Young Xehanort is Master Xehanort's younger self when he was a teenager. He was given the power to travel through and manipulate time itself by his future Heartless in order to assist his older self in assembling and containing his essence in thirteen different vessels.
Young Xehanort first appeared before Sora and Riku during their Mark of Mastery exam in the Sleeping Worlds. With the help of some of his other vessels, Young Xehanort was able to coax Sora into traveling to The World That Never Was, where his heart would become trapped in a deep slumber while his body would be used as the thirteenth dark vessel for the real Organization XIII. However, their plans were thwarted by Riku, King Mickey, Lea, Donald and Goofy, who were able to save Sora from the Organization's clutches. Despite this, Young Xehanort escaped with his future self and his other vessels to prepare for the future ahead.
While Sora, Donald and Goofy visited Toy Box, they encountered Young Xehanort, who was using the world's unique properties with living toys and their hearts to conduct several experiments. Despite being forced to withdraw from the world by the heroes, Young Xehanort learned that a heart can be placed in a vessel of their choosing, something that could benefit the Organization in finding their final member. He later confronts the assembled Guardians of Light at the Keyblade Graveyard, and later Sora when he attempts to save the hearts of his fallen allies from the Lich, warning Sora that misusing the power of waking for his own agendas would have a costly price to pay. During the Second Keyblade War, Young Xehanort is defeated in battle, and before fading away to return to his proper place in time, he taunts Sora one last time on his ultimate fate for misusing the power of waking.
Young Xehanort has mildly tanned skin with pointed ears, golden eyes, and silver hair; originally however, he had silver eyes and his ears weren't pointed. His hair slightly spikes and falls past his shoulders in the back. He has four bangs framing his face, similar to Terra-Xehanort’s hair when he became Ansem the Wise's apprentice.
When he lived on Destiny Islands, Young Xehanort wore the same style of white shirt similar to his future self and Heartless, a black vest with a high collar, long armbands which cover his forearms, and dark grey pants stuffed into his boots. When he acquires the power to time travel, Young Xehanort acquires a Replica body from the future in order to remain during his travels. With his heart contained within a Replica, the Replica becomes modeled after him physically, although he wears a black coat instead of his normal outfit.
In Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Young Xehanort's body is completely covered by a hooded black coat with a fairly tall and masculine build. He never speaks at any point of the game.
Before Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
- "This was where it started. At this point, I still had no idea that I was talking to myself."
- —Young Xehanort to Sora
In his youth, Xehanort, who once lived on Destiny Islands, had dreams of leaving his home in search for something greater. One day, he was approached by a hooded figure, who told him of the future and how his future self had given him a task. The figure then gave Xehanort the power to time travel and tasks him to collect various vessels containing his heart throughout time. Xehanort agrees to do this, not knowing at the time that the figure he was talking to was a version of himself.
Once Xehanort had finished his role in the future, his heart returned to its proper place in time without any memories of the experiences he had in the future. However, they would remain etched in his heart, granting him the desire to leave his home and eventually become a Keyblade Master.
As Terra, Ventus, and Aqua return separately to the Land of Departure's remains, they turn around when they feel a presence and find a hooded figure who challenges them to a battle. After the battle, they seem to have lost sight of the mysterious figure, and prepare to walk away when they spot him again, but he only walks away in the direction of the castle and disappears, fading out of sight.
Not long after the defeat of Xemnas, the human counterparts of the first eight members of Organization XIII reappear in Ansem's Lab in Radiant Garden. The first to awaken is Braig, being done so by the time-traveling Young Xehanort. Remarking that things were back on track, Braig soon chats with Young Xehanort on the latter's future self's intentions before asking the youth which of the comatose apprentices to take with them. Young Xehanort smiles, and picks Saïx.
Young Xehanort is shown as the first incarnation before both Ansem and Xemnas, and appears in his elderly form after them.
Young Xehanort appears numerous times to Sora and Riku during their Mark of Mastery exam as they traverse the Realm of Sleep and awaken several worlds previously destroyed by Ansem, Seeker of Darkness. During these appearances, Young Xehanort would taunt the two as he recruited other versions of himself throughout time and space to complete the real Organization XIII under Master Xehanort's orders. The original Organization XIII was meant to recruit thirteen strong beings to be used to make clones of Master Xehanort through the process of transferring portions of his heart into their bodies, but the first generation of Nobodies consisted of many failures. A majority of the original members were either traitorous to the Organization, were too weak for their purpose, or were simply distrustful. Young Xehanort then embarked on his mission to find suitable replacements; various versions of himself, throughout time. To this end, Xehanort recruited Ansem and Xemnas to the new Organization.
As the story progresses, it is revealed that Ansem once traveled back in time and set this younger version of his former incarnation on his journey as a fail safe should Xemnas' Organization XIII prove to be useless in his plans. After Sora fights Xemnas which damages the former's heart, Young Xehanort puts him into a deep sleep, planning to use him as the final vessel in his new Organization XIII. Sora is taken to the Organization's former headquarters in The World that Never Was, while Riku and King Mickey attempt to save him. Young Xehanort impedes their attempts and engages Riku in a brutal fight with his newly-acquired Keyblade, where Riku comes through victorious, but Master Xehanort returns immediately after the fight to assume control over his new army. Young Xehanort takes his place among the ranks under his older self's rule and escapes with all his counterparts, once Riku, Mickey, Lea, Donald, and Goofy prevented Master Xehanort from transferring a portion of his heart into Sora to make him his final vessel.
