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Attack On Titan's Complete Timeline Explained

Japanese anime "Attack On Titan" ("Shingeki no Kyojin") is based on Hajime Isayama's bestselling original manga, which ran from 2009 to 2021. The anime was produced by Wit Studio up through Season 3, with Season 4 (the final season, which debuted in three parts) produced by the animation studio MAPPA. The show is known as one of the best anime for newcomers due to its mostly linear, but still shocking, storyline. The creator is even known to have stated the anime improves on the manga (via Digital Spy).

In the story, humanity's remnants live in great three-walled cities to protect them from people-eating giants known as Titans, which attack without warning. When one of them attacks and eats his mother, Eren Jaeger decides to get his revenge on the Titans by joining the elite Survey Corps. Eren's destiny is far stranger and more upsetting than simple revenge, and throughout the series we see flashbacks to everything, from the roots of the Titans' creation to old political grudges.

The four seasons arrived in a staggered fashion. Season 1, which is composed of 25 episodes, ran from spring to fall of 2013. Then fans had to wait over three years for Season 2, which started in the spring of 2017 and delivered just 12 episodes. Season 3 released 12 episodes in the fall of 2018 and 10 in the spring of 2019. The final season debuted in December 2020 for 16 episodes, then a second run of 12 episodes in early 2022. 

The third, last part of Season 4 has a 2023 premiere date, but that's just the start to the secrets of "Attack on Titan." Here is the complete timeline of "Attack on Titan" explained.

Ancient history

The story of "Attack on Titan" starts 1003 years before Year 1, when a young girl named Ymir comes into contact with an alien-looking creature. After letting her master's pig escape, she runs from the Eldian soldiers and falls into a pool where this creature swims. It fuses to her spine, resulting in the first Founding Titan. Ymir can now assume a terrifying and gigantic form. King Fritz of Eldia takes her as a concubine for 13 years, using her power to wage war against Marley and other nations and build up his country. They have three daughters: Maria, Rose, and Sina.

Some 13 years later, a Marleyan prisoner of war throws a spear at King Fritz. Ymir leaps in front of him in her human form and is killed. King Fritz is not that bothered by this since, to him, she was born to be his slave, which becomes apparent when Fritz immediately makes his daughters eat her dead body. 

This results in three bloodlines with Titan features, and over generations there come to be nine distinct Titan forms that people can inherit or gain through cannibalism. Only those of royal blood can carry the Founding Titan, but there are eight others, each with distinctive powers and traits: the Colossus Titan, Jaw Titan, Attack Titan, Armored Titan, War Hammer Titan, Cart Titan, Female Titan, and Beast Titans. There are also Pure Titans who can't transform and are just mindless monsters.

The Great Titan War

After 145 generations, in 743, Karl Fritz becomes the reluctant monarch of Eldia, which he sees as a nation of horrors, which include civil war and all-out genocide. He joins with the family that commands the War Hammer Titan (the Tyburs) to bring about Eldia's downfall. Once the war begins, the Fritz royal family absconds to Eldia's last stronghold, Paradis Island, and the eight remaining Houses wage civil war. The Marleyans rebel against their oppressors in this moment of weakness, and by the end Marley wins possession of seven of the nine Titans.

Marley takes over the rest of the world while King Fritz establishes Eldia as a city-state, ringed by three great Walls and protected by Colossal Titans. He bluffs Marley into leaving Paradis Island alone, ending the Great Titan War, and all of the Eldians who hadn't fled overseas become Marleyan second-class citizens. They live in separate zones and even have to wear color-coded armbands. Marley even starts a rumor that Ymir Fritz got her powers from the Devil of All Earth.

Before changing his name and disappearing, King Fritz removes the memories of those known as Subjects of Ymir, who are Ymir's descendants, so they forget their entire history. The new story is that the whole world was devoured by Titans outside Paradis' walls. This leaves several clans who don't carry Ymir blood and can remember in the tricky position of either swearing to secrecy about this historical erasure or turning on Fritz.

Our story begins

A homeless girl from beyond the Walls is also given the name Ymir by the leader of the Cult of Ymir in 780. She joins the cult and becomes a figure of worship until 785, when they are all rounded up and turned into the Pure Titans that roam the wilderness. Meanwhile, Paradis establishes three military branches inside the walls: the Military Police, Garrison Regiment for internal security, and the Survey Corps, also known as the Scout Regiment, who fight Titans beyond the borders.

Grisha Jaeger is born in Liberio in 806. His younger sister is tortured to death by Marley Public Security. In 824, Grisha joins the Restorationists, a group that wants to bring Eldia back to supremacy. He has one biological son, Zeke, with Dina Fritz in 825.

Marley starts the Warriors program, where Eldian children are trained to operate the seven Marley Titans. Grisha sends Zeke to join the Warriors as a spy in 832, but Zeke turns all the Restorationists in instead. They are all transformed into Pure Titans except for Grisha, who receives the Attack Titan in the confusion.

