Recently, Kitase debunked the Rinoa is Ultimecia
conspiracy theory in an interview.
“No, that is not true,” Kitase said. “I don’t think I’ll incorporate that even if we do remake the game. But that being said, both Rinoa and Ultimecia are witches, so in that sense they are similar, but they’re not the same person.”
For those interested in what the theory says, you can still find the website here.
Apparently, the idea that Rinoa is Ultimecia comes from the fact that in a sense, they are the same character. The world hates witches, and they hate Rinoa just as they will come to hate Ultimecia:
They’ve been traditionally despised and Adel left a nasty impression. Many people haven’t forgiven Edea and Rinoa was urged to be sealed immediately after awakening. Now people know Ultimecia is coming. But they don’t know who she will be. Rinoa is now the only publicly known sorceress, and a powerful one. Her continued persecution is very likely.
The idea is that Rinoa will despise humans. But if so, why would she still remain friends with Squall, Selphie, Quistis, Zell, and Irvine? Unless they have a falling out, she wouldn’t hate humanity at large. After Ultimecia’s defeat, the world doesn’t need to fear witches.
But what of the theory that they look the same?
All witches shown have unique colorings and markings… except for Rinoa. Rinoa does have a sorceress form, but it hasn’t manifested yet. It’d be unreasonable to expect Rinoa to look like Adel, but given their winged motifs and beautiful faces, Rinoa could reasonably look like Ultimecia. Additionally, both Rinoa’s room/mansion and Ultimecia’s castle have similar Gothic Victorian style.
And the fact that Squall’s mind superimposes Ultimecia’s face on Rinoa, hinting they might be the same person.
As Squall lies dying in a wasteland outside of time, he sees bizarre imagery. He sees Rinoa dying. He sees Rinoa’s face juxtapositioned against Ultimecia’s face. He sees the image of Rinoa’s happiest times fading away into obscurity. He cries afterward. It’s possible that he is receiving information about the future which his mind translates into symbolic imagery in a way that he can understand.
But all of the females generally look alike. Whether by design or accident, simply looking like each other isn’t a strong enough case.
In any case, their personalities are wildly different. Rinoa is:
compassionate, warm, and friendly, although she can act stubborn and naive
Whereas Ultimecia is a:
malevolent and manipulative sorceress filled with anger and hate