When Sora, Donald and Goofy, all taking the form of action figures of themselves, visit Toy Box and team up with Woody Pride, Buzz Lightyear and some of Andy's other toys, they learn that the world was invaded by the Heartless, who were being led by a hooded figure wearing a black coat. From the toy soldiers' recon, they discover that the figure was last seen at Galaxy Toys in town, and the collective group of toys decide to travel there and investigate.
When they arrive and find several Giga toys, Sora questions why they weren't moving, to which Young Xehanort replies from the shadows that he can make them move for them. Young Xehanort then appears from a corridor of darkness atop the giant gumball machine in the center of the store, to whom Sora recognizes as the first of the Xehanorts during his Mark of Mastery exam in the Sleeping Words. When "honored" that Sora remembered him, he snaps his fingers to summon a few Toy Troopers, who take control of the Gigas to attack the group. While Sora, Donald and Goofy block one of the Giga's attacks while Woody saves Hamm, Young Xehanort explains that the shadow of one heart can fill the void of another, comparing them to the concepts of the Heartless and Nobodies. Sora questions why he was doing all of this, to which Young Xehanort reveals that they are still missing one of their thirteen darknesses, and that the way hearts connect in this world could give them a clue as to where they can find the last one. He goes on to reveal that he made a copy of the world, separating its inhabitants and their hearts between the two halves to experiment how they would handle the strain without the other half. As he begins to take his leave, Sora asks what he was talking about, although Young Xehanort tells him to not let him down before warping away and leaving the Gigas to fight the group.
After finding Rex at the video game store, the toys prepare to leave back for Andy's room, although they are confronted by Young Xehanort, who tells them he has more to observe in his experiment and that he won't let them leave. Sora tells him that it was him he wanted, thought Young Xehanort comments that he would say that as a champion of light. While the toys are distracted, Young Xehanort has a Marionette possess Buzz from behind, forcing him to turn on the others. While Rex and Donald attempt to restrain Buzz, and Goofy shields Woody from his laser shots, Sora questions Young Xehanort what he has done while attempting to attack him, although Young Xehanort warps away from the attack. While Sora fails to land a hit on the continuously warping Young Xehanort, the latter explains during this that he was testing the strength of the toys' hearts, which come from a powerful bond, and allowing these bonds to be stretched to their limits. He reveals he was using the friendship between Woody and Buzz as his prime experiment so he could utilize the strain between them caused by Buzz's insecurities of Sora to create a chasm of vast darkness within his heart, telling Sora to see for himself. Sora attempts to help the others, but he is immediately restrained by Young Xehanort, who blasts him into the Verum Rex game. He taunts Sora from the outside world that he could watch his experiment unfold should he find a moment's rest against several Gigas before warping away. While Sora fights the Gigas and eventually escapes, Young Xehanort captures Buzz and brings him through a dark corridor in another part of the store.
Sora, Donald, Goofy and Woody soon reach the dark corridor and past through, where they arrive in a dark-covered area and discover Young Xehanort with a comatose Buzz, who was seeping a powerful darkness created in his heart by the absence of Andy. Woody initially worries that they would all end up like Buzz if they don't find Andy through Young Xehanort's words, though Sora tells him he was wrong, saying that distance doesn't matter since Andy was a part of their hearts, and that the connect created cannot be taken apart. When Woody realizes Sora was right, Young Xehanort sends Buzz up higher in the darkness, saying that if the light of friendship and bonds is a form a power, then the darkness of loneliness is an even greater power, claiming that darkness was the heart's true nature. Woody then steps up, saying that he doesn't care what Young Xehanort is talking about and demands him to restore Buzz and leave. Young Xehanort asks "Or else what, toy?", to which Woody confirms that he was a toy in addition to being a friend. As Woody takes a step, the darkness around his step begins to dissipate. Woody insults Young Xehanort, guessing that no one ever loved him, since he knows nothing about hearts and love. Sora joins Woody's side, and the two begin to approach Young Xehanort as the light below them begins to grow even more, saying that there are hearts all around them trying to connect, and that his experiment of loneliness allowed Woody and Buzz's connection to become even stronger than before, saying that is heart's true nature. He adds that wherever Andy and the other toys were, they haven't let go of their connection, with Woody adding that they can't keep the toys from Andy and that they were going home with Buzz no matter what. Sora tells Young Xehanort that he has been caught up in finding the shadows so much that he has forgotten about the light that casts them, with these words causing the light to break the dark spire imprisoning Buzz.
