|We only have one goal. To recover the Coordinate and put an end to this cursed history.|
|— Zeke Jaeger reminds his Warriors of their mission|
The Paradis Island Operation (パラディ島作戦 Paradi-tō Sakusen?), also known as the plan to retake the Founder (始祖奪還計画 Shiso dakkan keikaku?), was a long-term strategy undertaken by the Marleyan military and its Warriors to take the Founding Titan and eradicate the people of the Walls.
During the 830s, the nation of Marley had become aware of the diminishing power of the seven Titans obtained during the Great Titan War. In order to meet the coming need for technological progress, the authorities of Marley turned their attention to Paradis Island. However, the island was also home to the remnants of the former empire of Eldia, ruled by the Fritz family which possessed the Founding Titan, the greatest of all Titans.
At the closing of the Great Titan War, King Karl Fritz had made the ultimatum that if Marley made any move against the remnants of Eldia, the Founding Titan would be used to unleash the countless Colossal Titans which made up the three Walls surrounding Eldia's last territory. In order to avoid the ultimatum and a direct act of war, the military of Marley chose to begin a Warrior program in which low-class Eldian citizens within Marley would offer their children between the ages of 5 and 7 to the Marleyan military, where they would train until seven would be chosen to inherit the seven Titans in Marleyan possession.
Sometime later, several Eldians were chosen to inherit six of the seven Titans of Marley, the seventh remaining in the possession of the Tybur family. These six Warriors were Zeke Jaeger, Bertholdt Hoover, Reiner Braun, Annie Leonhart, Marcel Galliard, and Pieck. Out of the six, Zeke was chosen to become the Warchief of the Warriors. Annie, in particular, faced grueling combat training in her early childhood in preparation for the program, supervised by her father. However, before she departed on her mission, her father gave her his heartfelt apologies, assuring her that even if the world came to hate her, she would still have her father by her side. All that he asked of her is that she would promise to return home.
The Fall of Wall Maria
- Main article: Fall of Wall Maria (Anime)
In the year 845, Marley sent four of their Warriors to the Walls with the mission of wiping out its inhabitants, taking the Founding Titan from the royal family, and putting an end to the cursed history of the people of the Walls. The four sent were Bertholdt Hoover, the Colossal Titan who would destroy the outer gate of Shiganshina District; and Reiner Braun, the Armored Titan who would destroy the inner gate, as well as Annie Leonhart, the Female Titan, and Marcel Galliard, the Jaw Titan.
At some point before the breach, the Warriors came across a Titan who nearly caught and consumed Reiner. However, before he was caught, Marcel shoved him aside and was caught by the Titan in his place. Unable to save their friend, the Warriors fled the scene as Marcel was eaten and his power was passed to the Titan. After the Warriors had fled, the Titan's human form, a girl named Ymir, awoke for the first time in around sixty years with the power of the Jaw Titan. As Marcel was lost, Annie and Bertholdt decided to cancel the operation, but Reiner stopped them from returning and claimed that it would result in their deaths, and took on the role of the leader after a scuffle.
Upon arriving at Shiganshina, the southernmost district of the Walls, Bertholdt Hoover transformed into the Colossal Titan and broke through the south gate with a single kick. The Titans soon began to enter the city in large numbers, feasting on the citizens and soldiers within. The Armored Titan sneaked to the inner gate as the Eldians scrambled to evacuate the civilians. He then approached the northern gate, charging through and fully breaching Wall Maria. Reiner, Bertholdt and Annie then infiltrated the refugees as humans, blending in with the native inhabitants of the Walls.
Two years after their successful attack on Wall Maria, in the year 847, the Warriors enter the 104th Cadet Corps. During the training period, the three often discussed their progress and their plan, with Annie continually surveying for information in the interior. At the graduation, all of them earned ranks within the top ten of their Cadet Corps, likely due to the Warrior training they had before.
Struggle for Trost
- Main article: Struggle for Trost
In the year 850, Bertholdt Hoover transformed once again into the Colossal Titan outside of the southern gate of Trost District, successfully breaching Wall Rose. Eren Jaeger attempted to kill the Colossal Titan, but Bertholdt managed to escape successfully, using omni-directional mobility gear to flee the scene under the cover of his Titan's steam.
They brought their mission to a halt upon discovering a Titan openly fighting other Titans. Suspecting this Titan to be a human with the power of the Titans, Bertholdt, Reiner, and Annie followed their fellow cadets' plan to use the Titan against the other Titans while they gather the resources necessary to leave the district. When the Titan was found again afterward and collapses from exhaustion, the cadets discovered it to be Eren Jaeger, having miraculously survived being swallowed by a Titan due to his newfound powers. With this unexpected turn of events, the Warriors began to suspect that Eren might have somehow inherited the Founding Titan, a possibility which would greatly simplify their mission. They halted their plans, and the inner gate of Trost District was never attacked by Reiner throughout the remainder of the battle.
