Attack on Titan Finally Shares the Secret of the Titans' Origin

Attack on Titan season 3 part 2 just aired what is, without a doubt, the most pivotal episode of the series, complete with an origin story that redefines the entire series as we know it. That's because Attack on Titan has finally revealed the true origin story of titans themselves - and it is nothing like what fans expected!

Here's the full breakdown of who and what the Titans are, and why their true origin is a major game-changer for Attack on Titan. Obviously, MAJOR SPOILERS follow:

Attack on Titan episode 57 is titled "That Day", a reference to the series' second episode, "That Day: The Fall of Shinganshina". Instead of the origin story of series protagonist Eren Yeager, however, "That Day" tells the origin story of Eren's father, Grisha Yeager, and in doing so, the story of how the modern conflict between humans and Titans came to be.

For all three seasons of its run, Attack on Titan has been circling the mystery of how the monstrous Titans are actually humans, transformed into that grotesque form. Details of that transformation process and the special Titans that lead the pack have been slowly filled in brushstroke by brushstroke, but "That Day" adds the major missing piece to the puzzle, by revealing that the Titans and their power originate with a race known as "The Subjects of Ymir." Descended from Ymir Fritz, the Subjects of Ymir had the ability to transform into the Titans.

The history of the Subjects of Ymir is debatable, depending on which telling you hear: according to the official history of Marley, the Titan power was used to destroy and subjugate, while Eldian loyalists insist it was used to advance civilization and better the world. Wherever the truth lies, history tells that the Subjects of Ymir used the Titan power to create the nation of Eldia, and then to conquer other civilizations in expanse of the Eldian Empire - including the nation of Marley. The rule of the Eldian Empire lasted until the The Great Titan War, when King Karl Fritz withdrew from all conflicts, causing a civil war for power between the other eight specialty Titans. That in-fighting between the Eldian elite allowed the Marleyan Empire to rise up seize control some specialty Titans, causing an uprising that reclaimed nearly all of the Marleyan lands Eldia had conquered.

Eventually the war came to an end, and King Fritz used the Founding Titan to order a squad of Colossus Titans to construct three walls around the remaining Eldian territories, giving rise to Walls Maria, Rose, and Sheena. King Fritz used the Founding Titan's power to erase he memories of the Subjects of Ymir living behind the Walls, thereby starting the myth of "Humanity Within the Walls" being the last remnants of humanity, in a world overrun by Titans. The king issued the threat that if Marley attacked the Walls, he would unleash the army of Colossus Titans hidden within them, to "flatten the earth." Marley didn't try to wage war against that threat, but instead infiltrated the walls to try to gain control of the Founding Titan. Grisha Yeager and the Eldian Restorationists (led by "The Owl") also infiltrated the Walls with the same goal.

With this revelation, it's now clear that Eren, Mikasa, Armin - every one of the main characters from Attack on Titan has been living a lie, with their minds literally lacking the context to understand their reality. It gets even more twisted than that: the connection between Zeke and Eren that is revealed makes the Yeager family history Shakespeare-level tragic, while "That Day" reveals the fact that the Titans who took down Shinganshina, and caused the horrific death of Eren Yeager's mother, were connected to actions of both Grisha Yeager and Zeke.

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Now that the truth is out there, the Survey Corps have (literally) a whole new world to discover, and Eren is now primed for battle with Zeke that is way deeper than personal. What did you think of Attack on Titan's Titan origin story? Let us know in the comments!

Attack on Titan season 3 part 2 is now streaming weekly on Hulu, Funimation and Crunchy Roll.