Season 3 of Attack on Titan blew the minds of its characters and its fans when it revealed that humanity had not gone extinct outside the Walls. In fact, humanity was thriving. While the Survey Corps had long since figured out that Reiner, Bertholdt and Annie had come from beyond the Walls, the first half of Season 4 of Attack on Titan revealed that three spies hail from the nation of Marley.
Paradis Island's discovery of Marley turned the entire series on its head. Marley is not only the primary antagonist for Season 4, but the neighboring country has been the cause of everyone's problems since the beginning of the series. But why is Marley so fixated on Paradis Island, why do they hate the people who live on it and who are Marley's key power players? Let's take a look.
What Is Marley's Origin and History?
Marley is one of the nations that suffered under Eldia's tyranny when the era of Titans first began 2,000 years ago. After conquering much of the world, Eldia began infighting over possession of the Nine Titans. Marley seized this opportunity to overthrow Eldia and used the chaos to begin stealing the power of the Nine. During the Great Titan War, Marley captured the Colossal, Beast, War Hammer, Armored, Female, Jaw and Cart Titans.
Marley then began conquering lands that had been previously taken by Eldia. At the end of the Great Titan War, King Fritz retreated with the Founding Titan to Paradis Island, officially surrendering and promising no further violence if his people were left alone. Marley used Eldia's absence to conquer vast portions of the world using the seven Titans they had stolen.
More recently in Attack on Titan, the weapon technology of other nations began to rival the power of Titans. Marley became vulnerable on the battlefield and began losing territory because they had relied on the power of Titans rather than develop advanced weapons. No longer the world's undisputed superpower, it was only a matter of time before Marley would be conquered.
Why Marley and Paradis Hate Each Other
The centuries-old feud between Eldians and Marleyans has reached the present day in Attack on Titan as the war between Marley and Paradis Island. Marleyans have always hated Eldians for the horrific crimes their ancestors committed when Eldia conquered the planet by drowning it in blood. After the Great Titan War, the Eldians that King Fritz didn't take with him to Paradis Island were placed into the Liberio Internment Zone inside Marley.
The Eldians who are contained in the internment zone are subject to bigotry and segregation by the Marleyans. As a result, the Eldian Restorationist Movement quietly began inside Liberio as the impoverished Eldians sought to destroy Marley. Only Eldians are capable of becoming Titans, so Marley must oppress them in order to coerce a select few into fighting on Marley's behalf in exchange for becoming honorary Marleyans.
The Eldians on Paradis Island had their memory of Marley erased by King Fritz, yet rediscover their hatred when they learn that the Colossal and Armored Titans' attacks were perpetrated by Marley. These attacks resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands as Marley sought to reclaim the Founding Titan in order to bolster their own military strength. The conflict between Paradis Island and Marley doesn't seem like it will end anytime soon after Eren's devastating sneak attack.
Marley's Key Figures: Zeke and the Warriors
Marley's Warrior Unit is made up of Eldian soldiers who have been hand-selected to inherit one of the Nine. One of the most prominent is Reiner Braun, the Armored Titan, and the longest-surviving antagonist in the series. Nearing the end of his term as the Armored Titan, Reiner is still wracked with guilt over his actions on Paradis Island. All he ever wanted was to become an Honorary Marleyan so that his family could live together.
After Annie Leonhart's capture and Bertholdt Hoover's death, Porco Galliard and Pieck Finger make up the remainder of Marley's Warrior unit. Porco is the younger brother of Marcel, who held the Jaw Titan and was eaten by Ymir before the Warriors reached the Walls. Having consumed Ymir himself, Porco now possesses the Jaw Titan. Pieck, the Cart Titan, became a Warrior so that her father could receive proper medical care. She holds no illusions regarding her place in Marley but doesn't believe Eren's actions will help Eldians in the long run, either.
Gabi Braun, Reiner's cousin, and Falco are aspiring Warriors who both hope to inherit the Armored Titan. Gabi, the clear favorite to be the next Armored Titan, is completely radicalized by Marleyan propaganda. She believes the Eldians on Paradis Island are "filthy devils" who deserve to die, while she herself is a "good Eldian" who will become a part of Marleyan society. Falco, on the other hand, only hopes to become the Armored Titan to prevent Gabi from inheriting it. He doesn't want her to suffer as Reiner has suffered before while cursed to die in 13 years.
The first born son of Grisha Jaeger, Zeke is the older half-brother of Eren Jaeger. Zeke was born in the Liberio Internment Zone, and his mother is Dina Fritz, a descendant of the royal bloodline. In order to inherit the Beast Titan, Zeke sold out his parents as Eldian Restorationists in order to earn Marley's trust. Zeke is not loyal to Marley, though, as his only goal is to free Eldians, both in Liberio and on Paradis Island.
Zeke sees how the world treats Eldians and how being an Eldian in Marley affected his father, concluding that Eldians would be better off not having existed in the first place. Once he fails to take the Founding Titan by force, he betrays Marley and joins forces with Eren to obtain the Founding Titan and enact Zeke's Euthanasia Plan together. Using the Founding Titan, Zeke intends to sterilize Eldians so that, unable to reproduce, they will simply die out.