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Question about Xehanort's choice of "Darknesses"



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AmaryllisMoth

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Perhaps this is something that I have forgotten, so I am hoping that someone can maybe clarify or jog my memory here:

Was it ever explained why Xehanort wanted who he chose to be his vessels?

I get that by the end game he was a bit limited because he had to pick ones that he could have an influence over, of sorts, but why did he end up with the ones he ended up with? And why did he go out and seek the ones he chose?

Me and my friend were chatting about a few things and I realized I was a bit mixed up on that front and maybe I am forgetting or just over-complicating something simple. It started when my friend asked why, specifically, Xehanort was so intent on getting Sora and I went through a whole explanation of how well, he actually wanted Riku at first but then when that didn't work out he went after Roxas/Xion then settled for finally going after Sora as a backup-backup plan when none of those other options worked and my friend was following along, nodding, then was like "yeah, but...why did he pick Riku first then?" I kind of tried to explain how well, he needed a body after all his shenanegans and decided that Riku's was good enough but then things ended up devolving into trying to figure out exactly what criteria Xehanort was even trying to follow when he picked someone to be a candidate for his organization.

Kind of stumped for a second I sat there thinking well...surely it can't have just been because of Riku's Keyblade because it isn't absolutely certain that everyone in the true organization can even use a Keyblade (they might, but it isn't confirmed by any means. As far as we know, at least, Isa is Keyblade-less).

I then think well, maybe it just has to be someone who he thinks is strong enough to fight in the war, which is why he booted the two "weaker" members of the team (Vexen and Demyx) in favor of "stronger" ones later. But, well...their individual strength doesn't really mean much in the end because Xehanort stated he was perfectly happy substituting defenseless Princesses in for the "light". If he was perfectly content doing that, then having a fair battle wasn't a high priority for him, which means it really wouldn't matter too much how strong his Darknesses were since I'm pretty sure defeating a Disney Princess wouldn't require much battle competence at all to pull off (Elsa might give them trouble though, to be fair). It also didn't seem to actually matter who "won" the individual bout, just that they fought in the first place. So it really doesn't matter how strong they are so that point is completely moot.

So...okay then, maybe it's just people who he thinks suit his heart or...something. But to be honest, he doesn't really seem to care all that much about his Darknesses' individual personalities, doesn't mind them getting cut down in the "clash" and his end goal ended up being making them all into these weird voiceless puppet clone things in high-heels. So why even bother recruiting different types of people if they were all going to end up "being Xehanort" in the end, right? Surely then it really wouldn't matter in the slightest who he picked so long as they could just be a body for him.

If that is the case why the hell didn't he just like...grab anyone? Or like...why didn't he even consider trying to get Xaldin or Lexaeus back? Clearly they were good enough for the first organization so what was stopping him from recruiting them to the second one? It just seems ridiculous to bother recruiting Vexen to finish a whole replica project to bring in Xion and Repliku then booting Vexen when he could have just...gotten those two instead? With potentially way less effort? (who knows if they would have accepted or not, their characters are a bit...flat in the third game to say the least).

Surely there had to have been a reason why he specifically wanted the ones he chose. But it feels so weirdly contradictory. Why bother hand picking your favorites when they all end up mindless clones in the end? My friend ended up just deciding the reason was simply "for the coolness factor" but I feel a bit...uneasy simply accepting that. Surely I must just be forgetting something?
 

okhi12

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Nomura didn't bother giving any explanation aside from what Xemnas said in DDD, that most members of the original Org XIII were inadequate due to weakness of body, will or trust. Even a poor excuse like that wasn't true at all because the true Org XIII recycles 6 of the original 13 and 9 if we count Xion, Vexen and Demyx.

