Why an Attack On Titan: The Rumbling movie ending is not finishing the anime in 2023

Attack On Titan Season 4 Part 3 Anime Key Visual
An Attack On Titan movie ending the story has been rumored for years. Did Eren Yeager already know that wasn’t going to happen? Pic credit: Studio MAPPA

For years there were rumblings among anime news leakers that an Attack On Titan movie would finish adapting the story of the Shingeki no Kyojin manga series. There were episode guides released and confident predictions were touted as fact by the news headlines.

Some argued that the final movie would need to be split into a multi-part Attack On Titan: The Rumbling movie. After all, there are enough manga chapters left to adapt in the manga for a final movie to be almost three hours. Thus, some claimed the final movie would be titled Attack On Titan: Battle of Heaven and Earth, which is the title of manga Chapter 135.

Alas, none of these predictions turned out to be true.

Rather than an Attack On Titan: The Rumbling movie finishing the ending of the story, the finale of AoT Season 4 Part 2 revealed that the Attack On Titan Season 4 Part 3 release date was scheduled for 2023. That means the anime will pick up the story again in Attack On Titan Episode 88.

This Attack On Titan Season 4 Part 3 trailer teased a new key visual.

Attack On Titan: The Final Season Part 3 should be shorter than usual

The number of episodes for Attack On Titan: The Final Season Part 3 was not initially announced, but it should be a short cour.

What’s a “cour,” you might ask? For those unfamiliar with the lingo, a “cour” is a three-month block of TV broadcasting based on the physical seasons usually composed of 10 to 13 episodes.

Part 1 was 16 episodes, while Part 2 only had 12 episodes. Since Episode 87 adapted the previously skipped Chapter 123: Island Devils and Chapter 130: The Dawn of Humanity, there are 9 manga chapters left to adapt. That’s enough content for the anime to be at least two to three hours of runtime, which means Part 3 could have around 9 episodes in total at max.

Attack On Titan movie ending was rumored for over a year based on the violent final story arc

To some who followed all the latest news and rumors, this announcement of a final, final season might have come as a surprise. Some really were expecting the announcement of an Attack On Titan: The Rumbling movie that picked up the story in manga Volume 33: Chapter 131, which is also titled The Rumbling.

Some believed that the anime production committee (which includes Studio MAPPA) would want to replicate the crazy box office success of the Demon Slayer: Mugen Train movie and the Jujutsu Kaisen 0 movie. Based on this belief, some speculated that the Attack On Titan movie release date would be in November-December 2022 or May-July 2023 since those date ranges are typically considered the best timing for a tentpole film to have a chance at being a blockbuster premiere whereas January and February are considered the “dump months” for bad movies.

Jaymes Hanson
Some Twitter followers of anime news leaker Jaymes Hanson unfairly criticized him for how he discussed the earlier Attack On Titan movie leaks. Pic credit: Twitter/JaymesHanson

The day before the official announcement of Attack On Titan: The Final Season 3 Part 3, uncertainty had spawned many rumors and rampant speculation. In the past, Alter DAC correctly leaked the number of episodes for Part 1 (while still being wrong about the stopping point). So it was a bit odd when he was tweeting rumors about the final TV sequel being 3 OAD episodes with a runtime of 1 hour each while still also teasing followers about a movie sequel.

At least one anime news leaker was correctly claiming that the anime series would be concluded with an Attack On Titan Season 4 Part 3 release date in 2023. The leaker even got the detail correct that the key visual would depict the Alliance in the footsteps of The Rumbling as the promotional visual.

The Rumbling music video by SiM.

But even way back in 2020 many anime news leakers felt that an Attack On Titan movie ending was necessary. For example, Alter DAC directly claimed at the time that an Attack On Titan movie ending the series is necessary due to the violent content of the final story arc.

“Public broadcasters have some strict regulations in Japan. And considering how explicitly violent the last arc is, it’s not very likely that the anime sequel will be in TV format,” he tweeted.

Does that mean the actual Part 3 of the TV series will be censored heavily? Keep in mind that certain scenes of extreme violence can be censored for the Japanese TV broadcast and then shown in the eventual Blu-Ray release. Streaming platforms like Crunchyroll also do not need to censor, although they often do for certain series like Redo of Healer.

Although some of these rumors and predictions were logical, the wide-open nape on the 800-ton titan in the room was the fact that the anime’s pacing in Part 2 ended at a point where an Attack On Titan movie ending seemed very unlikely. With nine whole chapters left to adapt, a movie ending would have meant finishing with a 3-hour runtime Attack On Titan movie… or, a two-part film.

That’s hardly optimal from a storytelling perspective. There are not many good breaks in the final story arc and even Part 2 left audiences on a cliffhanger.

Arguably, a movie ending would have been a better fit if Episode 87 had corresponded to Chapter 133: Sinners since adapting only six remaining chapters would have resulted in a 2-hour movie. That chapter would have been a good stopping point for a TV series since the next manga chapter has the Marley military beginning its final stand against the advancing Wall Titans as the Rumbling has caught up with them.

A secondary issue is that a movie would have been released in Japan first and then international audiences would have waited for months. While manga spoilers already exist, it’s very likely that many English-speaking anime fans would have had the anime’s ending spoiled for them.

In any case, let’s just hope that Attack On Titan: The Final Season Part 3 does the manga’s conclusion justice. Stay tuned!

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