The Scoop On Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

 May 31, 2004
NOTE: This is riddled with all sorts of speculation and mild spoilers. If you don't want to know them, I suggest you melt your eyes out now! Either that, or close this page...

Last September, Square-Enix unveiled their next instalment of the ongoing Final Fantasy franchise. It wasn't a game for Sony, nor Nintendo, but instead was a movie sequel to fan-favourite, Final Fantasy VII. Far from risking a repeat of the flop brought about by The Spirits Within, SE chose to limit the movie to a DVD-only medium, and as the release date of Summer 2004 rolls ever closer, we at FF:WA thought it was about time we actually gave you a decent low-down on just what exactly the film is.


Storyline


Set two years after the controversial events of Final Fantasy VII's ending, Advent Children tells the story of a planet under siege by a mysterious disease known as 'Geostigma' (previously known as 'Star Scar Syndrome' and 'Planetary Scar Syndrome'). While the conflicts so familiar to us in the game have long-since passed, this new, invisible enemy is striking at everyone and everything it can reach. Apparently, it has quite an adverse affect on the children of the planet...

Cloud Strife, hero of our previous adventures, has apparently been living these past two years with other orphans. Contact with his former team-mates has been kept to a minimum, and he spends quite a bit of time drifting on his motorcycle, Fenrir. Life, it would seem, has been both peaceful and simple for the savoir of the world.

Now, however, things couldn't be further from that reality. Three men, all powerful, and all bearing vague resemblances to the dead demi-god, Sephiroth, have suddenly appeared. Alongside a mysterious figure in a wheelchair who's permanently covered in a white shroud, they have stolen the Head of Jenova and have some sort of plan for the children of the world. Cloud, alongside old allies, must unravel the mystery of their plan, and quickly.


Characters





Cloud Strife

Cloud Strife: Not much is known about Cloud's life between the events of FFVII and Advent Children, other than the fact that it has been somewhat reclusive. It would appear he gave up fighting shortly after the events of the game, however, because he doesn't possess his trademark Buster Sword until he visits the death site of Zack, where he finds it lying on the ground (it was presumably placed there by Cloud as a tribute to his fallen and long-forgotten friend). His bike has storage for eight swords; four on each side, that spring out from the sides when needed.


Aeris Gainsborough

Aeris Gainsborough: Aeris' only physical sightings in the trailers have so far been flashbacks; her funeral, to be exact. However, evidence suggests she has some non-game dialogue within the movie, which obviously leads to wondering just what her role could be... Are we looking at a resurrection, or simply a spiritual message?


Tifa Lockheart

Tifa Lockheart: She's back in black! Literally! Sporting a dark Rinoa-esque outfit and a shorter hairstyle, Tifa was only revealed to audiences during this week's E3 conference. All we know for certain is that she has a violent run-in with one of the silver-haired warriors, Loz, inside the ruins of Aeris' Church. What has happened to her relationship with Cloud since the events of the game is so far unknown.


Vincent Valentine

Vincent Valentine: Seen in two trailer clips - leaping from a tree in the Sleeping Forest, and standing by Cloud next to what is assumed to be Aeris' lake - Vincent's part in the movie is as yet unknown. However, it's possible he knows something about both the planet and Geostigma itself...


Barret Wallace

Barret Wallace: Absolutely nothing is known about his part, but we know he's in it, and he has a robotic hand now to replace his gunarm!





Sephiroth

Sephiroth: Is he actually in this movie? No-one knows for sure, because all we've seen of him so far has all been via flashbacks of Nibelhiem's destruction. Even if he's not physically in the film, however, it's likely his role from the game will still have an impact upon the characters and events of Advent Children.


White Shrouded Figure

White Shrouded Figure: Male? Female? The identity and sex of this individual are completely unknown to us, but he/she appears to be the one the Advent Children - Kadaj especially - look to for guidance.



The Unknown Trio (The 'Advent Children'): Their past shrouded in mystery, these three men are perhaps the second greatest enigma within the movie, other than the identity of the white-shrouded figure. No-one knows anything about them other than their names and the fact that they wield frightening powers, but it would seem they have some form of connection with Sephiroth. Between them they have stolen the severed head of Jenova, and there is mention circulating about another "Reunion"; the event where Jenova calls all parts of herself - and those injected with her cells - together...

One startling development this week is the information about the three characters on the official Advent Children site. While both Loz and Yazoo are listed as being in their twenties, Kadaj - beyond all logical reckoning - is in his teen years! (listed officially as "10s"). What this means is obviously unknown, but it certainly raises some questions about their origins...could they indeed be some form of advanced Sephiroth clone?


Kadaj

Kadaj: Clearly the leader of the three, Kadaj appears to fight with a sword similar to Sephiroth's own Masamune blade. So far, he's the only one of the three men who has been shown with the white-shrouded figure, and he appears to hold the wheelchair-bound individual in high regard. Due to his young age, he's somewhat less mature than his companions.