While Young Xehanort is distracted by this, Sora, Donald and Goofy charge towards him, forcing Young Xehanort to summon his Keyblade and clash against their attack. While they struggle, Woody uses the opportunity to save Buzz, much to Young Xehanort's annoyance. After breaking the struggle and knocking the three back with his Keyblade, Young Xehanort comes to the conclusion that even empty puppets can be given strong hearts, noting he will have to remember that as Buzz takes aim at him. Buzz tells him that their hearts will always be connected to Andy's no matter what while Woody tells Young Xehanort that this concept was something he would never understand, calling him out to be hollower than any toy. Dismissing the insult, Young Xehanort tells the group that he now knows that a heart can be placed in a vessel of their choosing, offering them a parting gift to play with. Sora attempts to attack him, although Young Xehanort phases through him, saying to find the hearts joined to his before disappearing, causing the remaining darkness within the area to form into the King of Toys.
Young Xehanort later appears in the Keyblade Graveyard, appearing in front of Master Xehanort, Ansem, and Xemnas with Vanitas; Vanitas comments that once the Guardians have been broken by battle upon battle, the χ-blade can be complete, with Young Xehanort adding that it is what they must do, for it has been "etched". The five darknesses soon unleash a massive swarm of Heartless, Nobodies, and Unversed to attack the Guardians.
During Sora's attempt to use the power of waking to rescue his fellow Guardians from the Lich after their defeat by Terra-Xehanort and a Heartless swarm, Young Xehanort appears before him and Jiminy Cricket in San Fransokyo. He comments that his gallivanting through the Sleeping Worlds has taught him nothing, and that he nearly buried himself in the depths of sleep, comparing it with Sora's current situation. He explains that the Lich he has been fighting was unlike any Heartless he had previous encountered, for its existence was to usher hearts down into the abyss of darkness, telling Sora that he would condemn his heart to that same abyss should he continue chasing it. When Sora claims his heart was strong, Young Xehanort asks him what he thinks the power of waking is, revealing that it was for traversing hearts to reach other worlds, not the other way around. He adds that misusing such a power would come at a great cost, to which Sora sarcastically questions if he was now worried about him, although Young Xehanort denies, remarking that there was no saving him. Before leaving through a corridor of darkness, Young Xehanort tells Sora that the price has been paid, and it lies as the bottom of the abyss before disappearing.
Young Xehanort later walks with the rest of the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness as they confront the Guardians at the crossroads of the Keyblade Graveyard before Master Xehanort creates the Skein of Severance. Young Xehanort fights alongside Ansem and Xemnas atop the Tower of Endings against Sora, Riku and King Mickey as one of the last battles fought in the Second Keyblade War. After being defeated, he falls to the ground, laughing. Sora asks what was funny, to which Young Xehanort says that there's a high price to pay for all of this. When asked what that would be, Young Xehanort ignores the question and stands back up, saying that he will go back to his time to live out his life, but tells Sora that his journey has reached its end. As he told a satirical goodbye to Sora, he tells him that his time in the world was up, although he is cut off mid-sentence as his Replica body fades away while his heart returns back to its proper place in time.
Young Xehanort wields many incredibly formidable abilities that makes him an extremely powerful foe to behold. He was granted the power of space-time manipulation by Ansem, which he uses to great effect; for example, he recovered from the effect of Mickey's most powerful Stop spell within mere moments, far faster than any of his comrades. He can manipulate time so precisely that he is capable of controlling time to achieve a myriad of effects while in battle, performing such feats as slowing his opponent or reversing the flow of time to regenerate health. During his battle with Riku, Young Xehanort would merge with the clock in the arena and if enough time has been given, could restore a decent amount of health by rewinding time. Like his older self, he is an extremely powerful magic user, capable of casting many of the most powerful spells available to all the protagonists of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, with the addition of being able to use Doom, and he can cast powerful fire, wind and ice spells that project fiery vortexes, summon tornadoes and fire several large ice blocks. His telekinetic prowess is capable of easily throwing around Riku and Mickey.
In every boss encounter, Young Xehanort is immune to all status effects and displays outstanding swordsmanship skills as well as great speed and agility, wielding first his dual-blades to perform many deadly attacks, also displaying proficiency with the whip and spear form the weapons can undertake by fusing them together, and later his Keyblade to quickly unleash a flurry of combos capable of trapping and quickly dealing heavy damage to Riku, with him also making effective use of his ability to transform it into a shield and whip. In Birth by Sleep, Young Xehanort is also capable of turning himself invisible and firing lasers. In Dream Drop Distance, he can enter the World of Sleep, summon Dream Eaters, open Keyholes and the Corridors of Darkness.
Young Xehanort wields two weapons that bear a striking resemblance to Xemnas's Ethereal Blades, but appear to have hilts, which many of Xemnas's blades do not, but they also resemble some clock hands or clock arrows. 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, and extend to be lashed out like a whip. Young Xehanort wields these weapons with a reverse grip, similar to the unorthodox way Ventus wields his Keyblade.
While not able to wield a Keyblade in his initial appearance, when he is briefly possessed by Master Xehanort while battling Riku in Where Nothing Gathers, Young Xehanort wields a Keyblade that incorporates elements of the No Name and The Gazing Eye Keyblades. By the time of Kingdom Hearts III, he now possesses the ability to wield his Keyblade without assistance, although he loses this ability temporarily when he returns back to his time until he trains to become a proper Keyblade wielder.