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I've rewatched Rebuild of Evangelion: 1.01: You can (not) advance, and something struck me. At the very end (so spoiler):

Kaworu is on the moon, looking at Shinji, and say "You're the third again, Shinji"

Is the "again" a sign that what happened in NGE/EoE in the same continuity? Or does it link with RoE 3/4 (which I've still to see)?

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3 Answers 3

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It's up to interpretation and there hasn't been, as of yet, any sort of official take on what a lot of the cryptic stuff that Kaworu says. If you'll recall, he also calls Gendo "Father". The line you're referring to is probably more something like:

"The third again? You never change. I look forward to meeting you Shinji Ikari."

Not that Shinji is the "3rd" again so much as referring to Shinji as "3rd" and saying he's up to something "again".

Lots of ways to interpret this in light of some of the other things:

  1. Kaworu and Shinji may have met a long time ago, and when Kaworu mentions looking forward to meeting him again, it's in reference to a previous meeting which Shinji may not have either been aware of or remember

  2. Similar to #1, it may have been that Kaworu was a silent observer through a lot of the previous chronology before the start of the first film, enough so to have felt that he has personal ties with the family, thus also referring to Gendo as "father"

  3. Going along the veins of #2, there's also an off-hand mention of a "Pact" with Lilith in the 3rd movie, this could all have tied into how Angels in general play a different role in this continuity than in the original TV series. It's possible that Angels have been interacting with humans well before Sachiel's attack in the first film and that Kaworu may be referring to that interaction.

  4. Venturing in to even more speculation, there is the "Sequel" stuff. Some people interpret Kaworu's language and how he's acts as he's met Shinji before as evidence that Kaworu is either some sort of time traveller, that the new films are a thematic or chronologic sequel of the original TV series (and for some reason, Kaworu alone remembers the events from the TV series), or there was a world "reset" after instrumentality of the TV series (and again, Kaworu is the only one that remembers those events). Can get even wilder with speculation, but you get the idea.

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The prevalent theory about the Rebuild movies is that they are, in fact, a sequel to the original. No one is entirely certain how everything connects, but there are a lot of theories out there. Rather than attempt to cover them all myself, I'll provide links to relevant discussions. I encourage anyone who has more links to add them here so we can create a good resource for future reference.

  1. Relevant post on this site. The answer here provides common pieces of evidence, while also bringing up alternative theories (including the idea that these are just nods to the original series and nothing more). Furthermore it's noted that "Kaworu has always been saying weird things."

  2. Check out the first comment on this reddit thread. It provides some relevant quotes from the show's staff. In particular, there is a quote from Anno himself saying that "Eva is a story that repeats," which is one of the more strongest pieces of evidence supporting the sequel theory (that said, Anno, much like Kaworu, is know for saying some pretty weird things).

  3. Comment #4 on this MAL thread offers some additional perspective related to the overall tone of the series. It discusses this difference of tone in context with how Touji's story has a different ending in several iterations of the series, including the manga.
  4. This thread on the EvaGeeks wiki offers some opinions contrary to the sequel theory. However, I personally don't see many strong arguments here - mainly opinions that aren't backed up with an evidence - for example comments like "I think it's just a re-telling with plot twists and new plot holes." While funny, this really doesn't examine evidence in support of either side. That said, it's important to consider both perspectives with something as complex as Evangelion.
  5. Finally, here's a picture commonly referenced in this debate.Sequel Theory
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  • Please quote the relevant content or summary of the links here.
    – nhahtdh
    Commented Jul 22, 2015 at 15:56
  • I thought I did summarize most of them? Anyways, I'll go back and add some more specific info.
    – anonymous
    Commented Jul 22, 2015 at 16:12
  • While the evageeks link was amongst the first on the site to address the remake/sequel stuff, there have been supplimental materials that have been released since (and dialog from the film) that provide in-universe explanations for a lot of the imagery, like red oceans, blood on the moon, outline on the hill, etc, provided in other threads that've been created since
    – Jon Lin
    Commented Jul 22, 2015 at 16:40
  • @JonLin I just looked over the site (mostly skimmed though) and couldn't find anything in particular. If you have links can you edit them into the response?
    – anonymous
    Commented Jul 22, 2015 at 16:48
  • I didn't notice the spherical object in rebuild's second impact when I saw the movie. I'm now curious if where second impact occurred in rebuild was Antartica
    – Memor-X
    Commented Jul 27, 2015 at 12:57
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With the release of all 4 Evangelion rebuild movies, it's clear the events of Evangelion have already happened in some form or another and that Kaworu has met Shinji multiple times before. While the most direct evidence comes from the fourth rebuild movie, I've included examples from the first 3 films as well.

Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone

As mentioned in your question, Kaworu already knows Shinju as he awakens on the moon. He comments that it's the Third Child again and that Shinki doesn't change.

[KAWORU] I know. The boy down there has awakened, and is now in the generalization stage, right?