As you said, why don't choose Lexaeus and Xaldin? They couldn't be considered less trustful than Marluxia and Larxene. I don't think they were weak of will either (not more than Demyx at least) and no way they were weak of body.
The only notable explanation in KH3 is that Marluxia, Larxene, Demyx and Luxord were allowed to rejoin because they are related to the ancient keyblade legacy which is a different reason and contradicts what Xemnas said to Sora. I guess Nomura decided to include them again when he started planning the X era stuff and he didn't care if that contradicts what Xemnas said because, well, Xemnas is a villain and is not out of character for him to lie to Sora.

In the end, I think Nomura himself didn't come up with a consistent reason that could be considered canon. As a real life reason for Nomura to choose those members your friend could be right with the coolness factor.
 

SweetYetSalty

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Nomura didn't bother giving any explanation aside from what Xemnas said in DDD, that most members of the original Org XIII were inadequate due to weakness of body, will or trust. Even a poor excuse like that wasn't true at all because the true Org XIII recycles 6 of the original 13 and 9 if we count Xion, Vexen and Demyx.

As you said, why don't choose Lexaeus and Xaldin? They couldn't be considered less trustful than Marluxia and Larxene. I don't think they were weak of will either (not more than Demyx at least) and no way they were weak of body.
The only notable explanation in KH3 is that Marluxia, Larxene, Demyx and Luxord were allowed to rejoin because they are related to the ancient keyblade legacy which is a different reason and contradicts what Xemnas said to Sora. I guess Nomura decided to include them again when he started planning the X era stuff and he didn't care if that contradicts what Xemnas said because, well, Xemnas is a villain and is not out of character for him to lie to Sora.

In the end, I think Nomura himself didn't come up with a consistent reason that could be considered canon. As a real life reason for Nomura to choose those members your friend could be right with the coolness factor.
I'm a broken record in that I detest the choice of Marluxia and Larxene in the new Organization. It's beyond lazy and they have free reign to do whatever they want. I also dislike the Keyblade Legacy reason because it opens up a whole other can of inconsistent worms that kills the first Organization. There was a easy way to explain why they brought back Luxord. He was loyal to Xemnas and followed orders regardless how low on the pecking order he was. They did not need to tie him to the X era junk to make him relevant. And I too voiced why not use Lexaeus and Xaldin over the COM traitors?

Everyone else makes sense to some degree. The Norts all make sense. Xigbar makes sense given his history with Xehanort. Saix makes sense given his role in the old Organization. Vanitas makes sense for the same reason as Xigbar. Vexen makes sense because of Replicas. Dark Riku and Xion make sense because they are among the actual few that are brainwashed or mind wiped to Xehanort's liking and they want a Riku and Sora connection. Even Demyx I could kinda see working in the group if they wanted a scout to observe and do recon. He makes more sense tailing a princess then Larxene ever did.
 

Noivern

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And I too voiced why not use Lexaeus and Xaldin over the COM traitors?

I'm really not sure why this was brought up multiple times in this thread when it's the one thing that was made pretty clear from the start: because they didn want to. They regret their actions and are working hard to make up for it, like Aeleus apologizing to Roxas.
Xehanort did not go about turning everyone into a Nobody to force them into the Org, they all seemingly agreed to it for their own agenda. In Marluxia and Larxene's case it seems like they were still amnestesiatic after becoming complete again and only remember their real goal when they are defeated somehow?

But honestly, the whole deal with the New Org is so badly written and even back in CoM it felt like a bucket of bullshit excuses to me. In the end it doesn't matter much anyways because their goal was to have 13 Darknesses clashing against 7 Lights, really, so I guess he just went around picking up people who fit that criteria?
 

SweetYetSalty

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I'm really not sure why this was brought up multiple times in this thread when it's the one thing that was made pretty clear from the start: because they didn want to. They regret their actions and are working hard to make up for it, like Aeleus apologizing to Roxas.
Xehanort did not go about turning everyone into a Nobody to force them into the Org, they all seemingly agreed to it for their own agenda. In Marluxia and Larxene's case it seems like they were still amnestesiatic after becoming complete again and only remember their real goal when they are defeated somehow?

