STOP THE PRESSES GUYS I’ve figured out the answer to one of the GREAT FF MYSTERIES OF THE AGES
first off the game’s been out for fifteen years so we’re well past the spoiler statute of limitations on it, but even so, MAJOR SPOILERS FOR FFIX AHEAD because goddamn
you see that motherfucker in the top image? that’s Necron, aka The Darkness of Eternity, final boss of FFIX, who I’m sure we’re all aware has up until now made NO FUCKING SENSE?
Well this morning I was reading up on it in the Final Fantasy wikia, as one does occasionally, and something in the trivia section stood out to me: apparently, in the early concept art, Necron’s role was meant to be played by Hades. You can see him—which is to say, Hades—confronting the party on the Hill of Despair in the second image above.
HADES, as you may know, is a frequent customer in the Final Fantasy series. More specifically, contrary to his role in FFIX as bonus-boss-cum-shopkeeper, he’s typically a summon monster—an eidolon.
Eidolons are a HUGE PLOT POINT IN FFIX. Eiko’s arc culminates in the awakening of Madeen, her personal eidolon, who, if you go to inspect the eidolon wall, is revealed to have been deliberately created by Eiko’s family as an act of love in hopes of protecting their daughter. THIS ESTABLISHES that it’s possible for people who have the ability to summon to create Eidolons of their own will if their desire and belief is strong enough.
KUJA is a soulless Genome from Terra and should not be able to summon eidolons at all in the first place! As evidenced by how he spent the entire first half of the game manipulating people who were able to summon by themselves into summoning powerful eidolons so he could use his magical eyeball spaceplane to take control of them. However! In pursuit of his Plan B, achieving trance, he absorbed the soul of Queen Brahne, who had in life acquired the ability to summon Eidolons. THAT MEANS Kuja, by the end of the game, has the soul of a summoner, stolen though it may be. Furthermore, the endgame happens at the well of life itself: the planet Crystal, which, according to the Ultimania, is also the source of a planet’s eidolons.
IN SHORT, this gives Kuja both the motive and the means by the end of his battle to create an eidolon: NECRON. When Necron first appears, it says it was called forth by Kuja’s desire to end all life. Where Madeen was born of hope and love, Necron came from Kuja’s hatred and despair. Kuja’s strong will at the moment of his defeat and his summoner soul, now in close proximity to the birthplace of all Eidolons, provide the catalyst for Necron’s creation. Necron is neither a random interloper from nowhere nor an ideological symbol not intended to be taken literally: it’s a summoned eidolon, just like Ark or Alexander, a creature sustained and driven by a powerful mortal will, completely in line with the in-universe natural laws.
And now I’m going to go lie down and/or scream a little more.
This is really interesting, though it makes me think they should have featured the tidbit of summoners being able to create eidolons more prominently in the story—for some reason I only recall the bit about Garnet’s birth name being revealed at the wall, nothing about Madeen’s creation, and it makes IX summoners read really differently. Because if some of them are created by intention/will, and actually that seems to explain a hell of a lot about how Alexander was a castle-like structure with wings, then it’s very possible that all of them were created by the summoner tribe, isn’t it? They might not be summoners first and foremost, but creators.