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What Could Have Been / Neon Genesis Evangelion

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The Neon Genesis Evangelion Proposal, a rough outline of the series, was created in 1993 (two years before the show began airing on TV) for promotional purposes. Numerous changes would be made between the Proposal and the final product as shown below:

  • There are a total of 28 Angels; the document uses the same Japanese word as in the series but also includes "Apostolo" in katakana. In order to get the extra twelve/thirteen out of the way quicker, the twelve strongest ones were supposed to have attacked all at once during the finale, completely erasing America from the map.
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  • The Evas look slightly different. Units 05 and 06 are specifically mentioned; Unit 05 was to have been brought into Japan after Zeruel while Unit 06 would've perished during the finale. While not making it into the series, these Evas were recycled for the Rebuild movies as the personal Units of Mari and Kaworu respectively.
  • Ritsuko is a fan of bonsai and punk rock, of all things.
  • Hyuga, Ibuki and Aoba aren't present and SEELE isn't mentioned. There is however mention of a character named Conrad Lawrence; based on the description of him being an old man who set up NERV and put his later nemesis Gendo into position, he might've been the earliest draft of Lorenz Keel.
  • Sketchy descriptions of the final episodes taking place differently: after Rei's secrets are revealed, the twelve strongest Angels descend from the Moon and completely annihilate America, destroying Unit 06 in the process and plunging humanity into mass panic. The UN decides they have nothing to lose and aborts the Human Instrumentality Project over Gendo's protests, resolving to go down fighting instead. A cryptic mention of "the ruins of Arka, the Promised Land" (located in the Geofront) being a key objective.
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  • Kaworu mentioned without name as a child with a cat. To those who have read the manga, this sounds even weirder. According to interviews with Anno the cat would have made it into the final product had it not been for budget-constrains. The same interviews also reveal that they had at one point considered introducing Kaworu earlier than they eventually did and that Shinji first would have found him playing an abandoned piano in some ruined house; this was incorporated into the manga adaptation, while piano-playing would also be a key character trait in the Rebuild films.
  • Arael was supposed to have engaged the Evas in close aerial combat instead of Mind Rape, using some sort of vibroweapon on its wingtips. The Evas themselves would've been equipped with flight harnesses in order to fight the Angel. These plot elements both found their way into the third Rebuild movie.
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  • Shinji was supposed to have received the Mind Rape (from an Angel unrelated to Arael), not Asuka.
  • And Shinji realized Asuka was in love with him rather than remaining oblivious to her hints.
  • Dub-related: According to the commentary, Amanda Winn-Lee originally wanted to try out for the role of Misato, before Allison Keith's performance changed her mind.
  • Robin Williams, famous comic/actor and a big fan of Evangelion, is said to have tried out for the role of Gendo Ikari for the English dub of the Rebuild movies.
  • Kaworu was originally going to be a transfer student at the kids' school, rather than the newest Evangelion pilot. This was changed after Hideaki Anno realized that the school setting had more or less been written out of the show by the time episode 24 came around.
  • What would the later episodes have been if they had had the money? What is clear is that End of Evangelion was basically an expanded version of what was originally scripted for the final two episodes, hence the film being split into two parts. Had Gainax's budget not been shot, the finale would have just been a shorter version of the movie (albeit with less violent and sexual imagery.)
  • Rei was initially supposed to die during the battle with Zeruel in the second Rebuild of Evangelion movie. However, screenwriter Yoji Enokido argued that she should survive this time around.
    • Ironically, the director of the films, who really wanted to develop the third Rei, was pissed off at this and managed to overturn the decision in the third movie, where it's revealed that Rei wasn't rescued after all and now Rei III has replaced her.
    • Another scrapped plan for the second movie would've had Asuka and Mari piloting Eva Unit 02 together during the battle with Zeruel. In the final film Mari pilots it by herself since Asuka is hospitalized, though storyboards of the original idea can be seen on the DVD extras.
    • Yet another abandoned idea would've shown Bardiel's mental attack on Asuka in greater detail. At one point Asuka would hallucinate her own face being ripped off, only for it to begin mocking her. Like the above scene, storyboards for the sequence can be found on the DVD release.
    • Almost nothing of the preview for Rebuild 3.0 made it into the actual film, which makes one wonder what they were planning originally.
  • Shinji was supposed to be a girl but they changed her into being a boy because GunBuster and Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water both had female protagonists.
    • Shinji was supposed to have longer hair that would wave in the wind and that he could hide behind during dramatic scenes. They cut his hair because he looked too feminine and too messy.
  • The plug suits would look closer to the classic space suit look, Rei was initially dubbed Yui Ichijo, had black hair, got along better with Asuka and was friendlier and less the Rei Ayanami Expy we know today.
  • Initially the final line of The End of Evangelion was going to be "I won't let you kill me" rather than the infamous "I feel sick". (The original script for Episode 26 had the line be proceeded by a trademark "baka!"/"idiot!", but it was removed from EoE's storyboard). According to Yuko Miyamura (Asuka's voice actor) Anno couldn't make her say it how he wanted it to sound, eventually he instead described the masturbation scene to her from Asuka's perspective and had asked how she would react if it happened to her, which led to the current line.
  • The leaked original script for episode 25 and 26 (which was used for The End of Evangelion) featured two different proposed epilogues, neither of which corresponded completely with the one in film: The first one (Last A) is the closest to the final one, but lacked the Book-Ends Lilith/Rei, had the cast's names on the graves Shinji raised, showed Asuka kicking down hers (it is still shown to have been toppled in the final film after she returns from Instrumentality) and has the original version of the final line (see above). The second one (Last B) however was much bleaker than the final film. It starts with Shinji laying on the beach holding Rei's hand before Shinji turn his head to see the Book-Ends Lilith/Rei. The camera then pans out to show that Shinji is only clutching the arm Rei lost earlier. His monologue then reveals that he was the only human self-reflective enough to ever return from Instrumentality, meaning he will be spending the rest of his life alone after finally finding the will to live with other people. After the credits starts both would have shown scenes revealing that Unit-01 had ended up on the moon, its/her helmet broken and revealing woman's hair.
  • Published drafts for episode 24, as well as the previously mentioned ones for episode 25+26/EoE, shows that there had been plans to include a minor sub-plot about different characters visiting Toji in the hospital that eventually was cut.

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