Theory: Mystery Man IS Eren
I know I’m not really the type to post Attack on Titan theories but I just can’t help myself with this one because I am 99.9999999% sure the “mystery man” we see in chapter 93 and 94 has to be EREN. The only reason why I’m not 100% sure is because I’m keeping in mind that there’s a chance Isayama might just pull a “here’s a new important character!” move, which honestly doesn’t make sense in this case for so many reasons… but you never know, right?
So with the latest chapter out, I knew that Isayama was going to bring this guy up again. Of course, I was hoping that the identity of this man would’ve been revealed already but it looks like he’s purposely keeping the identity secret to keep us readers on edge.
Now for those of you who wonder why I am so confident that this is Eren, I can first state the obvious point:
1. Appearance: Considering that there has been a three year time skip, it would be realistic to assume that Eren has grown out his hair even more by now. Aside from that, chapter 90 heavily implied that there was going to be a great change to Eren’s character. His tired eyes and lengthy hair was not only meant to be symbolic of his mental state, but also a new direction to his character.
I know quite a few people have already made these panel comparisons, but it’s important to keep in mind that in this panel above, the mysterious person is spying on Reiner (I will get into more detail about the importance of this later).
Now I know this one seems a bit of a stretch, because I’m going into the nitty gritty details but bear with me for a minute. We know that Isayama gives distinct facial features despite his inconsistencies (although that’s because he has improved on his art), and since we aren’t given much of the mystery man’s face to look at, I figured we can pay attention to his nose. So we know that Eren has grown out his hair since chapter 90, but we can also see here that the man’s nose shape looks very similar to Eren’s (scroll up to compare with the first panel of Eren). It’s not crooked, curved, or super round. It has just that shape that would fit within Eren’s facial profile. Had there been any other character with this hairstyle or someone who could possibly have grown this hairstyle as well, I wouldn’t have pointed this detail out because there are of course other characters with this similar nose shape. The mere fact that Isayama is only giving so little for us to look at makes me think he had to leave out some sort of hint, right? In fact, he could have completely cut out the mystery man’s face so that we only see his hair and then Falco’s face.
Aside from the nose, it’s hard to tell the eye shape but I can say that it appears to be a bigger eye (which Eren has) if you look at the distance from the eyebrow.
Furthermore, if you look closely at the man’s hair scalp area, it is in the same position as Eren’s is. The hair separates in the middle. The fact that this detail is added in this panel above further points out a clue as to who this person could be.
Also, side note but if this does end up being Eren then it seems that the guy has grown a bit of a stub (which honestly makes me so excited for some reason??? lol)
I also need to stress that if this were a “new” or “unknown” character, why would Isayama go through the effort of hiding the man’s face and showing as little as possible? Clearly this is someone we know and considering that he reappears in this chapter means this guy isn’t just some random dude we should feel sorry for, or??
Lastly, I just want to briefly point out that the armband being misplaced implies that this person clearly isn’t familiar with this environment, which is why most of us can at least agree that this is a spy.
2. Eren likes to “act” before he goes in for the kill:
I would like to remind you guys the times Eren has tried to “trick” his enemies by playing innocent before attacking them. Here are some examples:
I think these parallels are important to point out because they show an aspect of Eren’s character, that being that he likes to deceive his enemies (although in a bit of a childish way). For Eren to play as an injured soldier seems very fitting to his character. Of course, I get that he’s a spy and has to “fit in” with the crowd, but he could’ve skipped the effort of cutting his own leg off, right?? Well, I would say that Eren wants to portray himself as weak and vulnerable because that brings less suspicion. I doubt that the Marley soldiers are going to pick on a guy missing a leg, and through this Eren can easily win their sympathy as he did when he tried to rescue Mikasa from the kidnappers.
3. The mystery man was spying on Reiner:
If you were to ask yourself who Eren would look for if he were to spy on the Marley, wouldn’t the best candidate be Reiner? I mean, if this spy really isn’t Eren, why pay particular attention to Reiner out of all people?? It could have been someone on a much higher position if we’re talking about getting secret information. The fact that this man was watching Reiner heavily implies that he knows who Reiner is, and is using him to find the others. Sure, he could also have gone for Zeke since he has seen the guy before, but I’m sure Eren holds a bigger grudge against Reiner for the moment (he also only saw Zeke for a brief moment so there’s that too). That being said, I have a feeling that this foreshadows a reunion between Reiner and Eren. I wouldn’t be surprised if Eren still wanted to get rid of Reiner first before making any other move. This would make more sense as to why he would choose to spy on Reiner more.
EDIT 4. Eren being the spy fits with the narrative:
@featherpoet made a pretty good point about this so I’m just going to simply quote what they said:
“Since we’ve passed over to the Marley PoV, we’ve seen sooooo many parallels between the characters that grew up there and the ones we knew from Paradis. Gabi -> Eren, Reiner -> Armin, etc. So, it makes narrative sense that the infiltrator would also fit into some sort of mirrored position, since that’s the kind of story that Isayama is telling.
Eren Jaeger is named after Eren Kruger. You know. The spy who informed on the Marley and had a premonition about Mikasa and Armin. It makes soooo much sense that the second Eren would also sneak into the Marley camp. Like, the narrative framing is just too good to pass up. No other character could fit that well.”
EDIT 5. There are parallels seen between Reiner and Eren in the chapter:
@lady-bluebird-luv makes a case pointing out the similarities the two characters have, and I think this only strengthens my prediction that we’re going to see Eren take the role that Reiner had when he was infiltrating Paradis Island. To quote:
“Both of them have come face-to-face with what they consider to be monsters. We also learn in this chapter that Reiner’s father is Marleyian, and his mother is Eldian. Eren’s parents are both Eldians, but his mother is a Walldian while his father is from outside of the walls. In fact, both Eren and Reiner have fathers from the other side of the walls. for Reiner, it’s the wall between the true Marleyians and the Eldians. For Eren, it’s the wall between Paradise and the rest of the world. In a sense, they’re both hybrids.”
With the previous chapter where we had the mystery guy watching Reiner, I think this parallel we’re seeing only further strengthens my theory that that person is definitely Eren. It’s almost symbolic when you think about it because if this person is Eren, then there might be an implication that Eren might want to take away everything Reiner cherishes (hence making that panel feel more eerie because the danger is literally behind his back). Think about it, we see Reiner in that moment trying to guide the kids away from a place that he considers to be too dangerous, and coincidentally but not coincidentally we see that mystery guy in that direction. Now do I think Eren would do something that cruel? Well, considering the parallels we’re seeing now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Eren doing it for sake of making Reiner feel the same pain as he did when he lost his mother.
Now I’ve noticed there are certain claims that have made people skeptical about this person being Eren, and there are a few I would like to argue against:
1. It’s too obvious!!
Okay, first of all, this isn’t the first time Isayama has been “obvious” in regards to the mysteries of AoT. Remember the Female Titan? It was pretty obvious that while all the characters were trying to figure out the identity, most of us knew it was Annie with all the screaming hints we were given. It’s true that sometimes Isayama likes to give as few hints as possible so that the reader doesn’t figure out too much but I think in this case Isayama wants to warn the reader that this person is someone we should watch closely rather than wonder who the hell this person could possibly be.
2. Why would the Survey Corps take such a risk with Eren??
My guess is that either this is actually part of the Survey Corps plan OR Eren decided to run off on his own due to disagreements. Besides, the Survey Corps HAS made risky decisions before. They always have, and it’s not sure whether Eren is the only spy right now. However, I’m gonna go with the latter because it really does make sense that Eren would go on an independent mission. Let’s refer to chapter 45, shall we?
Remember these pages? It’s pretty telling that this is a foreshadowing of what’s to come for Eren. So to say that Eren would be rash enough to charge against an entire country on his own isn’t too crazy to believe. This is exactly what the reader should expect Eren to do. It was him after all who brought up the idea of killing the enemies on the other side. When Eren has a new goal, he’ll charge after it even if everyone else disagrees with him.
3. Eren wouldn’t be stupid enough to wear the armband on the wrong side!
Ummmm… yes he would actually?? A hot-headed, emotional, acts-first-thinks-later-type-of-guy would do just that??? Sounds like the Eren I know, at least. This isn’t Armin we’re talking about here, you know?? I highly doubt Eren would pay attention to such a small detail. This is the guy who denied all the evidence that Annie was the Female Titan, despite how obvious it was (although be it that his emotions clouded his judgement). He’s never been the guy to come up with a brilliant plan, and I think we can all agree on that. Consider the fact that this guy likes to “look at the bigger picture”, I don’t think you should be surprised that he made such a simple mistake.
4. The mystery man has limbs cut off! Shouldn’t they have regenerated??
I know others have already explained this one, but I’d like to point out anyway that Reiner managed to control his bitten arm from healing. In this case, it’s very possible that Eren is doing the same and must’ve trained himself to hold back from healing. No need for further explanation.
5. It could be Jean since he has disguised himself as Eren before!
Okay, this one really doesn’t make any sense, considering that if this is true then the Survery Corps are allowing a man with a missing leg to for some reason disguise as Eren with longer hair which NO ONE from the Marley side (Reiner and Zeke) remember him having??? I mean, I highly doubt Jean became a Titan shifter unless he ate Annie which just makes my brain hurt because this theory just doesn’t add up whatsoever lol. Sorry, but I just don’t see a severely injured Jean to follow a plan like this.
6. Reiner and Zeke would recognise Eren if they saw him!
Actually, no I don’t think they would. Not at first glance, at least. With longer hair, a stub, and a missing leg, one could easily overlook Eren as just another injured soldier. Keep in mind that having longer hair makes it easier to hide his face from others. Eren’s change in his appearance makes all the more sense for him to go undercover.
7. How are the Survey Corps going to defend themselves if Eren is gone?
I think after the multiple ships sent to Paradis Island that ended up disappearing, I don’t think the Marley are stupid enough to continue sending more. After all, Zeke did mention that they needed a “proper” plan to retrieve the Titan powers. Also, they still have Armin, and maybe even Annie I mean ffs she better not still be in that crystal after all this time lol. I’m sure they are not completely helpless without Eren’s power.
8. How would Eren not be spotted when coming over to the Marley side?
Well, considering that we know this mysterious guy is all injured, it’s very possible that Eren used this injury to disguise himself as a soldier who was part of the 4 year war. Did he use a small boat to come over? Or did he hijack one of the ships that tried to invade Paradis Island? If he did the latter, then it would have been reported being seen arrive back. My guess is he used one of the Marley soldiers to help him navigate through Marley territory without being spotted. It’s very possible that he still used one of the ships that invaded Paradis Island but found a way to sink it before being seen (he is a Titan shifter so I’ll leave the rest to your imagination). Hell, maybe he even managed to find himself in the middle of a battle before the war ended and that’s how he came up with the idea of injuring himself so it could look like he was on the battlefield.
So those are my opinions on the Mystery Man as of now. I’m sure I’ve probably forgotten to add some other important points so I’ll be sure to do so if I feel the need to. Feel free to agree or disagree. I’d love to hear what other thoughts people have but for now I am definitely leaning towards this guy being Eren. All the clues seem to point to him.