In 835, Eren Jaeger is born to Grisha and his new wife Carla in Shiganshina. Also around this time, Eren's half-brother, Zeke, inherits a Titan along with his fellow Warriors. In 844, a young Mikasa Ackerman is saved from slavers by Eren Jaeger, who kills two of the men attempting to capture Mikasa. However, Mikasa manages to kill the third and joins the Jaeger family. When the Warriors arrive to take over Paradis, the Pure Titan who was once Ymir eats one of their Titans, regaining her human form.

The taking of Wall Maria

The Colossal Titan breaches Shiganshina District after 100 years of peace in 845. Titans are able to enter the city, and one of them — his father's first wife Dina, in fact, who is now a mindless Pure Titan — eats Eren's mother in front of him. The survivors retreat to Wall Rose.

Grisha travels to the Reiss Chapel and kills the Reiss family to get control of the Founding Titan, which he implants into his son Eren along with his own, the Attack Titan. He erases Eren's memory of all this and gives Eren the key to their basement, which has evidence of the outside world and the erased Eldian memories.

The Reiss family hides the rightful queen in the Cadet Corps under the name Christa Lenz. When Ymir overhears the rumors about this, she begins to search for her and they eventually become close. However, the Warriors infiltrate Paradis in regular human form to find the Founding Titan and manage to take the Armored and Colossal Titans out of commission for the next five years. Meanwhile, the supposed royal government sends 20% of the human population, 250,000 troops, to reclaim Wall Maria. Only about 200 return alive — which is the true purpose of the expedition, as the Paradis population had been getting out of control.

The Trost Offensive

After five more years of peace, the Colossal Titan breaches Trost District in 850. The Cadet Corps, which includes most of our central characters at this point, take them on. After being eaten by a Titan, Eren finally debuts his own Titan form and attacks. Once the evacuation is finished, Eren stops the breach with a huge boulder and is taken into custody. Although initially sentenced to death, Eren is saved by the military, who wants to use his strange new abilities.

All but two Titans are destroyed, and those two — Sawney and Beane — are rounded up for the Titan-obsessed mad scientist Hange Zoë's study. Eren joins the Scout Regiment to test his Titan abilities and learns about the experiments with Sawney and Beane. The two prisoners don't last long, as Annie Leonhart, who is a Warrior, kills them and frames another soldier for their deaths before joining the Military Police. The Warriors plan to kidnap Eren if they can.

One month later, a showdown between Annie and Eren causes untold destruction to Stohess District in Wall Sina. It ends with two surprises: Annie enters a crystal cocoon to assume some new form, and the damage reveals a Titan's face inside the wall.


Marley attacks, transforming a whole village into the Pure Titans, which Zeke can command in his Beast Titan form. Christa tells Ymir her true name and nature after Ymir's Titan powers are revealed. The Survey Corps arrives from Stohess, abducting both Eren and Ymir. The Scouts and Garrison set out to Wall Maria to rescue them, but only Eren is rescued. As the Scouts escape, they are attacked by Titans, including the one that ate Eren's mother. Her Fritz royal blood wakes Eren's inner Founding Titan. 

The rebels plot a coup to put Christa on her rightful throne as Queen Historia, and her father tries to make her eat Eren. However, her father ultimately drinks Titan spinal fluid and becomes a Titan himself. The Survey Corps are able to stop him from attacking Trost, and Historia is crowned after all.

After two months, a hundred-soldier squad rides to reclaim Shiganshina, and the Warriors come along to steal the Founding Titan from Eren. Only eight Paradis soldiers survive the battle. Returning to Marley, the Warriors learn their failures have weakened the empire enough that they now may be on the brink of war with the Mid-East Alliance.

While everyone recuperates, Eren and his friends arrive at the Jaeger basement, revealing the truth about the outside world. The Scout Regiment learns that Historia is key to the secrets of the Walls, and starts to put together the identities of the seven Warriors. The surviving soldiers and refugees retreat to Wall Rose for a time before anarchy breaks out, while the Warriors retreat to Shiganshina with Ymir.

The Wall Rose Invasion

Several cadets are assigned to a new Special Operations Squad to protect Eren and Historia. Eren experiments with Hange to see if he can plug the hole in Wall Maria with his "hardening" powers. He can't do that yet — or even become a full Titan when he transformed — but he's learning. 

Erwin Smith begins to talk about overthrowing the government with a military coup, and eventually is captured and interrogated. Before Erwin can be executed, Wall Rose is breached. Wall Sina closes their gates to the resulting refugees, although it's soon discovered that the whole breach was a test to see what the government would do. A military coup goes into effect. 

The Scout Regiment arrives in Shiganshina at dawn. Beast Titan Zeke traps them in Shiganshina and a battle commences between the Warriors and the Scout Regiment, including Eren, and it's a bloodbath. Eren and Mikasa are detained for assaulting their superiors. During a dream, Eren realizes the Titan who killed his mother was his father's first wife, Dina, and that fighting her is what gave him the Founding Titan, making him capable of controlling other Titans. Eren also learns about the Curse of Ymir, which severely limits the lifespans of any Titan carriers, and he comes to realize that he has just eight years left to live.