Capturing Eren Jaeger
When the time came for their graduation, Bertholdt and Reiner presumed that Eren was in possession of the Founding Titan. Thus, the two changed their plans and joined Eren's chosen military branch, the Scout Regiment; Annie joined the Military Police Regiment in the Interior. However, when the Scout Regiment embarked on the 57th expedition beyond the Walls, Annie invaded the expedition as the Female Titan in order to locate and capture Eren.
With Reiner's help, she nearly succeeded and managed to wipe out the Special Operations Squad, but she was foiled by Mikasa Ackermann and Levi Ackermann. Because she spared Armin Arlelt in the attack on the expedition, the Scout Regiment was able to figure out she was the Female Titan. A few days after the expedition, Annie battled with Eren in Stohess District and was ultimately caught by the Scout Regiment. However, she used her specialized crystallization abilities to conceal herself in an ultrahard layer of crystallized skin, preventing interrogation. Annie's comatose body was kept in the custody of the Scout Regiment, signalling the loss of the Female Titan.
On the same day as the battle within Stohess District, a new Warrior arrived within the Walls. Warchief Zeke Jaeger, an experienced and powerful Warrior of Marley, invaded Wall Rose. He turned the people of Ragako village into mindless Titans, perhaps in order to test humanity's strength, before leaving Wall Rose later that night. During the ensuing efforts of the Scout Regiment and Garrison to deal with the event, the Scout Regiment received family records from the chaos of five years ago and began to suspect that Reiner and Bertholdt were in league with Annie.
A day after the beginning of the Ragako event, Reiner revealed himself and Bertholdt to be the Armored and Colossal Titans respectively. Throwing all secrecy away, Reiner and Bertholdt battled with the Scout Regiment and captured Eren and Ymir, who they learned earlier was the Titan who ate Marcel. Over five hours later, a combined effort of all three military forces embarked on a rescue operation, and Eren was retrieved. In this battle, Eren seemingly unleashed the power of the Founding Titan upon Reiner and Bertholdt, confirming their worst fears. The Warriors fled with Ymir to Shiganshina District to recover and sent Ymir back to Marley, where her Jaw Titan's power was passed on to Porco Galliard, allowing Marley to regain one of its Titans.
The Battle of Shiganshina District
- Main article: Battle of Shiganshina District (Anime)
Two months after their arrival at Shiganshina, Zeke reunited with his Warriors. They expressed their desire to save Annie from the Scout Regiment, but Zeke prioritized the retrieval of the Coordinate. They lay in wait in Shiganshina for the Scout Regiment to arrive in search of Eren's basement, which was believed to hold secrets of the Titans. When the Scout Regiment arrived, a battle ensued between the soldiers and Zeke's Warriors. The Scouts, numbering over two hundred at the start of the battle, lost nearly all of its soldiers in the attack, though they succeeded in defeating Reiner and Bertholdt.
In the waning moments of the conflict, Pieck rescued Zeke from Levi, but left Bertholdt behind since Zeke was not prepared to face Levi so quickly again. Shortly after they abandoned Bertholdt, she managed to rescue Reiner from Hange Zoë and Jean Kirschtein. Bertholdt was then eaten alive by a revived Armin Arlelt after being administered the Titan injection, signaling Marley's loss of the Colossal Titan.
After their loss at the battle of Shiganshina District, the Warriors returned to Marley in defeat, having lost the Colossal and Female Titans to the Eldians of Paradis Island. These losses signaled a significant decline in the military influence of Marley, a weakness that did not go unnoticed by its neighboring countries. After receiving the news of Marley's losses, the Mid-East Allied Forces took the opportunity and declared war on Marley.
During the Marley Mid-East War, Marley sent 32 scouting ships to Paradis Island in an attempt to continue the operation, but none of them returned; this was due to the actions of both the Attack and Colossal Titans.
Four years later, even with Marley's victory in the war, the entire world became aware, especially after that the Armored Titan sustained heavy damages at the Battle at Fort Slava that the Power of the Titans is no longer invincible, and upon the suggestion of the War Chief Zeke Jaeger, the Marleyan military decided to refocus on the operation to retake the Founding Titan to gain full monopoly over Titan-based warfare and obtain the natural resources of the island, signaling the imminent restart of the full-scale operation against Paradis.
After a month after the end of the war, Willy Tybur holds a festival for the nations of the world, where he announces the recent usurping of the Founding Titan by Eren Jaeger. He then calls for the world nations to unite behind Marley in their renewed attempt to finish the operation, before officially declaring war on Paradis.