I've written a blog like this before, but I've recently been mulling over a bunch of things, and feel like I can make a better, more complete blog with the ideas I currently have. Since I've written this before, I'll just be copying and pasting my intro from my last blog here:
So, I don't really have a grand way to introduce this, aside from a few disclaimers about it:
1: The purpose of this blog is not to spend a lot of time complaining and moaning about Attack on Titan's story. One poorly-thought-out arc aside, the series is still one of the better manga series currently in serialization.
2: I am very much aware of the fact that the story Isayama has delivered so far is probably a few leagues better than any sort of fanfiction I could possibly dream up (that one poorly-paced arc aside). The real purpose of this blog is just to throw out an idea for how the series could have gone, and see how others react to it.
I think there was some more stuff I planned to put in the intro, but I can't remember what they were. If I remember, I'll come back and replace this with what I wanted to say. :D Otherwise, let's jump right into this.
Oh yeah, and spoiler warning.
What to change
The first changes I would make to the series would come during the battle for Trost. First of all, I would change the scene where the Colossus Titan makes its reappearance, so that Samuel is not knocked out and severely injured by its steam. All of the trainees atop the wall manage to stop themselves from falling with their 3DMG, and all survive the experience without any trouble.
This change would allow for Samuel to appear in Eren's trainee squad at Trost, and take part in the initial fight with the rest of his trainees. When they enter the battle, it is Samuel who is eaten by the abnormal Titan that jumps at their squad, not Thomas Wagner, which causes Eren to lose control. Eren attacks and gets his leg bitten off like normal, and Mylius Zeramuski and Nac Tias are both eaten while trying to help him. Mina Carolina tries to help them, but Thomas holds her back, pointing out the large number of Titans that are already starting to be drawn by the commotion. The two of them try to get Armin to retreat with them, but he is catatonic, and they see that they will not be able to move him before the bearded Titan arrives, and are forced to leave him behind.
Franz's death scene would also be cut completely. He and Hannah will not be seen during the battle, but will be seen among the soldiers that listen to Pixis's speech before Eren plugs the hole in the wall.
Aside from this, the arc plays out almost entirely the same. Aside from a few exchanges between Thomas, Mina, and Mikasa (Thomas and Mina would be among the soldiers who have to raid the headquarters at Trost), nothing would be different. I think the Trost arc is the most concisely written, and would benefit the least of any arcs from being changed.
First (minor) change: the ceremony where the trainees pick which military branch they will join. In the lead up to the ceremony, it seems pretty clear that Thomas still intends to join the Survey Corps. He was inspired by Eren's speech before Trost, and seeing Eren return from death as an Intelligent Titan has only made him more confident that fighting the Titans is where he needs to be. Mina is still unsure. Franz seems to want to join the Survey Corps, but Hannah is terrified. During the ceremony, Thomas and Mina choose the Survey Corps, while Franz agrees to join the Garrison with Hannah.
The 57th Expedition Outside the Walls is almost exactly the same, only with scenes of how Thomas and Mina are handling it spliced in alongside the other 104th graduates.
The next change comes during the Assault on Stohess. Although the fight itself isn't changed, the meeting where the soldiers decide to suspect Annie is altered. During the meeting, Jean suggests letting a trustworthy member of the 104th know that the trainees are being investigated for traitors, so that someone inside the trainees, who has three years of trust built up with them, can also investigate. Jean nominates Thomas, as they knew each other while growing up in Trost, which Erwin agrees to. He sends Thomas (who I'm going to be referring to as "Thoma" in this blog to distinguish him from Thomas Wagner) to let Mike know.
Just like in the original story, Mike sends Thoma back to Erwin to report the Titans sighting. Thomas is placed in Gelgar's group with Reiner, Bertolt and Connie, and Mina goes with Nanaba's group. While Thomas is investigating Ragako with Gelgar's group, he begins to notice Reiner's suspicious behavior, taking special note of how he reacts to Connie's claim that the Titan in Ragako spoke to him.
The two groups meet up at Utgard like in the original story, and another major change comes with Thomas suspecting his fellow trainees of being traitors. He is now keeping his eye on Reiner, but also becomes suspicious of Ymir, especially after he overhears that she can read the strange writing in Utgard. He is, however, thrown off by Reiner's claims that he can't read the writing, and begins to think that Ymir is the only suspicious one among them.
All of the recruits survive the Utgard castle battle, and return to the top of Wall Rose with Hange's squad. There, everything plays out the same with exception of the soldier that Bertolt eats with Ymir being identified as Thoma (it doesn't really matter that Thoma dies, this is just outright confirmation that he's dead) and one of the unnamed soldiers in Hange's squad is given the name "Mobb" (because I intend to use him later).
The only difference in the mission to rescue Eren is Thomas and Mina's participation. Because he suspected Reiner and didn't say anything, Thomas feels guilty about everything that has happened, and is determined to get Eren back and make up for his mistake. Because of this, he gets reckless, and is among the casualties of the battle. Thomas Wagner is dead and gone.
Oh and Sasha dies in her little one-off chapter like Isayama originally intended. No matter how many different ways I rewrite the series, I'm never going to change that part.