Loz

Loz: Prefering brute-strength over the finesse of a sword, Loz battles using his fists, feet, and an electrified wrist gauntlet that's strapped to his left forearm. He's also known to use a mid-range rifle-blade similar to the style of Yazoo's, and it lies in a thigh-holster on his left leg. He's not a heavy thinker, but his physical strength more than makes up for it.


Yazoo

Yazoo: The final stranger seems to favour a form of Gunblade - rumoured to be called 'Velvet Nightmare' - when it comes to combat. Similar to the weapons of Final Fantasy VIII, these swords have double-barrels and a much shorter blade. He hasn't been shown with any other weaponry, so it seems he's mainly a long-range fighter. However, he can still use the blade of his weapon in close-range combat. In the group, Yazoo acts as the part of a little-spoken lieutenant to his companions.


Marlene

Marlene, Barret's adopted daughter, has been spotted in the most recent trailer. Reno and Rude, two members of the Shinra Turks, have also made an appearance in scans released this week. No mention has been made of including characters like Cid, Cait Sith/Reeve or Yuffie in the movie, but with a cast of over 20 characters confirmed it seems likely they'll make some sort of appearance. Besides, what's a Final Fantasy without a Cid...?


Trailers

Trailer #1:
Jump Festival (Sept. 2003)


Information: The first trailer, lasting only a minute and a half, introduced us to the visual splendour of the fan-anticipated sequel in true Square style.

Video: It began by showing us the ravage of Meteor on Midgar, familiar to all FFVII players as a scene from that game's ending, and then showed us that two years have passed since that moment. Cloud, tearing along a highway on his bike, is accosted and forced into combat against a mysterious silver-haired warrior; a man who seems every bit his equal and physically similar to Sephiroth. Short scenes of Cloud walking along the aisle of Aeris' church looking for forgiveness, and planting the Buster Sword point-first into a cliff overlooking Midgar were also shown, and finally another sequence with the silver-haired man and a white-shrouded figure played, fading into a flashback of Sephiroth razing Nibelhiem.

Dialogue: "I think I want to be forgiven. Yeah...I want to be forgiven." Cloud says this, but without a real visual context to apply it to, it could mean anything. All we know is he's seeking forgiveness. He also mentions that he's decided "to live for your sake"; we assume that the "your" mentioned is Zack, since he's on Zack's cliff when he says it.

Notes/Questions raised:


Trailer #2:
Final Fantasy X-2: International + Last Mission exclusive (Feb 2004)


Information: The second trailer was more about characters and intrigue than action, revealing to us new characters and locations that weren't shown in the original trailer. The silver-haired warrior from Trailer #1 gains two companions, Barret and Vincent make an appearance, and Aeris is both seen and possibly heard, both in flashback and in the present.

Video: Starting with a wide shot of the ruined Midgar, we're taken back to the assault on the highway, then into the Sleeping Forest near the City of the Ancients, where silver-haired man's companions are first revealed as Cloud speeds towards them on his bike. There's more footage of the swordfight between Cloud and his assailant in Midgar, some short footage of the Lifestream, Barret and Vincent, then Cloud squares off against the two new warriors. Finally the flashback of Sephiroth is shown once again, then another showing Aeris' funeral.

Dialogue: It is revealed that the silver-haired men have stolen the Head of Jenova. There is also talk of "Reunion" (a familiar word to FFVII players) and a woman asking "The way I died was a good way...is that what you think?" That same voice also mentions "It was defeated in our memories" during the Aeris flashback scene at the end of the trailer. We also learn Cloud has been living with Orphans, and an unknown male voice states to Cloud that, "Our ultimate goal is to restore the world." It's suspected that this is either Vincent or Kadaj, but there's no confirmation on either.

Notes/Questions raised:


Trailer #3:
E3 (2004)


Information: At nearly two and a half minutes in length, the E3 trailer is both the longest and, in a way, the most informative of the trailers. It mentions both 'Reunion' and 'Jenova', and hints at some of the effects of Geostigma upon the planet's populace. We're also (finally) reintroduced to Tifa during a fast-moving fight scene, and given an interesting look at the motives behind the characters. Just prior to this video's release, the three silver-haired men were finally named to the public, and we're given the title of the 'Advent Children'.

Video: Starting off with Aeris' funeral (cut for unknown reasons from the Gamespot trailer, and only shown at E3 and on the official site), and the ruins of Midgar, we're then shown our first glimpse of humans other than members of AVALANCHE and their adversaries. People, it seems, still wander the streets of Midgar, and the Advent Children are seen talking to a large group of young children in what looks like the City of the Ancients. Vincent, Cloud and Marlene are also shown in the City, but they seem to be gathered by Aeris' lake rather than near the houses. Then Cloud, outside Midgar on the cliff where Zack died, takes up his battered and rusted Buster Sword once again and drives it point-first into the ground.

