And according to Data Roxas, if you dwell on the pain you fall into darkness. We may not see Mickey get close to darkness per-say, but we do see the effects their losses in his actions.
Why he travels alone during KH1 and 2? Why he has such a strong reaction to Goofy’s “death”? Why he’s so desperate to not let Riku fall into darkness? Why he “forgot” Xemnas?
It’s because he has been hurt by loss in the past and instead of facing that pain head on and accepting it, he ran away and attempted to prevent that pain from happening again by simultaneously trying to repress the memories and trying to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
That’s why he’s forgotten, but won’t let go. He doesn’t want his friends to go down the same path, but he doesn’t want to go through that pain again.
The King is at a crossroads throughout most of the games because of these conflicting emotions! Also, Mickey has taught himself that all darkness is inherently evil and that no form of darkness should ever exist. Which also includes feelings such as sadness, anger, loss, or regret…
So he can really relate to Data Sora here.
If Mickey let his pain in, would it pull him to the darkness? Would it overtake him?
But the difference between Data Sora and Mickey is that Data Sora is willing to accept that pain is essential to who you are and you must carry it. Data Sora can accept it while Mickey, although he accepts darkness can be used for good, still struggles with accepting his own darkness.
And who conveniently meets up with Data Sora after he learns to accept the fact that you gotta carry your pain with you?
That’s right. Mickey. Yes, he didn’t have the energy to talk to Data Sora during Data Sora’s battle with Roxas, but Mickey had to at least keep track of Data Sora somehow. Otherwise he wouldn’t know where Data Sora would be in the Datescape. It’s possible Mickey could have kept a connection open enough so that he could hear Data Sora. Mickey had to since just after he says he’s glad to catch up with Data Sora, he says:
So Mickey knew what Data Sora was going through. Could it be possible that Mickey took his time because he was realizing that Sora was doing something he couldn’t? That Data Sora could accept pain as natural and carry the weight without it letting the pain overtake him?
If Mickey heard the whole exchange between Data Sora and Data Roxas, Mickey would have been faced with a decision. A decision that he’s been running away from for over ten years.
If Mickey were to help Data Sora find the hidden pieces of the journal, he must learn to accept his own pain too. And even though we do not see how Mickey gets affected on a surface level, we do see how the experience changed him immediately after Mickey returns to the real world.
After the events of this game, Mickey seems more aware of his missing friends. In the secret ending of the game, Mickey immediately starts talking to YenSid about finding Ven’s heart and saving Terra, Ven, and Aqua.
It could be possible that he has been investigating their losses in the past, but it was only after he accepted that he wasn’t good enough to save them that he was able to get emotionally strong enough to face his mistakes and take his pain head on.
Data Sora showed him the way. After being with Data Sora and facing the memories that were too painful to bear according to Naminé, Mickey had to face the loss he ran away from for over ten years.
Sora’s not the only one who needed a hand to hold during this painful re-experience.
Naminé then says this to Mickey specifically:
Because, she’s right. Mickey does know how much they’re hurting. And how long he has been running away from that pain.
But now he needs to face it, accept it, and carry the burden to make it right.
Some say that ReCoded was pointless.
I say it added a lot of depth to Mickey and answered a lot of questions related to his character.
Now Mickey isn’t afraid of his own pain, guilt, and loss anymore. Now he can accept that darkness as a part of himself.
It may be a long time coming, but because of his adventures with Data Sora, Mickey is finally ready to acknowledge his memories, forgive himself, move forward, and finally take the steps to save his friends in Kingdom Hearts 3.
Favourite Korean drama on-screen couple: Lee Jae Ha and Kim Hang Ah in The King 2 Hearts (2012).
“… I’m going to shower you with kisses every morning; that’s my revenge. Like a stalker, I’m going to follow you around everyday. I’m going to buy you everything you want. I’ll never cheat on you, I’m only going to look at you. I will never… let you shed another teardrop. I will make you the world’s happiest queen. I will love you alone until the day I die. That’s my revenge. Can you handle that? My queen?“
I was reading the KH2 manga and have realized something. There is a huge change in the Hollow Bastian scene between the game and the manga. Something that changes the perspective of Donald and Goofy’s character development in relations to the King.
As we all know, in the original game there is a battle in Hollow Bastian. Mickey attempts to stop Sora from going into the fight because it is dangerous. Sora immediately retorts by saying
Notice how he doesn’t want to go because he wants to help Leon and the others. That is important for later. Anyway, after this you know the rest. Mickey overrides Sora by commanding Donald and Goofy to take Sora to find Riku and Kairi. Keep in mind that by this point in the games Donald and Goofy had always shown severe dedication to King Mickey and his orders. They never had questioned him when they were stationed to find the boy with the key and stick with him in the original KH game.
