The Origins Of Organization XIII In Kingdom Hearts, Explained


  • Organization 13 is a group of antagonists in the Kingdom Hearts series, consisting of Nobodies with complex relationships and clashing motives.
  • The original lineup of Organization 13 includes 13 members, with Xemnas as the leader, each wielding unique weapons and controlling specific elements.
  • The motivations of Organization 13 vary depending on the game, but they generally oppose the protagonist and play a significant role in the overall storyline.



It is no secret that the Kingdom Hearts series has a large cast of characters spread throughout its many entries. These characters often have complex relationships that tie them to one another, and an extra layer of depth is added to this when you consider the possibility of characters being split into Heartless and Nobodies.

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No set of characters exemplifies this better than Organization 13, the primary group of antagonists throughout the series. So, what is the true nature of this villainous group, what are their true motivations, and who are the members that make up the ranks?

Spoiler Warning

What Is Organization 13?

Organization XIII Sat atop their very tall chairs

Organization 13, or as it is commonly styled within the games, Organization XIII, is a mysterious group of antagonists that have been present throughout most games in the Kingdom Hearts series. Even though they were not known by name in the first Kingdom Hearts game, Ansem, a future member of the group, was present.

The original lineup of the group consists entirely of Nobodies, a class of beings within the Kingdom Hearts universe, being the body and the soul of a being with a strong will, split from their heart. As the name suggests, there are usually 13 members of the group, but the group in its history has featured both more and less than this.

The motivations of the group shifts depending on the game that they are present in, but they nearly always oppose the protagonist. In spite of being a villainous group, the clashing motives and morals of the individual members are what makes this group so interesting as a whole.

Who Is In Organization 13?

Xemnas, Xigbar, Terra-Xehanort and Roxas in Kingdom Hearts 3

The primary, and most well-known, line-up of Organization 13 was introduced throughout the course of Chain of Memories, and Kingdom Hearts 2; however, we see the most interactions between the whole group in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days.

The original full 13-member line-up contains:

  • Xemnas (Member 1)
  • Xigbar (Member 2)
  • Xaldin (Member 3)
  • Vexen (Member 4)
  • Lexaeus (Member 5)
  • Zexion (Member 6)
  • Saix (Member 7)
  • Axel (Member 8)
  • Demyx (Member 9)
  • Luxord (Member 10)
  • Marluxia (Member 11)
  • Larxene (Member 12)
  • Roxas (Member 13)

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On top of this, we are introduced to Xion throughout the course of 358/2 Days, and she serves as an honourary 14th member of the group. The numbering of each member does not denote the importance of each member (although Xemnas does act as the leader) but instead the order in which they joined Organization 13.

Aside from Xion, each member of the group (aside from a few exceptions) controls a certain class of Nobodies to do their bidding, as well as wields a unique weapon, and controls a certain element as well. These are as follows:

  • Xemnas leads the Sorcerer class of Nobodies, wields Ethereal Blades, and controls the element of Nothingness.
  • Xigbar leads the Sniper class of Nobodies, wields Arrowguns, and controls the element of Space.
  • Xaldin leads the Dragoon class of Nobodies, wields lances, and controls the element of Wind.
  • Vexen is not shown to lead a class of Nobodies, wields a shield, and controls the element of Ice.
  • Lexaeus is not shown to lead a class of Nobodies, wields an axe-sword, and controls the element of Earth.
  • Zexion is not shown to lead a class of Nobodies, wields a book as a weapon, and controls Illusions.
  • Saix leads the Berserker class of Nobodies, wields a claymore, and controls the Moon element.
  • Axel leads the Assassin class of Nobodies, wields two chakrams, and controls the element of Fire.
  • Demyx leads the Dancer class of Nobodies, wields a sitar, and controls the element of Water.
  • Luxord leads the Gambler class of Nobodies, wields cards as a weapon, and controls the element of Time.
  • Marluxia leaders the Reaper class of Nobodies, wields a scythe as a weapon, and controls the Flower element.
  • Larxene leads the Ninja class of Nobodies, wields knives, and controls the element of Lightning.
  • Roxas leads the Samurai class of Nobodies, wields multiple Keyblades, and controls the light element.

The members of the Organization that are not shown to lead a class of nobodies may have controlled a certain class off-screen; however, since we only see them active in the Organization during Chain of Memories, we do not see what this class is.

Getting the whole story for each member of the Organization is tricky to understand when looking at just one of their appearances; however, when looking at the series as a whole, it is easier to see the origin of each member of the Organization.

Who Were The Members Of Organization 13 Before They Were Nobodies?

The members of Organization 13 on a black background

Within the Kingdom Hearts universe, before a character becomes a Nobody, they are a human who tends to live a completely different life.

Since the members of Organization 13 are incredibly intelligent and powerful Nobodies, this means that they would have been remarkable people beforehand.

For most of the members of the Organization, we know what life they lived beforehand, but there are some exceptions.


Xemnas in his zebra-pattern coat with electricity in both hands in Kingdom Hearts 2

Xemnas, being the leader of the Organization, was the first member to become a Nobody, and also has the most fleshed-out backstory beforehand.

For an abridged version, at the end of Birth By Sleep, the antagonist Xehanort manages to take over the body of Terra, giving them both amnesia. They are found by Ansem, the leader of Radiant Garden, who takes him in, and with his consent runs experiments on him to help him with his amnesia, but also part of his experiments on the Heartless.

Ansem decides to stop the research due to how dangerous it is becoming, but unfortunately for him, Xehanort in Terra’s body

regains his memories. He convinces the other researchers to help him send Ansem to the Realm of Darkness, then steals his identity to continue the research. This research culminates in them all becoming Nobodies.

Xemnas is the Nobody of the imposter Ansem, which is why the name Xemnas is an angram for Ansem with an X added, a common trait for all members of the Organization.

Notably, the Heartless created by the split of impostor Ansem is the Ansem Sora faces throughout Kingdom Hearts 1.


Xigbar Grins

Xigbar is formerly known as Braig. As Braig, he is an antagonist during Birth by Sleep, which shows the events that took place a few years before the first Kingdom Hearts games.

Throughout the three campaigns in Birth By Sleep, you learn more about Braig, and how he is working for Master Xehanort. It makes sense then, that he would be an early member of the Organization, likely having something to do with Terra/Xehanort awakening his memories after the end of Birth by Sleep.

For a few years, this was all Kingdom Hearts fans knew of Xigbar’s origins, but it has been revealed that Braig is actually a much more relevant character in the Kingdom Hearts timeline, being the identity of Luxu, a character connected to the Master of Masters.


kingdom hearts 2 xaldin

Xaldin, is revealed to have the real name Dilan before becoming a Nobody. He was one of the guards working in Radiant Garden, and was likely convinced to become a Nobody like the researchers, or was within close enough vicinity to be transformed alongside them.


kingdom hearts 3 vexen vexan

Vexen, being the Nobody of Even, was one of the researchers who was working alongside Ansem and Terra/Xehanort before they all were turned into Nobodies.

He is shown to retain plenty of his traits from when he was a human, continuing to research and heading the replica program from inside Organization 13.

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Lexaeus wields his Axe Sword in Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories

Lexaeus, is the Nobody of Aeleus, who like Xaldin, was a guard working within the range of Ansem’s research, and because of this, likely suffered the same fate as Xaldin.


kingdom hearts ienzo zexion in lab

Zexion, is revealed to be the Nobody of a character named Ienzo, who like Even, was a researcher alongisde Terra/Xehanort, and Ansem. Because of this, his fate was interwoven with him and became a researcher within the Organization as well.


Saïx in Kingdom Hearts 3

Saix, unlike the previous members of the Organization, was not associated with the research in Radiant Garden, and was just someone who lived in the area.

Living as Isa, he and his friend Lea had broken into the research centre, and because of their unfortunate timing, were turned into Nobodies.


kingdom hearts organization 13 axel

Axel, is the Nobody of Lea, and as mentioned, was caught within the transformation radius with Isa.

Demyx & Luxord

kingdom hearts 2 demyx before boss fight

The two most mysterious members of Organization 13 remain to be Demyx and Luxord. The previous identities of both of these members remain largely unknown.

It is assumed that they are Keyblade wielders from the Age of Fairytales, the era shown in Kingdom Hearts Union X. However, decades after their introduction, their characteristics and motives prior to their introduction are unknown, and so are their true names.


Marluxia in Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories.

Marluxia, is the Nobody of Lauriam, a character integral to the narrative of Union X, making him one of the older members of the Organization.

However, due to his lack of close relation to Xehanort, he was one of the later recruited members of the Organization.


A close-up of Larxene in Kingdom Hearts 3.

Larxene was formerly known as Elrena, who, like Lauriam, was a character important to the narrative of Union X, and like him, was transformed into a Nobody.

The pair were recruited by Xemnas to join the Organization, leading to them becoming the characters we meet in Chain of Memories.


kingdom hearts 2 roxas

Roxas, is one of the most important members of Organization 13, and because of this, his origins are incredibly complex.

He is the Nobody of series protagonist Sora, created following the climactic events of Kingdom Hearts 1.

He is the protagonist of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, and is a secondary protagonist in Kingdom Hearts 2.


A close up of Xion in Kingdom Hearts 3.

Xion, similar to Roxas, was created from Sora by the Organization; however, she is an incomplete Replica of him because the Organization was not able to control Sora or Roxas properly.

Because of this, she is not really a Nobody, unlike the other members of the group.

Why Is There A Second Line-up Of Organization 13?


The most well-known line-up of Organization 13 is the group that features throughout Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and Kingdom Hearts 2. However, because this group failed to complete their goal, a new iteration of this group was created by Xehanort.

This new group features versions of Xehanort from throughout his life, some previous members of the group, and some new members.

This second version of Organization 13 is referred to as the Real Organization 13. Like the original, they are thwarted, this time at the conclusion of Kingdom Hearts 3.

Which Kingdom Hearts Games Feature Organization 13?

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days promo art

The first time we see any member of the Organization is during a secret boss encounter at the end of Kingdom Hearts 1 Final Mix, where Sora can fight against a character in the iconic black coat just called The Enigmatic Man.

While his identity is unknown at the time, based on his fighting style, it can be assumed this is Xemnas.

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While you are not given as much information about them in other games, you meet more members in Chain of Memories, with Marluxia, working alongside Larxene and Vexen, being antagonists for Sora, while Riku defeats Lexaeus and Lexion in his campaign.

The remaining members of the Organization are defeated throughout Kingdom Hearts 2. Roxas learns a lot more about the members throughout 358/2 Days, becoming particularly close with Axel and Xion.

Following this, the focus is more on the Real Organization 13, with the new line-up hinted at during the conclusion of Dream Drop Distance, and becoming primary antagonists in Kingdom Hearts 3.

What Are The Motivations Of Organization 13?

Xemnas in Kingdom Hearts 3

Depending on the game, and which specific members are in question, the motivation of Organization 13 is ever-shifting.

In Chain of Memories, Marluxia is spearheading a rebellion from within the Organization, while Axel is there to eliminate any traitors. In Kingdom Hearts 2, the Organization members are being manipulated by Xemnas with the fake goal of becoming whole again, while they’re being used to form Kingdom Hearts.

A similar situation is set up in Kingdom Hearts 3, only this time the new members of the Organization are more aware of Xehanort’s manipulations and willing to be part of his plan to summon the original Keyblade.

Will Organization 13 Return?

A close-up of Strelitzia in the Kingdom Hearts 4 Trailer

While it is unknown if the Organization will return with a new line-up in a future Kingdom Hearts title, it is unlikely since it is now confirmed that Xehanort is out of the picture and both iterations of the Organization were led by Xehanort in one form, whether as himself or as Xemnas.

However, former members of the Organization are likely to be relevant to the story. A lot of the members will have reformed since their Nobody was defeated.

This can be seen most clearly with Isa at the end of Kingdom Hearts 3. With what we have seen of Strelitzia’s brief appearance in the Kingdom Hearts 4 trailer, it can be assumed that the Age of Fairytales will be more relevant, and so will the characters featured. This means Organization members like Marluxia, Larxene, Demyx, and Luxord are likely to get more attention and potential backstory.

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