What if the Rebuild films actually take place within a reality constructed by Shinji during Instrumentality?
Certainly this idea has been brought up in some fashion during the many years of discussion these films have had, but here's a basic summary of what I'm thinking: Shinji's goal is to redo his life and find happiness without having so many things get fucked up in the process. So he is building, and "rebuilding", over and over again, changing a few aspects each time, trying to create the perfect reality for himself -- only to destroy it in the end and have to start all over again, a la the loop theory (the sandbox scene in EoE would be a pretty good metaphor for this, actually; I guess it helps that it was referenced in 2.22 as well).
To clarify, this is not a situation where it's simply "all in his head" or anything. Other people are not just images or ideas; they are true individuals, with a soul and consciousness and a will of their own; however their identities have been been altered or "tweaked" by Shinji in this way and that. I figure this would be the case seeing as everyone's souls are collected during Instrumentality anyways, so it's only logical they'd be part of the new reality that Shinji creates. Of course, virtually no-one is aware of this, Shinji included (of his own volition, presumably). Kaworu (Adam) is -- which may explain his motives in Q as well as his many cryptic lines -- and “quantum” Rei (Lilith) is. Everybody else is not. Meaning, also, that Shinji either has no control over reality -- save for when he is first rebuilding/creating it --or he has some type of unknowing control over it.
I could divulge further into my thought process with this, sharing all the evidence and whatnot, but before any of that I honestly just want to hear what people think about the idea itself, (and possibly know if its inception lies elsewhere). I'm well aware of the type of reputation sequel theories have here, so I'm particularly interested to hear what type of reception (if any) this idea receives.
And oh yeah -- I didn't really explicitly mention it, but this would technically be qualified as a sequel theory, since Instrumentality takes place during EoE. On that note, though: