Final Fantasy VII Rebirth: Why Aerith needs to die again

Sam Smith

With Final Fantasy VII Rebirth on the horizon, we make the case for why Aerith needs to die again in the remake and why sparing her would be a huge mistake.

Aerith’s death in the original Final Fantasy VII is one of the most shocking and tragic deaths in all of gaming, perhaps one of the most impactful deaths in all of fiction too. This lovely flower seller not only didn’t deserve her fate – being brutally stabbed through the back by Sephiroth – we as the player, plus the other characters in the game had grown to love her.

Not only that, many of us had spent hours leveling Aerith and making her an essential member of our party. All that was taken away in one cutscene, traumatizing us as the player, and the heroes of Midgar in one swoop. Surely, there’d be a way to bring her back later or some path to saving her in another playthrough? Nope. Aerith was dead, and there was absolutely nothing you could do about it.

Even over twenty years later, fans of the original FFVII still debate Aerith’s death as it had such a profound impact on them, but this is what makes it so special. It was a masterclass in storytelling, something that made us experience an emotional response in a way that no other game had ever done before. There have been other tragic and earth-shattering deaths in video games since, but none have come close to the cultural influence that Aerith’s demise had – and this is why it needs to happen again.

Aerith and Cloud's date in FF7 Rebirth
The rest of the FFVII cast become quite attached to Aerith.

Aerith’s death was not a mistake

While it could go down in the third chapter of the Final Fantasy VII remake trilogy, some fans suspect Aerith’s fateful encounter with Sephiroth will take place in FFVII Rebirth, the second game in the series. Many of us are preparing to relive this event, knowing it’ll be tough, but fully understanding why it’s necessary. However, there’s a contingent of the original FFVII fans who are begging Square Enix to spare Aerith this time around, or at least, to provide a path for them to rescue her.

These are the fans who found the death of Aerith especially hard when they first played FFVII and see the remake series as an opportunity for a do-over, for Square Enix to correct what some of these fans have always viewed as a mistake. Over the years, we recall various encounters with such fans from the playground to online message boards. Back when the original Final Fantasy VII was released, some of them told us of their determination to save Aerith in future playthroughs. Some believed there was a secret way to save her, while others even claimed to know it.

Even years later, some of these FFVII players would still passionately argue that Aerith could be saved, even though the Internet had ushered in an age of game guides and wikis, with no such solution ever being discovered. One or two console generations would pass, but still, they argued their case. Maybe a solution is hidden in the code? Perhaps just in the Japanese version? We recall countless message boards dedicated to this search, with players refusing to give up on Aerith’s survival. However, this denial would eventually turn to anger, then finally, acceptance.

At least, that was the case until the Final Fantasy VII Remake arrived and brought fresh hope. Now that other important characters have escaped death in the remake series, such as Zack, those who once dreamed that Aerith’s demise could be prevented have reemerged. Some are even demanding that Square Enix retroactively vindicate them, and finally allow them to be right. You see, the remakes take place in an alternate timeline, one that exists alongside the original FFVII events. However, shadowy forces are working to correct the timeline, and this should worry the would-be saviors of Aerith.

We’re of the view that Square Enix must not cave to the demands of fans who wish to save Aerith from death. We’d go as far as to say that they owe it to these fans not to. We believe that the devs already know this and have a plan in place – one which will delight, and then traumatize FFVII players all over again. We predict that Aerith will survive her encounter with the murderous Sephiroth, blowing everyone’s minds, only for her to die later in the story. We suspect Cloud, like the players, will desperately try to save her, but time and time again, Aerith will die.

Aerith, Cloud, and Tifa in FF7 Rebirth
Will Cloud save Aerith?

Correcting the FFVII timeline

Cloud will soon learn the truth about the events that are unfolding around him, and that they’ve happened before. He’ll learn that there’s no saving Aerith in any universe, as it’s her death that galvanizes him into becoming the hero he needs to be. Ultimately, Aerith needs to die for the world to be saved and her death is the motivating force Cloud needs to save it, just like he did in the original game. If we’re being honest, we’re also a little worried for Zack and even Biggs, both of whom are alive in the remake series, but dead in the original timeline.

This way, the remakes can do something new but also still find a way to honor the past. The story involving the shadowy entities is clearly going somewhere, and we think it has everything to do with correcting the timeline. Zack’s death is also a vital part of Cloud’s story, but we suspect his survival is likely to be a cruel red herring designed to give us hope that Aerith can also survive. Fans don’t have the emotional connection to Zack that they have to Aerith and Square Enix knows this, and could exploit it in a savage act of storytelling genius.

In reality, the death of Aerith back in 1997 was never a mistake so it doesn’t need to be fixed. For many fans, this may have been their first emotional connection to a fictional character or at least the first one they made to a videogame. Many of these fans legitimately mourned Aerith, and this is what continues to impact them all these years later. We sympathize, but this connection is now what’s motivating some to demand Aerith survives in the FFVII remakes. What they don’t get is that if the character hadn’t died then their connection to her wouldn’t be what it is today.

Aerith’s survival, then or now, would cheapen everything about the story of Final Fantasy VII and what made it so memorable and emotionally charged. If players are still fighting to save her over twenty years later, then this says it all. Let’s not deprive a new generation of something that turned us into the gamers we are today. Aerith’s death was a deliberate moment, artfully designed to pull at our heartstrings, and it succeeded – it also needs to happen again.

While a happy ending where everyone survives would make us all feel warm and fuzzy, the best stories have triumphs from tragedy. Yes, we know it’s coming this time, but Aerith’s death has now entered a new phase and Square Enix will be aiming to make it even more memorable. So prepare yourselves for an even bigger gut punch than last time. A gut punch that will last for another twenty years. And do you know what? This time we welcome it.

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About The Author

Sam is a Senior Games Writer for Dexerto specializing in Survival Horror, Diablo, Final Fantasy, and Soulslikes. An NCTJ accredited journalist, Sam also holds a degree in journalism from the University of Central Lancashire and has many years of experience as a professional writer. Being able to marry his love of writing with his addiction to video games was always one of his life goals. He also loves all things PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo in equal measure. Contact at