But honestly, the whole deal with the New Org is so badly written and even back in CoM it felt like a bucket of bullshit excuses to me. In the end it doesn't matter much anyways because their goal was to have 13 Darknesses clashing against 7 Lights, really, so I guess he just went around picking up people who fit that criteria?
I would agree with this if it wasn't for one glaring problem. Sora, Xion, Terra, and Repliku wouldn't want to join the Organization either, and all four were choices. The latter three were forced to be darkness's against their will. Saix and Vexen wanted to atone too but they were still chosen. There was no way Xehanort or Xemnas could have known Saix would play double agent the way he did when he was selected. The sheer fact that Aeleus and Dilan weren't even considered options is mind blowing because Xehanort has the power to take over a body and force them to do whatever he wanted. That was the whole point of "norting" or so we thought. And for further insult Marluxia and Larxene have free will to backstab again if they chose to. The issue isn't whether or not they would join willingly, it was they were not options despite being loyal to the old Organization.

Also Aeleus did not apologize to Roxas, he wanted to smack that boy again. That's like their whole relationship, lol.
 

Twilight Lumiair

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Logically speaking, Xehanort would've been better off having the mindless replicas we later see him use later be his 13 SoD rather than actual people. Let alone those with shady histories like Marluxia and Larxene, or weak links like Demyx. The only reason for their inclusion is because of their ties to some "ancient Keyblade legacy", but it's not like Xehanort ever managed to take advantage of that at any point (which makes me seriously question why it was ever brought up to begin with, but that ties back to the writing).

Think of it this way:
The Replica Xehanorts beat every single one of the GoL (despite the group working together), so it's not like they were weak by any means. And since they're essentially just drones, there wouldn't be the enormous risk of any members going against Xehanort, or hindering his plans in any way. Then, when they're defeated, he can just reabsorb them into himself, and thus reobtain his full power immediately. It just makes far too much sense for him NOT to have gone with this plan from the beginning.
 

Absent

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Ultimately Nomura wrote himself into a corner. DDD made a point about how many of the previous members were unsuitable and yet...
 

Face My Fears

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I'm really not sure why this was brought up multiple times in this thread when it's the one thing that was made pretty clear from the start: because they didn want to. They regret their actions and are working hard to make up for it, like Aeleus apologizing to Roxas.
Xehanort did not go about turning everyone into a Nobody to force them into the Org, they all seemingly agreed to it for their own agenda. In Marluxia and Larxene's case it seems like they were still amnestesiatic after becoming complete again and only remember their real goal when they are defeated somehow?

But honestly, the whole deal with the New Org is so badly written and even back in CoM it felt like a bucket of bullshit excuses to me. In the end it doesn't matter much anyways because their goal was to have 13 Darknesses clashing against 7 Lights, really, so I guess he just went around picking up people who fit that criteria?
WHEN DID AELEUS APOLOGIZE TO ROXAS!? I DON'T REMEMBER THIS SCENE EVER! In fact, I don't remember Aeleus ever speaking.

The New Organization was just Xehanort's from different times, ancient keyblade people (who were all willing to rejoin without seemingly knowing their heritage), Riku Replica, Xion, and Vanitas. The Xehanort's, Xigbar, Saix, Xion, Riku Replica, and Vanitas are pretty much there because Xehanort has (or believed) to have the most control over them. The questionable ones are Larxene, Marluxia, Demyx, Luxord, and Vexen.

It's clear that they chose to become nobodies again -- which prompts the question "why"? Vexen was explained as atonement. Demyx could be thrown in that department, but he only tagged along on that after Vexen offered. Demyx's choice to rejoin is pretty mysterious, but the reason why most of them even chose to become nobodies in the first place are a mystery. Luxord, Marluxia, and Larxene I attribute to having ulterior motives. Marluxia regaining his memories and seemingly "understanding" things may suggest that when he was recompleted the first time, Lauriam regained his lost memories and realized he needed to act (and joining the Organization somehow helped). Larxene's comment about being "along for the ride" was clearly regarding her doing it to help Marluxia, so there was some reason they came back (possibly a hidden reason relating to the PoH since they were the only ones dealing with them). Luxord probably joined the Organization in the first place to keep an eye on Luxu, so with the climax of Luxu's plan coming to fruition, why wouldn't he rejoin?
 

