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Everything you need to know about Attack on Titan before Season 3 regenerates

By Elizabeth Rayne
Eren Yeager from Attack on Titan

Don't bother trying to catch your breath because of Game of Thrones, because there's another threat, coming from beyond another wall, that is just as menacing as hordes of ice zombies. Titans could probably obliterate the Night King's entire army just by stepping on them — or eating them.

While no one knows if those monstrous humanoid creatures from Attack on Titan have a taste for the undead, what we do know as of last season is that they’re threatening to breach the walls that are supposed to protect humanity. Emphasis on "supposed to." There have been rumors whispered about why those walls are really there ... never mind some questionable behavior and outright betrayal within the ranks of the army that is supposed to keep them from getting smashed by a ginormous fist.

Don’t have time to make it through 49 episodes before the new season invades next week? This is all you need to know to understand what exactly is going on with the human population as they fight those gargantuan man-eating things otherwise known as Titans.

Attack on Titan

So… what exactly is a Titan?

Titans look like grotesque, gigantic humans, but can't possibly be humans because they eat humans, right? Don't be so sure. Some Titans actually are human "shifters" who can morph into Titans. These shifters come in different flavors, like the Beast Titan, which makes Bigfoot look downright cuddly, and the armored Titan, which is nearly impossible to kill because of its massive exoskeleton.

By the way, these things are virtually impossible to take down unless you slash them in the nape of the neck. It's pointless to hack off limbs because Titans can regenerate.

Attack on Titan

Where even are we?

Most of Attack on Titan is set within three massive walls, behind which the endangered species otherwise known as humans cower: Wall Maria, Wall Rose, and Wall Shina. The walls are obviously there as an anti-Titan measure. Because those things have still found some way to get in, breaches have resulted in a trail of destruction and gore. They're usually too stupid to figure out the walls, but there's always that one you don't expect.

Attack on Titan

Who is Eren Yaeger and why should we care?

Eren Yeager is a kid from Shiganshina District who you really shouldn't mess with. Eren and his adoptive sister Mikasa Ackerman were orphaned when Titans breached wall Shina and Mikasa's mother unfortunately ended up in the jaws of one. Eren's father vanished with no explanation but left something really intriguing in the basement (more on that later). You get to understand all his bitterness and stubbornness after finding that out.

He's also a shifter. It gets him arrested and this close to being executed until the defense made a case for his Titan powers being a major assist to the military.

Attack on Titan

About the military, because it's kind of a big deal here...

The military in this place is divided into the Military Police, the Garrison Regimen and the infamous Scout Regiment — infamous because about half of them who leave the walls never return. Still vengeful from the last Titan breach, Eren, Mikasa and Eren's best friend Armin join the army, and eventually the Scouts, as soon as they possibly can.

Anyone who serves in the military needs to be adept with steampunk-ish vertical maneuver gear. It shoots out cables at warp speed to climb huge things like, you know, Titans.

Attack on Titan

Who's who in the squad?

Erwin Smith commands the Scouts, while Captain Levi Ackerman (really distant relation to Mikasa) is squad captain of the Special Ops squad. Despite being one of the most lethal soldiers ever, Levi is an enigmatic character who doesn't have the friendliest resting face, but you can't really blame him because he's seen some things.

Next to Eren, Armin and Mikasa, the squad members who have managed not to get eaten yet are Commander Erwin, Hange Zoe, who has a sick fascination with dissecting Titans, Connie, Bertolt, the always-ravenous Sasha, Reiner, and Ymir, some of whom have something to hide, and Christa, who also has something to hide.

Attack on Titan

What's the deal with humans shapeshifting into Titans anyway? Is there a DNA match?

Besides the fact that you can turn into one if someone injects you with Titan spinal fluid, nobody knows. What they do know by now is that Scouts Annie Leonhart and Ymir can also shift into Titans, and Annie (a member of the Military Police) may or may not have had something to do with serious carnage a while back. That explains why she encased herself in this impenetrable diamond-like substance when she was captured, and last time we checked, she's still like a fossilized bug in amber, except alive. Eren eventually finds he himself can use this power to plug a hole in Wall Maria.

Annie and Ymir aren't the only shifters hiding in the squad. The aforementioned Armored Titan is actually Reiner, and the Colossal Titan, which is exactly what it sounds like (and ate Eren's mother), is Bertolt. They shifted back and infiltrated the military after the massacre for some yet-unexplained reason. That explains how Titans magically start appearing in what is supposed to be protected territory. Talk about betrayal!

Attack on Titan

If Christa isn't hiding shifter powers, then what's her secret?

Christa is actually Historia Reiss, a hidden member of the royal family who may be able to demystify the origin of the Titans. Mikasa just has to find out what is going on after she glimpses the face of a Titan peering at her from within the walls. How much does Historia really know? Enough to get her and Eren imprisoned in her father's underground cavern, where Eren is doomed to get eaten by Rod in his Titan form so he can become the most badass Titan ever. He believes it's his birthright. The current royal family is a fraud, anyway.

Attack on Titan

Is this the kind of secret the blows everything wide open?

Pretty much. When Rod forces Historia to touch Eren, it unleashes a whirlwind of traumatic memories that reveal to Eren how he became a shifter in the first place. He ate his own father after being injected with Titan spinal fluid. Maybe that served him right, because Grisha Yaeger previously ate Historia's half-sister to acquire the power of the Founding Titan. So that's what Rod is so hungry for. He doesn't just want to eat Eren for extra power, but a really specific type of power.

Too bad former serial killer and general rogue Kenny Ackerman is after the same thing as Rod. At least both get obliterated before either can do any serious damage, and Historia rises up as the true queen.

Attack on Titan

Because everyone is dying (literally and otherwise) to know, what is in that basement?

Whatever it is, Eren is planning on trekking over there with the Scouts to find out. He was given the key by his father before the whole Titan cannibal thing went down. There is no way it doesn't have something to do with the Titans at this point. Is it an anatomical guide? More Titan spinal fluid? The ghastly remains of an experiment gone wrong? It won't end well if an actual Titan is hiding in there. They don't actually need to eat to survive; they just love devouring humans.

Attack on Titan

But first, Wall Maria.

The first part of Season 3 leaves off the night before the Scouts are to attempt taking back Wall Maria. What you see in the Season 3 trailer is a glimpse of that impending battle, with the Beast Titan commanding his own monstrous forces.

Find out if enough Scouts are even left to unearth whatever lurks in Eren's basement when Attack on Titan returns on April 29.