It transpires that the Advent Children can ride motorcycles, and we see several high-speed clips of Cloud duelling with sword and gun against Yazoo as they speed down the Midgar highway, presumably before he is ambushed by Kadaj's magical attack from the first two trailers. Meanwhile Tifa is battling Loz inside Aeris' Church, both giving and taking some hits before being thrown against a wall. Kadaj and the white-shroud man, apparently also in the Church, are watching the fight unfold, and it's seems to be an important event for them. Finally, after more duel scenes between Cloud and Kadaj in Midgar, we see Kadaj fire off an energy beam into the clouds.

Dialogue: "The planet weaves a cruel fate for Men. Children are always the first to suffer" - this, along with an interview released this week, points to the adverse effects Geostigma has on the children of the planet. "Children who have lost hope" is said during a clip of Kadaj, Loz and Yazoo sitting together outside Midgar; could they be the 'children' referred to? Afterall, they are the Advent Children.

Notes/Questions raised:


White-Shrouded Theory


The mysterious person robed in white will be crucial to the events of the movie, and has already been confirmed as being linked to the Geostigma affecting the population. So what do we know about him or her?





So, who is the white-robed, wheelchair-bound leader of the silver-haired men? We can safely narrow it down to four possibilities. In no particular order:

(1) Sephiroth: This is certainly what the trailer would want us to believe, with frequent flashbacks to his burning of Nibelheim, as well as widespread belief that the three silver-haired men are simply Sephiroth clones. I wouldn't put too much stock in this choice, however; if I recall correctly, AVALANCHE crushed both forms of Sephiroth, and Cloud destroyed him in his mind, and we saw him dissolve. If he could somehow survive being thoroughly defeated three times, then the white-robed person might be him. Otherwise, not likely.

(2) Aeris: Consider the events of two years prior, during FF7's Ending: as the Lifesteam reached Meteor and destroyed it, we were treated to a glimpse of Aeris opening her eyes. While this may be a stretch, what if she had been resurrected, and was opening her eyes at the bottom of the lake? What if the Planet knew that it would need an emissary to do its bidding, and resurrected the one who had been the last remaining Cetra?


Furthermore, while reports say the white-robed person is responsible for the Geostigma, what if it is all a ruse and that person is actually planning to heal the Geostigma, with the J-cells contained within the head of Jenova? This may be a stretch, since the silver-haired men constantly fight her friends (especially Cloud) throughout the movie, but perhaps in her mind, the ends justifies the means.

(3) Lucrecia: This one may be the biggest stretch of the four possibilities, but it's a possibility nonetheless. Of the four possibilities, she is the only one to have not died in the original game. When confronted by Vincent in the original game, she even stated that the J-cells in her body would not let her die. Therefore, theoretically, she could still be alive two years later. The silver-haired men could be serving her due to her being the mother of Sephiroth. Unlike the other three possibilities, though, Lucrecia doesn't seem to have a direct purpose or reason for leading the silver-haired men and trying to restore the world. That is, unless the J-cells (and therefore, Jenova) found a way to survive in Lucrecia's body, and Jenova is controlling her. This would explain the Geostigma (and how it is most likely similar to the plague unleashed on the Cetra by Jenova 2,000 years earlier). Hence, while Lucrecia is a strong possibility, the last candidate is the most possible...

(4) Hojo: The mad scientist returns! He somehow evaded death at the hands of AVALANCHE in the original game, although he ended up severely weakened and crippled, and confined to a wheelchair. The J-cells he injected into his body allowed Jenova to live on, in a sense. The three silver-haired men would be Sephiroth-clones of his own creation (not unlike Cloud in the original game), injected with cells from the head of Jenova, thereby giving them incredible powers (which we've seen glimpses of in the trailers released so far). Hojo would also fit the bill of being the sick, malevolent bastard that would spread the Geostigma, a disease that cripples children at a far greater rate than adults.

So long as the person in the white-shroud isn't a new character, which would make no sense, the chance of him or her being one of the four aforementioned suspects is highly likely. What is certain, however, is that when his or her identity is at last revealed, it will be one of the defining points of the movie.


Other


Right, that's just about covered most of the major points of Advent Children; hopefully this can distill some of the confusion we've seen about the film. There're only a few more months until it's released in Japan, but there has been no confirmed date for the Stateside date, and - worse for some of us - nothing about a European release. Hopefully we can continue to provide information relating to this upcoming movie, either in the form of articles or posts in the permanent threads in the FFVII forum, and ultimately I think everyone hopes Advent Children ultimately lives up to the success of its predecessor.

If it does, could sequels to other Final Fantasy games be on the horizon...? Will we next be seeing the continuing adventures of Squall and Rinoa? Garnet and Zidane? Tidus and Yuna? Who knows, but Advent Children will certainly raise the question.

The 80-minute, straight-to-DVD movie is slated for a Summer 2004 release in Japan, with a "pencilled-in" (though uncomfirmed) July 10, 2004 release date for the United States. And we can't wait for it.

--------------------------------

Article written by Pulsar and Martin for Final Fantasy: Worlds Apart

Source:

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Official Site
Advent Children.net

Related Links:

News Article: Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children - Square's new FFVII project
Thread: Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Discussion Thread #1 (archived)
Thread: Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Discussion Thread #2 (Archived)


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