Darkspawn

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I still wish Dilan/Xaldin had joined Vexen so the two could be the antithesis to Ienzo and Aeleus.

Kinda wish there’d been a mid game scenario where Vexen and Xaldin infiltrate the castle in Radiant Garden to gain access to Ansem’s research on Sora, giving us a conflict between the four characters. By getting that data, Vexen could have used that to learn about/recreate Xion and complete his work on the new Replicas. It also could have been enough reason to have Radiant Garden be playable with a potential fight against Vexen and Xaldin. Maybe with either Aeleus or even Leon as a party member? So much missed potential there, I think.
 

SweetYetSalty

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WHEN DID AELEUS APOLOGIZE TO ROXAS!? I DON'T REMEMBER THIS SCENE EVER! In fact, I don't remember Aeleus ever speaking.

The New Organization was just Xehanort's from different times, ancient keyblade people (who were all willing to rejoin without seemingly knowing their heritage), Riku Replica, Xion, and Vanitas. The Xehanort's, Xigbar, Saix, Xion, Riku Replica, and Vanitas are pretty much there because Xehanort has (or believed) to have the most control over them. The questionable ones are Larxene, Marluxia, Demyx, Luxord, and Vexen.

It's clear that they chose to become nobodies again -- which prompts the question "why"? Vexen was explained as atonement. Demyx could be thrown in that department, but he only tagged along on that after Vexen offered. Demyx's choice to rejoin is pretty mysterious, but the reason why most of them even chose to become nobodies in the first place are a mystery. Luxord, Marluxia, and Larxene I attribute to having ulterior motives. Marluxia regaining his memories and seemingly "understanding" things may suggest that when he was recompleted the first time, Lauriam regained his lost memories and realized he needed to act (and joining the Organization somehow helped). Larxene's comment about being "along for the ride" was clearly regarding her doing it to help Marluxia, so there was some reason they came back (possibly a hidden reason relating to the PoH since they were the only ones dealing with them). Luxord probably joined the Organization in the first place to keep an eye on Luxu, so with the climax of Luxu's plan coming to fruition, why wouldn't he rejoin?
That's a good observation on Luxord joining to keep tabs on Luxu. I didn't even think of that. Larxene's just following Marly so I won't go into her but the idea of possibly the Organization holding Marluxia's memories over him to get him to join would have at least instill some control over him and give a reason why he's back in the group. It just annoys me that Xemnas said most of the old Organization were not fit to be members and here in the new Organization most of the old members are back. I wish they'd remove that DDD line from Xemnas out of the cutscenes. With all the retcons they do this is one I'm begging for.
 

Face My Fears

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That's a good observation on Luxord joining to keep tabs on Luxu. I didn't even think of that. Larxene's just following Marly so I won't go into her but the idea of possibly the Organization holding Marluxia's memories over him to get him to join would have at least instill some control over him and give a reason why he's back in the group. It just annoys me that Xemnas said most of the old Organization were not fit to be members and here in the new Organization most of the old members are back. I wish they'd remove that DDD line from Xemnas out of the cutscenes. With all the retcons they do this is one I'm begging for.
I don't think they will retcon something from DDD. Besides, it'd be way too much trouble to change "most" to "some" because that's all Xemnas really needed to say. However, Xemnas' point was understood:
Xaldin, Axel, Lexaeus, and Zexion weren't fit to be true members of the Organization. He may even mean Demyx, Vexen, Roxas, and Xion. I think Xemnas' point was that the Organization was meant to be nobodies who would willingly allow Xehanort to transfer himself into them when the time came... not ones who would up and betray him or plot against him. With that said, he probably meant Marluxia and Larxene too. I feel like they're only back because they chose to rejoin (for their own reasons) and Xehanort needed bodies with no hearts (since the replicas ran out). Vexen, Marluxia, Demyx, and Larxene were guaranteed bodies, so I guess that's why he went back to them.
 