[KIEL] Yes.

[KAWORU] The Dead Sea Scrolls Apocrypha have been fulfilled up to the Book of Codes.

[KIEL] The time of the pact draws near.

[KAWORU] Number three again? You don't change, do you? I'm looking forward to meeting you, Shinji Ikari.

Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone transcript via Forever Dreaming

Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance

Kaworu mentions that he will make Shinji happy this time, likely referencing how he failed to make Shinji happy during the events of the original series.

Kaworu: Now, the promised time has come, Shinji Ikari. This time for sure, I'll make you happy, if no one else.

Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance transcript via eva-q-script by JackySee

Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo

Ironically, despite having Kaworu in a prominent role, 3.0 doesn't have any lines directly implying the events of Evangelion have occurred before. It does have some scenes where you could infer it as a double meaning.

When Kaworu plays the piano with Shinji, he says it's been a while since he enjoyed himself like this and that he's also a child of fate. Kaworu may be referencing the last time he met Shinji.

Kaworu: It's great to play together.

Shinji: Thank you. It's been a while since I last enjoyed myself like this.

Kaworu: Same here. Let's do this again. You're welcome anytime... Shinji Ikari.

Shinji: Uh, what's your name?

Kaworu: I'm Kaworu. Kaworu Nagisa. I'm another child like you, burdened by fate.

When Kaworu repairs Shinju's cassette player, he mentions he's been on 'this Earth' for longer than Shinji.

Shinji: You're amazing. It seems like you can do anything.

Kaworu: It's only a matter of technical knowledge. I've been on this Earth a little longer than you, that's all.

Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo transcript via Subs Like Script

Before Kaworu dies, he tells Shinji that when a soul is lost it's aspirations remain in the world and that the two of them will meet again.

Shinji: Kaworu, I... What am I supposed to do now?

Kaworu: Even when a soul is lost, its aspirations and curses remain in this world. Human will is conveyed as information throughout the world, and changes it. In time, we rewrite who we are. I'm sorry. This isn't the happiness that you were hoping to find. I'll close the Gates of Guf. You don't have to worry, Shinji.

Shinji: Kaworu... I don't understand anything you're saying, Kaworu!

Kaworu: Shinji, you need to find a place to rest that you can call your own. The ties that bind you will show you the way. Don't look so sad. We'll meet again, Shinji.

Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo transcript via Subs Like Script

Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time

Gendoh says he wants the world Shinji refused, a world with no barriers between individuals. Possibly referencing Shinji refusing Instrumentality in The End of Evangelion.

Shinji: Tell me, Father, what do you wish for?

Gendoh: I chose a world that you refused, a world where there are no AT fields, where humanity shares one heart and mind equally. There are no barriers between individuals, nor disparities of wealth, nor discrimination, nor wars, nor abuse, nor pain, nor sorrow. A world of only pure unsoiled souls. And it is a very restful world where I can be with Yui again.

Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time transcript via Forever Dreaming

Shinji remembers meeting Kaworu before.

[Shinji] I now remember. I've been here before many times and met you.

[Kaworu] Our names are alongside each other in the Book of Life. We'll keep on meeting each other.'

Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time transcript via Forever Dreaming

Kaworu is shown repeatedly waking up on the moon.

[Kaworu] The only thing that can end my existence is vacuum decay. That's why I have to repeatedly play a role in this predestined circular narrative for all of eternity.

Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time transcript via Forever Dreaming

Shinji tells Rei he won't reset the world implying it would be possible for him to have reset the world before. As this happens, footage of the 4 Rebuild movies plays on a projector screen behind them.

Shinji: I won't rewind time or revert the world. I'm just going to rewrite the world into one that doesn't have Evas. A world where new people can live.

Rei: Birth of a new world. Neon genesis.

Shinji: Yeah

Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time transcript via Forever Dreaming

Shinji's mother Yui is shown sacrificing herself to save Shinji. Shinji says that the god-slaying his father wished for was for his Mother Yui. This follows up The End of Evangelion where it was said Yui would live on forever as an Eva, which have been repeatedly compared to God.

Gendoh: When man created Evangelion, were we trying to create a clone of God?

Yui: Yes. Humans can only exist on this earth, but the Evangelion can live forever... Even billions of years from now, when the Earth, the Moon, and the Sun are gone, Eva will exist. It will be lonely, but as long as one person still lives,

Gendoh: It will be eternal proof that mankind ever existed.

Shinji: Goodbye, Mother.

The End of Evangelion transcript via Forever Dreaming

Shinji: I see now. This is the reason why... You were inside me all this time, Mother. I finally understand. Father wanted to see Mother go. That's the god-slaying that he wished for.

Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time transcript via Forever Dreaming

The imagery of both scenes mirror each other to hammer this point home further.

Yui in End of Evangelion

The End of Evangelion

Yui in Evangelion 3.0+1.0

Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time

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