Game Theory

Does Aerith Die in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth? What the Ending Could Mean For the Third Game

The big question.

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth Aerith
Square Enix

Few moments in video game history are as notorious as the fate of Aerith in Final Fantasy 7. It was a crushing emotional twist that forever changed storytelling expectations for games. Going into the remake project, one of the biggest questions was how Aerith’s big moment would be handled in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth. Would her fate change, or stay the same? If you’re hoping to find the answer, or looking for a little clarification after completing Rebirth, we’ve broken down everything about the baffling ending and what it could be setting up.

Warning: This article will discuss the biggest spoilers possible for Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth.

Does Aerith Die in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth?

Aerith’s overall fate remains the same as in the original game.

Square Enix

The short answer is, yes, Aerith’s fate in Rebirth is the same as it was in the original Final Fantasy 7. However, there’s a much longer answer that surrounds that, as Rebirth adds a ton of new details to the event, and introduces a whole slew of new questions and ideas, including a multiverse.

The flow of events in Rebirth is largely the same as in the original Final Fantasy 7. The party finds the Black Materia at the Temple of Ancients, Aerith leaves on her own to pray at the Forgotten Capital, and perishes at the hands of Sephiroth. Rebirth ends with the party mourning her loss, and flying off in the Cid’s plane the Tiny Bronco toward the Northern Continent, searching for Sephiroth.

If you want to dig deeper into all of the new details, however, keep reading.

Why Do Aerith and Cloud Have a Date?

The dream date sequence serves a couple of purposes but primarily is used to get a new White Materia for Cloud to take back to the main universe.

Square Enix

Before we go on, it’s important to note that there’s a lot of ambiguity in the final hours of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, and without knowing where the story goes in the next part, a lot of it is up to interpretation. Here’s how we understand the unfolding of events.

After solving the puzzles and defeating the bosses of the Temple of Ancients, Cloud and Aerith plummet into the depths around the temple and wake up in the dream-like world we’ve seen Zack Fair in throughout the game. Sephiroth’s monologue in this section suggests that there’s a multiverse that now exists, created by the party defying fate at the end of Final Fantasy 7 Remake. These different universes are volatile and can sometimes overlap, which is how Zack and Cloud end up fighting together during the final boss of the game.

Throughout Rebirth, Zack’s sections are taking place in one of those worlds, and it’s on the brink of destruction, as evidenced by the massive gash that has appeared in the sky. Aerith has, somehow, drawn Cloud into this world to have a final moment and give him a clear understanding of the events that are going to come and what’s going to happen.

This “date” serves two purposes: the first of which is to physically give Cloud the White Materia. In the original game, this materia was vital, as it allowed the spell Holy to be cast after Sephiroth summoned Meteor, essentially saving the planet. Throughout the events of Remake and Rebirth, Aerith’s White Materia, given to her by her mother, has been sapped of its power and turned clear. But by traveling into this other universe, Aerith is able to obtain another White Materia filled with power, and give it to Cloud to take back into what we’ll call the “prime” universe.

The other purpose of this date sequence is to let Cloud know that Aerith has chosen this path herself. In the original Final Fantasy 7, Cloud feels immense guilt over his failure to save Aerith, and later in the 2005 film Advent Children, it causes him to question if he can protect anyone he loves at all, pushing him to seclude himself. It’s interesting to note that Aerith treats this date the same way she did her earlier dates with Zack, but Cloud simply doesn’t react the same way. This may simultaneously be a way of both Aerith and Cloud solidifying their friendship, but recognizing that Aerith still loves Zack (something that’s suggested multiple times across Rebirth). Again, this is an interpretation, but it’s a key moment of recognizing that Cloud isn’t Zack, he’s his own person. Someone that Aerith still cherishes, in a different way.

Despite his attempt to save Aerith at the end of Rebirth, we see a much different version of Cloud, one that recognizes that Aerith has her own battle to fight within the Lifestream. While the rest of the party grieves Aerith’s loss, Cloud is accepting.

How Come Cloud Can Still See Aerith?

Something isn’t quite right with Cloud at the end of Rebirth.

Square Enix

After the big scene and final boss, Rebirth has one final CG scene for players, where we see the party gathered in an open field. The tone of the rest of the party is dismal, but it quickly becomes clear that Cloud and no one else can still see and talk to Aerith. Like with the final fight against Sephiroth, this is Aerith’s lingering spirit, now residing in the Lifestream of the planet.

In the spinoff novel On the Way to a Smile, which takes place shortly before Advent Children, there are sections where we learn that Aerith and Sephiroth’s consciousnesses still survive in the Lifestream. Sephiroth’s consciousness is what causes the Geostigma disease in Advent Children, while Aerith’s is eventually what cures the disease. This idea is likely being carried forth in Rebirth, with Aerith’s consciousness or “spirit” affecting things from the Lifestream. Cloud can see her because of crossing that boundary to another universe, and seemingly because Aerith wants him to see her, and have that context for her passing.

Again, here we see Cloud vastly more accepting of what happened, asking Aerith if she can “find the way back?” Cloud recognizes Aerith still has a role to play in the fight against Sephiroth, and it seems more than likely that we’ll be seeing more of Aerith in the third game, at least more than was present in the original game. At the same time, though, something is clearly off with Cloud at the end of Rebirth.

Somehow, Cloud still has the Black Materia and fuses it into his Buster Sword. He’s also able to see the giant gash in the sky that was in the other universe. This could suggest a couple of different things. For one, Cloud might be able to cross the boundary between worlds, like Aerith and Sephiroth can. It could also suggest that the prime universe is on the verge of coming to an end unless something is done.

These two ideas are likely related, as Aerith talks about wanting to “save” Cloud a couple of different times. Her actions at the end of Rebirth might be a direct choice to fight the way Sephiroth and the Black Materia have control over Cloud. That’s now the major question heading into the third game. We know Sephiroth wants to “unite” all worlds and rule over eternity, but how does Cloud factor into that plan, and just what influence does the villain still have over him? We won’t find out the real answer to these questions until the third, and final, game.

Square Enix has confirmed the Remake project will be a trilogy, but at the moment the third game doesn’t have any release date, or even a name.

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is available exclusively on the PS5.

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