AmaryllisMoth

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I appreciate all the replies! I guess what I'm still curious about though is why Xehanort even bothered with Sora then? (or even tried in the first place).

I can understand Riku, since he was an easily manipulated body with keyblade access, and I can understand going after Roxas when that failed because again...seemingly easy manipulate blank slate kid with keyblade access. But when that failed why did he even bother going after Sora? I certainly wouldn't have considered that an easy thing to do. And it's not like he needed all of his reps to have Keyblades, so like...at that point I would've just been like ah that's annoying I'll go after a different target. Besides, if it wasn't for Yen Sid's ineptitude he wouldn't really have gotten a good opportunity to get Sora anyway. Was it just a 'lets just attempt this and see how it goes' kind of thing? Because it seemed like he had Sora in his sights for a reason more than that. He claimed he was "moving down the list" or whatever but...why? Why even make a list in the first place if he was okay with making a whole organization of people first as a test run.

Questions like this though make me actually really glad they are making a Xehanort game/thing. Might help us understand his thought process a bit better. Even if it doesn't end up answering this question it might help me follow his character a bit better. He seems so vastly different between his different life stages.
 
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I got the impression that in the end Xehanort really didn't care much about anything his vessels did or if they actually won any battles. Xion proved to be completely useless, and at the same time it became obvious that Saïx was a traitor but this didn't seem to matter one bit or even irritate Xemnas. Which is ridiculous when they was so much hype since DDD about the 13th vessel, who in the event just changed sides with little fanfare.

I totally agree the Xehanort replicas should have been revealed as the true SoD, and I don't really understand why they weren't, if they were going to fight the Goal anyway. It was such a massive letdown and made so much of KH3 and its buildup seem pointless
 

SweetYetSalty

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I got the impression that in the end Xehanort really didn't care much about anything his vessels did or if they actually won any battles. Xion proved to be completely useless, and at the same time it became obvious that Saïx was a traitor but this didn't seem to matter one bit or even irritate Xemnas. Which is ridiculous when they was so much hype since DDD about the 13th vessel, who in the event just changed sides with little fanfare.

I totally agree the Xehanort replicas should have been revealed as the true SoD, and I don't really understand why they weren't, if they were going to fight the Goal anyway. It was such a massive letdown and made so much of KH3 and its buildup seem pointless
They probably didn't think to use Replicas by the time they wrote DDD. A lot of things from DDD and Re:Coded did not carry over to KH3. The Replica Xehanorts would have been the perfect 13 Seekers because as mentioned...

Spoiler Spoiler Show


So these guys should have been the 13 Seekers of Darkness, with maybe Xigbar, Vanitas, Ansem, Xemnas, and Young Xehanort. I still laugh at the line "A puppet can't be part of the Organization" talk about a quote that didn't age well lol.
 

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I would have had Xaldin. He was always one of the more colder and sadistic members to me.
 

Hirokey123

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I mean there are reason whether you accept them or not is another thing entirely.

He went with Riku first because he found Riku first, Riku was a wielder while Sora was not, and he had been grooming Riku off screen for awhile now. AnsemSoD was on Destiny Islands for literal years and you can see subtle comments and suggestions that Riku was quite familiar with/had spoken to him a fair bit. Riku is also easily corruptible unlike Sora and even after Riku no longer was the damage was already done, a piece of Xehanort was intrinsically bound to his very being he needed only a little push to release him.

Norting Sora is far more difficult to the point it's absolutely not an option, he has too little darkness and too much light he's not a good candidate for norting especially since he tends to feel so good about himself and Xehanort's main norting method is to prey on insecurities so he can make you feel good if you side with him. That's why he had to set up a plan that removed Sora's heart from the equation entirely, multiple ones actually. First was building an empty replica of him that copy his powers which got put on the back burner when Sora's body and power was handed over to him in a moldable blank sleight that was Roxas, instead he used his replica to be a Roxas back-up and then stuff happened and he tried to replace Roxas with his replica who was proving the superior vessel. In the end he lost both and Riku was pretty much already a lost cause so that left just Sora himself. Come DDD he tried for both of them, gave up on Riku because he had become more adept at controlling the darkness than Xehanort, and focused on Sora. First given a chance for Sora to willing join him and be part of what he sees as a greater destiny, trying one the whole preying on insecurities thing but Sora brushed him off immediately. Then continuing with the main plan of just emptying the kid's body and jacking it for himself, which also failed.

So he was pretty much SOL but then Saix and him came up with the idea of creating a new Xion, a better one, one without all the baggage of the old, the original plan for the replica program brought to fruition. Of course he had no idea the only reason Saix was doing this was because he was trying to get Xion back so he could then try and get her to turn on the Organization and thus give Lea one of his missing friends back along with Roxas. But I digress point is norting Sora was not a possibility like ever, all his plans to get a Sora-nort were based on specifically removing Sora's bright heart from the equation entirely and just taking his body and power. In contrast Riku was like Terra in he could corrupt him, prey on the darkness of his heart, join with it and then use him like a puppet...he just never imagined that Riku would end actually becoming much better/more adept at darkness use than him and turn all of that against Xehanort using HIM as a puppet, sealing him away, and eventually RIku devoured him and made his power his own.

As for the rest he knew that he was gathering versions of himself to use as potential members but until the replica project was completed they wouldn't have any bodies, when he lost Vexen that entire plan was put on ice. So he had to focus on his plan which was making kingdom hearts to nort a bunch of strong hearted people. That plan failed but at the very least Xehanort now had a list of various strong hearted humans who could potentially be used. What a lot of people tend to do is take Xemnas's words out of context. He did not say the former members were unable to be vessels, he specifically said they all had flaws/inadequacies, and because of those he was not surprised that one by one they all perished and failed to achieve their original goal. But that's the past, their flaws don't matter now, he doesn't need them to be loyal servants for years and pretend they are friends. All he needs them to do is work together for like a few days and then fight a fight.

He grabbed Saix who was already a nort and Saix willingly rejoined because of his own plans. Saix then discussed with him the whole plot with Vexen and Vexen was brought in to finish the replica program, if needed he could also be a fighter but he is scientist he's not really cut out for combat making him a back-up vessel. Xigbar joined up again because he's Xehanort's right hand and is also Luxu. Then MX grabbed Terranort's heart, AnsemSoD, Xemnas, and YX and put them into Terra's body and the replicas to have them. Vanitas selected because he was basically born for this and Riku Replica was selected because he's Riku back when he was corruptible and agreeable to Xehanort's designs.

Marluxia, Larxene, Luxord, and Demyx then were added because they have ties to the ancient keyblade war and Xehanort still has questions he wanted answered about that. The four of them were also all decently strong warriors and would make good vessels...well three of them would Demyx is here just to get info and because he's too chicken to actually say no. Luxord and Marluxia rejoined for their own reasons that we don't know but it doesn't really matter right now. Meanwhile Larxene rejoined because Marluxia did and she wanted to be along for his ride. We covered Xion already and so that brings us the 13 vessel Xehanort chose.

As for the replicas people really need to take a step back and look at the context of those fights. The 12 replicas of the Org members Xehanort sent at SDG were defeated by just SDG, they were weak things. The Guardians were winning against the 13 Xehanort replicas to, but they were in a constant fight against the suction of those keyhole portals and were all forced together limiting their strategic position into one that was extremely disadvantageous. Ultimately the Guardians didn't lose to the replicas they lost to the terrain as they finally got pushed into the keyhole portals. Meanwhile Mickey by himself proceed to obliterate all of them once the battle field changed which again shows these replicas would never have cut it for the clash, they are pretty weak and fragile which is why numbers and terrain are needed to tilt things in their favor.

