WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the Attack on Titan manga by Hajime Isayama, Dezi Sienty and Alex Ko Ransom, available in English from Kodansha.
Over a decade since it began publication, the Attack on Titan manga is just days away from its grand finale, Chapter #139. The final arc has revolved around a desperate battle for humanity's future, drawing formers enemies together against a common one: Eren Jeager, previously the saga's main hero. Until the last couple of chapters, Eren was in the midst of using the Founding Titan's full power to crush the world beyond Paradis Island to dust. While he claimed he was doing it so that his loved ones could live in peace, free from others' hatred and fear, those same loved ones have put a stop to his misguided, genocidal rampage.
With the overarching story a handful of pages away from the end, here are the most important questions for Attack on Titan's final chapter to answer.
Is Eren Actually Dead... For Real This Time?
Shonen heroes are infamous for their invulnerability, whether through necessiative 'plot armor' or their own inhuman abilities. Eren Jeager can certainly count himself among the likes of Dragon Ball's Goku and Bleach's Ichigo Kurasaki as being one of the genre's most unkillable, having survived two decapitations at the point. His third was just delivered by Mikasa at the end of the penultimate chapter. After Levi's Thunder Spear cracked a hole in Eren's Titan mouth, the former Scout's adopted sister flew inside and severed Eren's head from the creature's spinal cord, issuing him a farewell kiss in the process.
Though the finality of this moment is unmistakable -- the double-page spread, Ymir's smiling acceptance in the background and the cruel twist of fate that Eren and Mikasa's first kiss is likely their last -- readers are still suspicious of it. Given Eren's aforementioned history of cheating certain death, it's understandable. If the series' lead protagonist really is dead, the final chapter needs to make it crystal clear to assuage this lingering doubt.
Does Eren Really Hate Mikasa & Armin?
So much time has passed since it happened, it might surprise some Attack on Titan fans to remember that the last time our central trio were together was the explosive "I've always hated you" conversation. On the eve of Marley and Paradis' all-out war, Eren met Armin and Mikasa in Nicolo's restaurant and delivered some horrible (supposed) truths about the nature of Titans and the Ackerman bloodline. And with cold conviction, he told his childhood friends that they were the thing he hated most in this world: slaves.
The result was tears from Mikasa, some failed punches from Armin, and chapters and chapters' worth of the duo questioning whether or not Eren really meant what he said. While his claims about Mikasa's feelings for him have been largely debunked, and most fans have assumed that Eren was simply trying to push his friends away to lessen their collective burdens in the coming war, we've never gotten proper confirmation of this from him. Now that Eren is likely gone for good, the answer might be something he takes to his grave -- but you never know, maybe Isayama will toss us a bone, for once.
Can Eldians Be 'Cured' of the Titan Curse?
Something the final chapter of Attack on Titan definitely can -- and should -- answer concerns the future of the Eldian race. Chiefly, can the bloodline of the Subjects of Ymir be separated from their genetic curse? With the shocking origin of the Titans revealed to be biological, and that source now out in the open, those left on the battlefield have the first, tangible chance in human history to eradicate Titans for good.
Cutting off the symbolic head to nullify the body is a cliché in fantasy stories, but it would make literal sense here. The shining centipede that has been extracted from the Founding Titan has proven capable of manipulating the makeup of its progeny: all living Eldians. Destroying it should mean that all those born with the potential to become Titans can never again have that potential activated. Hopefully, it'll also de-transform the likes of Jean, Connie and Gabi, but that might be too optimistic.
Who Is the REAL Father of Historia's Baby?
In something of a soap opera twist, there's enough subtle but discernable evidence to support the theory that Eren is the father of Historia's newborn baby. On Zeke's orders, Queen Historia was relegated to an heir-making role until she was able to inherit the Beast Titan from him. She found a husband and became pregnant but through flashbacks in subsequent chapters, doubt was thrown on this unnamed man being its real father.
In one conversation before her pregnancy, Eren visits Historia and asks her what she thinks about him having a child. The cutaway from this scene leaves a lot of room for interpretation about what happened next. Eren and Historia already have a sort of survivors' bond; that, combined with her royal blood and the knowledge that his task ahead would probably doom his already short life as a Shifter, could easily have led to the two of them deciding to have a child together. The final chapter could either nip this idea in the bud or prove to fans they were right all along.
Seriously, What ARE Titans?
Zeke's 'storytime' opening in Chapter #137 provided the most solid explanation for the Titans' existence yet. This was then unequivocally proven by the Eldian/Marleyan alliance successfully separating Eren's Titan body from his head, forcing the strange, parasitic creature nestled in his spine into view. According to Zeke's narration, this centipede-like being is what bonded with Ymir centuries ago to turn her into the first Titan.
What we don't know is what this being is, how it works and why it chose to turn an entire race of humans into hybridized mutants. There's long been wild speculation that Titans were human experiments gone wrong, creating Attack on Titan's post-apocalyptic world (something the live-action films explored), or extra-terrestrial. Though the creature was pictured on Earth's ocean floor, the chapter this origin appears in begins in space, which could vaguely hint at an alien birthplace. This might explain the mixture of science and apparent supernaturalism it controls Titans with. Latching onto a human host (Ymir) could further be explained as an evolutionary impulse.
These mysteries are bound to be far too big for a single chapter to answer, but perhaps once the centipede is dead, there will be a little time for a post-mortem examination.
What Will Happen to Ymir?
Despite being physically dead for the past 2,000 years, Ymir Fritz has been omnipresent throughout Attack on Titan's story, both mythologically and metaphysically. Once Zeke and Eren made it to the Path, they found what seemed to be a corporeal manifestation of her soul -- trapped by the Fritz family's enslavement, even in death. Once Eren broke that hold on her, unleashing the Founding Titan's full powers as a result, the line between their conjoined wills became indecipherable.
While the alliance battled to stop Eren on top of his Founding Titan body, Ymir, independent of Eren, conspired to stop them by summoning all past Shifter holders to Eren's defense. She very nearly killed Armin in the process. Once Mikasa finally reaches Eren at the end of Chapter #138, however, Ymir observes the turn of events with a smile. Ymir was convinced to help Eren (over Zeke) because he promised to liberate and allow her to seek the same vengeance he wanted. Now that Eren has been stopped and the source of all Titans is hopefully about to die, will Ymir finally die, too? As the first Titan, and also the first victim of Titans, in a manner of speaking, perhaps her smile -- after hundreds of years of silent blankness -- will have been the last we ever see of her. Only the final chapter will confirm this for certain.
Attack on Titan Chapter #139 will be released on April 9.