WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan manga, available in English on Kodansha.
The anime of Attack on Titan will soon come to an end, with the announcement that the final season will resume in January 2022. Considering that there are only about 20 chapters of the manga left for the anime to cover, the final episodes will be packed with action and answers. For those who need a refresher or don’t want to wait, here’s a rundown of the entire timeline of Attack on Titan.
The origin of Attack on Titan: Ymir Fritz becomes the first Titan
A former slave to the Eldian Kingdom 2,000 years ago, Ymir is one day blamed for having freed pigs and is chased into the forest by angry villagers. After being hit by multiple arrows, she stumbles upon a cave-like structure at the base of a huge tree and falls into a puddle at the bottom. Before dying from his injuries, a creature that resembles a human spine is fused with his back.
From the attack on Titan to Yuri !!! in the ice
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Outside, an explosion occurs and Ymir emerges from the steam, now in the form of a massive Titan, later known as the Founding Titan. Ymir remains a slave to King Fritz and uses the power of the Founding Titan to cultivate the land and build roads, bringing great prosperity to Eldia. As a reward for his work, King Fritz takes Ymir as his wife and grants her the “honor” of giving birth to their children.
For 13 years, Ymir used the Founding Titan to destroy the nation of Marley. During an assassination attempt, Ymir is hit by a spear and inexplicably dies. The king orders his three daughters to eat Ymir’s body so that her powers are not lost. This tradition of consuming people to obtain the powers of the Titans causes Ymir’s power to be divided into the Nine Titans. Meanwhile, Ymir is transported to the Coordinate, where she remains a slave to the royal family.
The Great War of the Titans
While Elida possesses the Nine Titans, she uses them to conquer the world in acts of unspeakable violence. The Fritz family owns the Founding Titan, and the remaining Eight Titans are in the hands of various noble families who remain subordinate to the Fritz family. Once Elida runs out of land to conquer, infighting begins between the noble families.
It is not known exactly when the Great War of the Titans began, but during Eldia’s infighting, the nation of Marley steals seven of the Nine Titans, turning the tide of the war. The Fritz family stays with the Founding Titan while Marley uses the other seven to conquer the land previously occupied by Eldia. Only the Attack Titan escapes Marley’s clutches, and his whereabouts remain unknown for centuries.
The 145th King Fritz feels immeasurable sorrow for the actions of his ancestors. Conspire with the Tybur family of Marley to create a fictional soldier to paint as the hero who ended the Great War of the Titans. In the year 743, King Fritz reunites part of his people and retires to the island of Paradis, where he builds three walls made up of millions of colossus titans. He declares that if his village is ever attacked, he will unleash these Titans to destroy the world.
The Eldian Restorers at Marley
The Marleyans hate the Eldians, calling them demons because of the terror their ancestors inflicted on the world. In 817, Grisha Jaeger and her little sister are children living in the Marley Liberior Internment Zone when her sister is killed by soldiers for leaving the internment zone. This prompts Grisha to become an Eldian restorer: a member of a group of Eldians seeking to overthrow Marley and restore Elida to her former glory.
Many years later, Grisha urges her son Zeke to inherit one of the Nine so that the restorationists can use its power to start their revolution. They plan to infiltrate Paradise Island, steal the Founding Titan, and use its power to free the Elders. This plan is led by The Owl, a spy within the Marleyan army, who reveals himself as Eren Kruger, possessor of the missing Attack Titan.
When Zeke is seven years old, he sells his parents as restaurateurs to gain Marley’s trust and inherit one of the Nine, and Grisha and his wife are sentenced to death on Paradis Island. However, Eren Kruger saves Grisha and passes the Attack Titan to her. Kruger tasks Grisha with finishing Eldian’s Restoration mission by infiltrating the walls and stealing the Founding Titan.
Paradis against Marley
In the year 845, Marley begins his assault on Paradis Island and Grisha finally fulfills his original mission. Grisha massacres most of the royal family and passes the Attack Titan and Founding Titan to her son, Eren. Following the attack by the Warrior Unit, Bertholdt, Reiner, and Annie infiltrate the army in 847 to discover the location of the Founding Titan.
Annie, Bertholdt and Reiner are discovered as spies in 850 AD and are captured, killed and defeated respectively. However, reinforcements arrive from Marley with Zeke Jaeger’s Beast Titan and the Chariot Titan. In a final battle with the Survey Corps, the Warrior Unit is defeated once more and is forced to retreat to Marley.
Later, Eren and Zeke agree to work together to defeat Marley once and for all. Eren owns the Founding Titan and Zeke has royal blood, so together they can wield the power of the Founding Titan. Zeke wants to use the Founding Titan to sterilize the Eldians from being able to reproduce. In this way, they will slowly die out, and no one else will be subjected to the nightmare of being born an Eldian into a world that despises them.
In 854, Eren launches a surprise attack on the Liberian Internment Zone during a war rally. This paralyzes Marley’s army long enough for him and Zeke to have time to complete their mission on Paradis Island. Once Eren and Zeke manage to overthrow Eldia’s army, they plan to meet in Shiganshina to join forces and carry out their plans.
Eren’s Rumble: How Attack on Titan ends
Eren and Zeke arrive at the Coordinate, where Eren reveals that he has never supported Zeke’s plan. Thanks to the Attack Titan’s ability to transcend time, Eren, within the Coordinate, forces Grisha to slaughter the royal family. This triggers the sequence of events that has led to this moment. Eren manages to defeat Ymir Fritz and takes control of the Founding Titan.
Eren destroys the walls of Paradise Island, freeing the millions of Colossus Titans within them. He uses the Coordinate to announce his intention to destroy all life outside of Paradis Island so that his people are safe. As Eren’s roar sweeps the Earth, Mikasa, Armin, Levi, Hange, Jean, and Connie de Paradis, along with Reiner, Annie, Pieck, Gabi, and Falco de Marley, join forces to stop it.
The group tries to reason with Eren, who informs them that to stop him they will have to kill him. When the core of the Founding Titan is expelled from Eren’s body, Eren reappears in a new Titan body similar to the Colossal Titan. Armin, Mikasa, and Levi work together to decapitate Eren’s real head, killing Eren and the Founding Titan and ridding the world of the Titans entirely.
Afterward, Armin recalls a vision in which Eren explains that he did all of this so that Mikasa could kill the Founding Titan and free Ymir. Eren confesses that he never wanted to turn against his friends and that, although he annihilated 80 percent of the planet’s population, he only did it to protect them. He wanted to set up his friends as the heroes who defeated him so that they could help the world rebuild without being hated.