In the end Xehanorts replicas would be the most ideal vessels if they were ever perfected and made as a good as the real deals, but they weren't. Vexen managed to make only 2 perfect replicas, Xion and Roxas, and then he immediately left the organization because that's all he ever intended to make. I mean he also planned to make one for Namine but he had done the research, he didn't need the org anymore, in time he could make the last one himself back in RG of course Riku Replica-Present saved him time by giving him the replica that Dark Riku/Riku Replica-past was using and Vexen was able to adjust and modify that one so it was perfect to. Xehanort was left with only a gaggle of weak flawed replicas and Vexen not Xehanort is the brain behind the operation of replica production, he can't do it without him.
 
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Tobi

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As for the replicas people really need to take a step back and look at the context of those fights. The 12 replicas of the Org members Xehanort sent at SDG were defeated by just SDG, they were weak things. The Guardians were winning against the 13 Xehanort replicas to, but they were in a constant fight against the suction of those keyhole portals and were all forced together limiting their strategic position into one that was extremely disadvantageous. Ultimately the Guardians didn't lose to the replicas they lost to the terrain as they finally got pushed into the keyhole portals. Meanwhile Mickey by himself proceed to obliterate all of them once the battle field changed which again shows these replicas would never have cut it for the clash, they are pretty weak and fragile which is why numbers and terrain are needed to tilt things in their favor.
Plus, even though it's maybe not so serious as it should maybe be (looking at Sora, who participated in nearly every single battle), but the GoL already fought against some strong enemies before all of the Replicas appeared. In a long term battle exhaustion is an important factor, too. Sadly we only see this really happen in KH2 after the 1000 Heartless fight (please correct me if I forgot anything), but it would be a reason to me to believe that the fight could have ended otherwise, if it was only the Xehanort Replicas (+MX) against the WoL and then even seperated if we go with how all ended up in the game.
 

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The only thing that was confusing about the Organization was why at the event where he needed the 13 darknesses, they weren't the different versions of Xehanort and Xehanort in bodies. Like why wasn't Larxene, Marluxia, Luxord, Saix, and Xigbar clones of Xehanort? I thought he was going to put himself into the bodies FOR the fight in order to summon Kingdom Hearts, not after he summoned in. We do see all the bodies possessed by Master Xehanort in Scala, but that's after the fact... which is weird.
 

SweetYetSalty

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I mean there are reason whether you accept them or not is another thing entirely.

He went with Riku first because he found Riku first, Riku was a wielder while Sora was not, and he had been grooming Riku off screen for awhile now. AnsemSoD was on Destiny Islands for literal years and you can see subtle comments and suggestions that Riku was quite familiar with/had spoken to him a fair bit. Riku is also easily corruptible unlike Sora and even after Riku no longer was the damage was already done, a piece of Xehanort was intrinsically bound to his very being he needed only a little push to release him.

Norting Sora is far more difficult to the point it's absolutely not an option, he has too little darkness and too much light he's not a good candidate for norting especially since he tends to feel so good about himself and Xehanort's main norting method is to prey on insecurities so he can make you feel good if you side with him. That's why he had to set up a plan that removed Sora's heart from the equation entirely, multiple ones actually. First was building an empty replica of him that copy his powers which got put on the back burner when Sora's body and power was handed over to him in a moldable blank sleight that was Roxas, instead he used his replica to be a Roxas back-up and then stuff happened and he tried to replace Roxas with his replica who was proving the superior vessel. In the end he lost both and Riku was pretty much already a lost cause so that left just Sora himself. Come DDD he tried for both of them, gave up on Riku because he had become more adept at controlling the darkness than Xehanort, and focused on Sora. First given a chance for Sora to willing join him and be part of what he sees as a greater destiny, trying one the whole preying on insecurities thing but Sora brushed him off immediately. Then continuing with the main plan of just emptying the kid's body and jacking it for himself, which also failed.