Right hear, we immediately see a change in the members of the New Squad Levi: Mina replaces Sasha (who is dead at this point) and Dieter is also included as Levi's new second-in-command. It's always bothered me that there weren't any veterans in the new lineup, so now we've got Dieter here. Levi hand-picked Dieter himself partly as a way to help Dieter grow after his insubordination during the 57th expedition, and partly because he's noticed that Dieter has become much more respectful of him after their interaction on the mission.
The Uprising arc in this rewrite would follow more closely to the anime's version of events than the manga's, as I feel that that version of the story is more streamlined. Mobb (seen in the picture in the Clash section) would also be included among Hange's squad. He would accompany her and Moblit on their adventures with Flegel, sparing him from being killed by Kenny's goons.
During the attack on the Reiss chapel, Dieter and Mobb are also present. Dieter survives the fight, but Mobb is killed by Kenny during the battle. When Mikasa rushes ahead of everyone to attack Caven, Mobb will see Kenny arriving at the battle and sacrifice himself to push her out of the way of his gunshots, dying.
Dieter helps Moblit and Armin carry Hange out of the cavern while it collapses, and also takes part in the battle at Orvud.
I'm not going to go into every specific of the arc, but Dieter's growth as a soldier, and his role as a more emotionally open second-in-command to Squad Levi will be a small focus in the arc. While the squad is dissatisfied with Levi at times, Dieter remains confident in Levi's abilities, and often reassures his younger soldiers to trust him.
Franz and Hannah are among the Garrison soldier who decide to transfer to the Survey Corps to help take back Wall Maria. They join Floch in attempting to make conversation with Squad Levi, but are less arrogant than Floch is.
During the meeting with the new team leaders, Levi informs Klaus that he will be transferring Dieter to Klaus's team to help him with all of the new recruits in his squad. Levi has been impressed with how Dieter handled the recruits in Squad Levi, and thinks that Klaus would benefit greatly from having Dieter as an officer.
During the Battle of Shiganshina District, a major change that occurs is Connie's behavior. Seeing the Beast Titan who turned his family into Titans sends him into a rage, and he breaks rank to take part in killing Titans with teams Dirk and Marlene, despite Levi's orders for him to return to where the rest of the squad is posted. Connie intends on fighting his way to the Beast Titan, using Pure Titans to anchor his 3DMG (the same way Levi does in the original story), but is among the soldiers who are immediately cut down by Zeke's rocks. Levi manages to reach his corpse and remove his Thunder Spears.
Dieter survives the rocks with the other recruits, but does not join them in rushing Zeke head on. Instead, per Levi's orders, he takes Connie's Thunder Spears and returns to the other side of the wall to see how the soldiers fighting Reiner's Armored Titan are doing. He arrives just in time to see Mina get killed when Reiner smashes a house and hits her with the debris, and uses the opportunity to launch a sneak attack on Reiner, partly blowing open his mouth. Just like in the original story, Hange then arrives and finishes the job, with Mikasa finally blowing Reiner out of his Titan.
Franz and Hannah survive the Beast Titan's rock assault with Floch, and help him carry Erwin's body back to the rest of the soldiers.
Everything else is carried out the same. Franz and Hannah remain neutral in he debate over who to save, and Dieter sides with Levi and Hange in saving Erwin, though he does not question Levi for choosing to save Armin (although he is obviously unhappy).
With this, the survivors of Shiganshina are: Eren Yeager, Mikasa Ackerman, Armin Arlert, Jean Kirstein, Franz Kefka, Hannah Diamant, Levi Ackerman, Hange Zoë, Dieter, Floch Forster.
Since so much of this arc follows the Marley cast, not many changes are needed.
Hannah and Franz take Connie and Sasha's roles during the Liberio fight, setting up lights and shooting soldiers from afar.
The first major change is that it is Dieter, not Lobov who is killed by Gabi while guarding the airship. She then uses his 3DMG to board the blimp and kill Franz, who notices her arrive and acts as a shield for Hannah (who Gabi was aiming for). Hannah is just as (if not moreso) angry at Eren for Franz's death as Connie is in the original story.
Since Sasha is not around in this story, flashbacks reveal that Nicolo formed a bond with Dieter instead. Having experience acting as a babysitter for both Squad Levi and Squad Klaus, Dieter is one of the kinder soldiers to Nicolo during his captivity, acting as a mentor to him. Nicolo visits his grave, and there meets Sasha's parents and one of the children who have been living on their farm. It is revealed that Dieter had a younger sibling, and that they were both orphaned during the fall of Wall Maria. Dieter joined the military to earn money to support them, while the younger sibling stayed on settlements until he/she (the character's gender doesn't matter to me) eventually wound up on the Blouse farm after Historia Reiss became queen.
From there on, everything up to the current chapter would be roughly the same, including Falco and Gabi meeting Kaya, and the flashbacks to Sasha's death chapter. I figure it would tug on some reader's heartstrings to see how much the girl Sasha died to save has grown, and how much respect she has for Sasha. Plus, people would just be happy to see Sasha mentioned again.
That's about it. Maybe I'l make another one of these after the series has actually finished. If I did, it probably wouldn't be another huge rewrite, but just a continuation of what I already have here.
Thanks for reading.