Evangelion 4.0 may be the title that some anime fans were expecting for the end of the Evangelion rebuild movie series. Instead, fans of the Neon Genesis Evangelion movie series will finally be treated (maybe) to watching the ending in 2020 with the oddly titled Evangelion 3.0 + 1.0 (Shin Evangelion Gekijoban).
Why a maybe? This isn’t the first rodeo for anime fans since the Evangelion 3.0 + 1.0 release date was originally slated for 2015.
The delay has been so long that anime fans joke about it coming out before Spice And Wolf Season 3, No Game No Life Season 2, and other oft-desired sequels. Others joke that the real name for the movie should be Evangelion 4.0 You Will (not) Release. (And, yes, the title of this article is partially a joke.)
At one time, the release schedule for the Evangelion rebuild series started off at a brisk pace, with the first two films, Evangelion 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone and Evangelion 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance, releasing in 2007 and 2009, respectively. But then Studio Khara began to suffer from production issues and Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo (or Evangelion 3.33) was delayed until 2012.
The first two films were pretty much a straight recap of the TV series’ first episodes whereas Evangelion 3.0 kept the same characters, EVA Units, and Angels but changed everything else. Without getting into major spoilers, the third film took place 14 years after Evangelion 2.22. Shinji wakes up from suspended animation only to discover that everyone hates his guts for a very good reason.
Of course, there is a war going on which requires giant robots to resolve. So, the third film likely took longer to complete since it took the story in a different direction in comparison to the original anime series.
The end of Evangelion was originally announced alongside Eva 3.0 with working titles like Evangelion 4.0 and Evangelion: Final.
Unfortunately, director Hideaki Anno infamously fell into depression to the point that he could not bring himself to visit the anime studio for the entire calendar year of 2013. It was so bad that he spoke of only being able to “remain in this world” thanks to his wife and close friends.
“After [Eva 3.0] was released, I was broken. I fell into what’s called a depressed state, the natural result of having spent six years grinding down my soul making Eva again,” Anno explained on a message posted to the official website for the Neon Genesis Evangelion series.
In 2013, studio Toho approached Anno with the prospect of helming up the Shin Godzilla movie and managed to entice the director into living life again. After that project was finished, production of Evangelion 3.0 + 1.0 officially began in earnest in 2016. By April 2017, Studio Khara was tweeting out that they were “working diligently” on the project and then in May 2018 they were hiring animation staff with plans to start working in June.
— 株式会社カラー (@khara_inc) July 30, 2017
The final and fourth Evangelion movie was recently announced in movie theaters across Japan to be releasing in 2020. Unfortunately, an online Evangelion 3.0 + 1.0 trailer video didn’t come with the announcement package, nor was an international release with an Evangelion English dub announced, but it certainly seems like the 2020 release date is likely to happen.