So he was pretty much SOL but then Saix and him came up with the idea of creating a new Xion, a better one, one without all the baggage of the old, the original plan for the replica program brought to fruition. Of course he had no idea the only reason Saix was doing this was because he was trying to get Xion back so he could then try and get her to turn on the Organization and thus give Lea one of his missing friends back along with Roxas. But I digress point is norting Sora was not a possibility like ever, all his plans to get a Sora-nort were based on specifically removing Sora's bright heart from the equation entirely and just taking his body and power. In contrast Riku was like Terra in he could corrupt him, prey on the darkness of his heart, join with it and then use him like a puppet...he just never imagined that Riku would end actually becoming much better/more adept at darkness use than him and turn all of that against Xehanort using HIM as a puppet, sealing him away, and eventually RIku devoured him and made his power his own.

As for the rest he knew that he was gathering versions of himself to use as potential members but until the replica project was completed they wouldn't have any bodies, when he lost Vexen that entire plan was put on ice. So he had to focus on his plan which was making kingdom hearts to nort a bunch of strong hearted people. That plan failed but at the very least Xehanort now had a list of various strong hearted humans who could potentially be used. What a lot of people tend to do is take Xemnas's words out of context. He did not say the former members were unable to be vessels, he specifically said they all had flaws/inadequacies, and because of those he was not surprised that one by one they all perished and failed to achieve their original goal. But that's the past, their flaws don't matter now, he doesn't need them to be loyal servants for years and pretend they are friends. All he needs them to do is work together for like a few days and then fight a fight.

He grabbed Saix who was already a nort and Saix willingly rejoined because of his own plans. Saix then discussed with him the whole plot with Vexen and Vexen was brought in to finish the replica program, if needed he could also be a fighter but he is scientist he's not really cut out for combat making him a back-up vessel. Xigbar joined up again because he's Xehanort's right hand and is also Luxu. Then MX grabbed Terranort's heart, AnsemSoD, Xemnas, and YX and put them into Terra's body and the replicas to have them. Vanitas selected because he was basically born for this and Riku Replica was selected because he's Riku back when he was corruptible and agreeable to Xehanort's designs.

Marluxia, Larxene, Luxord, and Demyx then were added because they have ties to the ancient keyblade war and Xehanort still has questions he wanted answered about that. The four of them were also all decently strong warriors and would make good vessels...well three of them would Demyx is here just to get info and because he's too chicken to actually say no. Luxord and Marluxia rejoined for their own reasons that we don't know but it doesn't really matter right now. Meanwhile Larxene rejoined because Marluxia did and she wanted to be along for his ride. We covered Xion already and so that brings us the 13 vessel Xehanort chose.

As for the replicas people really need to take a step back and look at the context of those fights. The 12 replicas of the Org members Xehanort sent at SDG were defeated by just SDG, they were weak things. The Guardians were winning against the 13 Xehanort replicas to, but they were in a constant fight against the suction of those keyhole portals and were all forced together limiting their strategic position into one that was extremely disadvantageous. Ultimately the Guardians didn't lose to the replicas they lost to the terrain as they finally got pushed into the keyhole portals. Meanwhile Mickey by himself proceed to obliterate all of them once the battle field changed which again shows these replicas would never have cut it for the clash, they are pretty weak and fragile which is why numbers and terrain are needed to tilt things in their favor.

In the end Xehanorts replicas would be the most ideal vessels if they were ever perfected and made as a good as the real deals, but they weren't. Vexen managed to make only 2 perfect replicas, Xion and Roxas, and then he immediately left the organization because that's all he ever intended to make. I mean he also planned to make one for Namine but he had done the research, he didn't need the org anymore, in time he could make the last one himself back in RG of course Riku Replica-Present saved him time by giving him the replica that Dark Riku/Riku Replica-past was using and Vexen was able to adjust and modify that one so it was perfect to. Xehanort was left with only a gaggle of weak flawed replicas and Vexen not Xehanort is the brain behind the operation of replica production, he can't do it without him.
This was well written and detailed. I still don't like the Marluxia/Larxene options with their free will intact but this better explains the replica craziness.

Edit: One question though
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