Fort Slava

Eren arranges for the Warriors to be busy so he can assume his Attack Titan form and take out the leaders of Marley's military. In Liberio, the Colossal Titan (Armin) takes out their navy as well. Eren eats a Warrior and becomes the War Hammer Titan while the Scouts retreat in a blimp. Eren is locked up on Paradis for his unauthorized assault, but he's freed by a new Restorationist movement called the Jeagerists, who poison the military with Titan spinal fluid, turning them into Pure Titans. Eren leads Shiganshina against the Warriors and Marley's airships.

Marley is now at war with the Mid-East Allied Forces and has lost half their navy, although they have developed anti-Titan artillery. A total of 32 Marleyan scouting ships are sent to Paradis, but none return.

After three years, in 854, the Warriors attack a fortress on the coast, Fort Slava. The Beast Titan drops paratroopers over the Fort, turning them into Titans as they fall. The Armored Titan destroys their artillery and the Beast Titan destroys the fleet, ending the war.

Eren and Historia must go on the run once again, as it turns out that Zeke plans on eating her. Zeke's powers include turning people into Titans and controlling them, and he wants her royal blood. Eren eventually abandons the Scouts and enlists as an Eldian soldier in Marleyan service. It's decided that the Titans are no longer enough to secure Marley's prominence, thanks to the world's overall technological developments. Therefore, the Founding Titan must be recaptured for their side.


The wealthy Tyburs offer support to the Paradis Island Operation and arrive ready to throw an ambassadorial festival. Willy Tybur is also working with a Marleyan named Magath, whose path to power is only blocked by Marley's military elite.

Willy announces that a play he'll be producing during the festival will answer everyone's questions about the threat of the Titans. In this process, he reveals the original history of the Great Titan War and marks Eren as a threat to world peace. Willy declares war on Paradis, which is when Eren becomes the Attack Titan and devours him. Eren then fights his wife, the powerful War Hammer Titan. 

While the Scout Regiment has a hard time against the Warriors, they eventually gain the upper hand when they use the Colossal Titan to destroy a docked Marleyan fleet. Eren defeats the Jaw Titan, using its power to crack open a crystalline pod and inherit the War Hammer Titan from its original Titan body. Eren gets ready to eat the Jaw Titan too, but the Armored Titan stops him. During their escape from Liberio, it is revealed that Zeke Jaeger has been on the side of the Paradis Eldians this whole time!

A Global Alliance forms to attack Paradis and Eren is imprisoned underground for insubordination, while Zeke and his Anti-Marleyan Volunteers are placed under house arrest.

The Jaegerists

A month later, Eren's capture has enraged the public. Eren uses his Titan powers to escape his cell, and his followers are released by their sympathetic jailers. 

Jaegerists take Survey Corps soldiers captive and demand to meet with Warrior Zeke, while Eren ends up taking his friends Mikasa and Armin hostage. Zeke tries turning the Scout Regiment into Titans, but Captain Levi kills all of these Titans and captures him. Zeke blows himself and Levi up, although only Levi is hurt.

The Jaegerists recruit from the Cadet Corps, then go looking for Zeke. Anybody infected with his spinal fluid is forced to wear a black armband. A fake Survey Corps soldier ambushes Eren while he interrogates another of the Warriors. She takes the team to the roof to expose the Marleyan infiltrators so the Jaw Titan can attack, who nearly devours Eren before he transforms.

Zeke and Eren eventually find themselves in the Paths, where the energies of the Titans reside, and Eren frees the original Ymir from her 2000-year imprisonment. The strange creature that gave her the Founding Titan bonds with Eren in the Paths, which somehow frees the Titans that make up the Walls themselves in what will be called the Rumbling.

The Rumbling

Eren walks the Wall Titans toward Marley, having gone fully mad after seeing Wall Maria destroyed, and prepares to destroy the Global Alliance. He has helpfully told all Eldians, using telepathy, that he's about to destroy the world to keep them safe.

The Eldians in Marley panic and try to warn the guards at the gate before being attacked by the Female Titan, who emerges from her crystal form. The Anti-Marleyan Volunteers, Zeke's true alliance, are restrained by Jaegerists once the Titans are put down again. Magath and Levi decide to team up against the Rumbling.

The Jaegerists celebrate in Trost and then head for Shiganshina just as the Rumbling heads towards the mainland. All of Eren's former friends and family team up with the new anti-Rumbling alliance. The Female Titan, Annie, asks if she's allowed to kill Eren when they find him, leading to conflict with Mikasa.

On the third day of the Rumbling, a new anti-Eren alliance attacks. Mikasa fights the Jaegerists and is named a traitor to Eldia. The alliance begins to fall apart as the Titans cause greater and greater chaos. The Global Alliance's fleet is destroyed as the Rumbling reaches Marley, and the world destruction begins.