They even took his orders so seriously that when it came to light that Riku was the original keyblade master, they dropped Sora like an old hat. With little regret mind you. Sure, they said sorry and came back to Sora later, but when the choice was first made, they stuck with the King’s words.
Why is that important here? Well, they had a good reason to stick with Sora when it was important. Riku may be the original keyblade master, but he was on the wrong side. So they followed what they figured was right and even though they inadvertently disobeyed Mickey’s orders, it was the right choice given the circumstances.
So why does that matter? Because when we see Donald and Goofy deciding to go headfirst into the Hollow Bastian battle in KH2, we also see them directly disobey orders. For no real reason other than to make Sora happy despite how dangerous it is. Think about that for a second. These two have abandoned Sora before because they kept true to their mission (which was to find the King himself in the first game). Now they have flat out disobeyed their King’s orders for Sora’s sake!
That’s a huge shift.
Imagine this from King Mickey’s perspective.The last time he met with Donald and Goofy was when he was on the other side of the Door to Darkness, and a few very brief moments before this day. He hasn’t even spent quality time with Donald and Goofy, his closest friends,for at least a year and a half. That is a long time. And time has a way of changing people. When Mickey ruled Disney Castle, he knew Donald and Goofy as incredibly loyal servants and friends. People he trusted the most. So naturally he would assume they would follow his command, no questions asked. Like how things used to be.
And keep in mind that Mickey is thinking on the bigger picture here. If Sora stays to fight, and gets injured, or even killed, who can save Kairi? Who can find Riku? They still have no idea where the Organization’s stronghold is at the point in the game. And without the chosen wielder of the keyblade, there wouldn’t be any chance to stop the Organization’s plans. Mickey doesn’t know where Riku is. Donald and Goofy don’t know where Kairi is. If Sora were to die at Hollow Bastian, there would have been no hope to save the worlds. So Mickey honestly had the best plan. They’ll keep at fighting the heartless, while Sora, Donald, and Goofy continue their search for Riku and Kairi. Mickey honestly thought that his two best friends would follow his order, because he actually knows what he’s talking about!
But they didn’t. In one swift motion, Mickey’s status as king, planner, and friend is thrown aside in Sora’s favor. Donald and Goofy’s loyalties have changed. After being away for so long, this is the first time Mickey is face to face with the idea that suddenly… he really doesn’t know his friends anymore. And now he’s at the crossroads between what used to be a close friendship and what has become of them. They have become so close to Sora that they flat out refused to listen to Mickey, a friend whom they have known for far longer than they ever knew him. Mickey has suddenly lost that connection with his friends, and thanks to how close they are with Sora now, he might never fully recover that connection.
This is why I think Mickey is so suddenly okay with fighting alongside them after this moment in the game. Before, he stayed in the shadows mostly alone during KH2. We still don’t know his reasoning, but I think he avoided the others because he didn’t want to see them get hurt. Or them see him get hurt. Remember he is still scarred by the “deaths” of Terra, Ven, and Aqua. So the idea that his friends could get killed still haunts him, making him afraid to be with others in battle.
But Mickey is also standing at the crossroads between keeping away for his own inner protection, and drifting away from his closest companions. I believe that he wanted to stick with Sora, Donald, and Goofy after this moment because secretly he misses being as close to his friends like Sora is. Sora essentially replaced him. And this is his desperate moment to reunite with the friends who changed right under his nose.
And you know what? The manga decided to change things for the better.
During the exact scene in the third KH2 manga, instead of having Leon being the reason Sora wants to fight in the Hollow Bastian battle, do you know what it has been changed to?
That’s right. Sora’s first response isn’t saying how the others are his friends too. It’s that MICKEY need their help. In the game, they never even consider him and run off on their own, leaving Mickey in the dust. But in the manga, Sora acknowledges Mickey not as an obstacle, but as a friend who needs his companions’ aid. It’s only after Mickey responds that he can take care of it that Sora even acknowledges Leon and the others.
In these few pages alone, the manga respects Mickey’s role as Donald, Goofy, and Sora’s friend by having them defy an order for Mickey’s sake. In the manga, they see that Mickey needed help. That he was alone. And he needed his friends now more than ever. There isn’t a scene with Mickey being angry for defying orders either. After he realizes that they are willing to stay to help him in his need, Mickey immediately smiles and agrees to go with them to battle. He is no longer afraid to be with his friends in this war. Yes, Leon and the others needed Sora too, but because they show that they still care about Mickey to stick with him during the rough times, this scene alone changes the entire dynamic of the four. In the games, it seems like Mickey had been replaced by Sora. But in the manga, he is still considered a friend to all three of them regardless of how many years it has been.