Part One: Seeing Rebuild as a Rebuild
But taking a look at initial statements made on the pre-production of the series and the extensive production times, it's pretty clear by now that these are turning into incredibly well thought out movies. I have no doubt that the term "Rebuild" wasn't used lightly when naming this series of movies when looking at characters, archetypes, and plot points for 1.11-3.33 anonymously. That said, I've found the most interesting character in Rebuild so far to be Wunder's deck chief who doesn't even appear on screen for 20 seconds. I had no idea it was actually Maya Ibuki until I sat down to formally write this and check facts (wow her eyebrows got like three times thicker. on my first pass writing this I was calling her "Unnamed Young Female Deck Chief" since I assumed that part of Asuka's NGE character went to her). With that said, it makes this way of looking at the rebuild even more interesting.
Rebuild was meant to be the series in a modern production form, recast into a feature film timetable. The writer/directors have said that to manage this, character roles needed to be recast with even some new faces to pull it off. Mari is the greatest visual outcome of this requirement as events took a drastic leap into the unknown during 2.22. I feel that looking at rebuild starting at 1.11 progressing through 3.33 is a bit hard because of pre-existing notions of how things were in the original episodes.
Way back when my 2.22 dvd was delivered, I was completely unspoiled when I sat down to watch it. I was expecting a continuation of 1.11's remastery of original episodes into a feature film format. I was completely stunned. The proverbial shit hit the fan and there were still two more movies left to go. When 3.33 came around, I knew that people were really confused and it was completely out of left field for everyone. I don't have a name, but I remember a Japanese tweet of a guy telling the director he's sorry, but he just doesn't understand 3.33 but even so he'd watch it again and try better. When I got my hands on a copy of 3.33 much later, I understood the commotion people were making but Misato's behaviour made everything click for me.
After watching 3.33, I realized 2.22 wasn't amazing for me because of the drastic steps it took in progressing the show's plot into the unknown. Characters in 2.22 were named the same and performed roughly the same actions, but their characteristics were almost completely opposite what they appeared to be from the original series. Asuka in 2.22 is absolutely nothing like her NGE counterpart. Misato's motives in rebuild are essentially the same as in NGE, but in Rebuild her methods are almost entirely self-serving leading up to her little 'ikinasai shinjikun' moment. Toji is incredibly stern and unwavering despite his nature in NGE/manga to become understanding of others. Ayanami Rei is incredibly pro-active compared to her passive self in NGE while Ayanami Kyu is passive and has to be told what to do to progress. Even Kaji is different enough as a character to give you the idea that in Rebuild he isn't a puppet and is actually actively pursuing his own agenda.
Out of nostalgia I tried going back and watching the original episodes to get a better idea of what the writers could have pulled from the characters. It was hard watching the old episodes and honestly a bit confusing. The characters are soo different I had a hard time remembering things about them because of their different Rebuild selves. Going back to watch Rebuild was even made a bit more difficult because various hypocrisies kept presenting themselves, but I began to pick up on missing traits by seeing them in other characters. It let me separate the lore from the characters and see Rebuild for what it is. Of course, until 4.44 is produced, this is all just guesswork. Educated guesswork, but guesswork nonetheless of a type I haven't seen perusing here.
Part Two: Misato as a Rebuilt Character
In Rebuild, Misato as a character begins by treating Shinji as a tempermental piece of military equipment concerned only with its functional use. She's not quite at the level of Gendo, but pretty close; if Shinji is there, then all is well because that means he can be used. Misato continues onward acting in ways she thinks her pilots will remain useful. She has a job to do and only alcohol seems to push that out of the forefront of her mind. Through Asuka's induced-growth, Misato starts to see and treat her pilots as human beings, but that expression is violently cut short. As Shinji leaves for good, she realizes how horrible of a person she was trying to force her way of living onto him and can't do a thing to stop him realizing his own actions/decisions are best for him.
When Unit 01 breaks into the command center to stop the angel, Misato realizes that Shinji is finally acting on his own volition. She loses control over her emotions as she finally gets what she truly wanted only to see it spell the end of the world. Immediately following these events is speculation, but it can be compared against what is known.
At least fourteen years pass and Misato has become an atagonist to her past self. She was a first party witness of the events leading up to NTI's conclusion. We know this because she was not turned into a Failure. We know that at some point, Misato and some of the Nerv command crew have rebelled against Seele to form Wille. We know that Wille is short on personell but has the able backing of at least one nation. We know that the moment Shinji is dragged out infront of Wille members he is given death glares. We know that Misato is ultimately fine with Shinji being killed, but doesn't want him dead unless absolutely neccessary.
With these facts, looking at Misato's character can give a few hints into what may happen in 4.44. Misato truly cares for Shinji and knows enough about what happened to not hold it against him. However, that information failed to reach the rank and file and it seems that the truth will not come from her lips infront of Wille. Presumably, it will be explained that Wille was mustered out of Euro after the rebellion found itself there preceeding a UN-based attack against Nerv HQ. The rallying call being the tale of how the evil Ikari family had set out to implement Seele's HIP to kill everyone on the planet. To conclude her character's story, she'll need to come to terms with Wille's general beliefs in light of her apparent negligent actions as the woman in control of Evas. How that happens is probably the most difficult thing to determine because of how central to the diverging plot she became.
It's also hard to tell because her character is also tied into events that happened between NTI and the formation of Wille. If she continues to remain silent, we could be presented with more imagery that calls back to how events unfolded in EoE and be left to our imagination. The more time that Misato takes to explain things from her position, the less time is given for other characters that haven't had much screen time to develop. The unique thing about Misato in 3.33 is that she didn't have to do anything other than give orders on Wunder's bridge. With the way 3.33 was shown, that was more than enough to explain great swaths of her character. The fact that she had screen time to be shown holding Shinji's life in her hands as well as being present while Ritsuko explained the time skip was huge. She doesn't have to be around for her story to grow, but when others are around her that shows a whole new level of storytelling being present.
Part Three: Asuka. Oh Wow, Asuka....
With her introduction in 2.22, she's as in-your-face as ever about her combat skills, but she's no longer insecure about her place in the world nor shows any kind of performance anxiety. Her greatest difference is that she no longer cares about being an idealized woman and is introduced only with interest in herself. This allows her to to live in the present and work towards the best possible outcome in her moment no matter how it may make her appear.
Before she realizes it, she fell in love with Shinji and proactively worked to make him happy. Without daily life screentime to work with we see this as a simple one-two combo that confirms her character before pulling her out of the picture. With Misato's prodding and the turn of events leading to the 8th angel's destruction, Asuka can't help but to reach out to a clueless Shinji and quickly learns what makes him tick. Shinji cooks, so Asuka tries cooking for him only to find out that Rei has one up'd her by involving his dad. Just confronted with the possibility of losing her position of pilot, Asuka learns that Rei has likely fallen in love with Shinji.
At this point, Asuka has little other to do than mull over her options. The best case for Asuka doesn't seem possible after seeing Shinji's interest in Rei at the [Marine Treatment and Preservation Place]. The worst case, no longer being a pilot, is also possible with Unit 02 transferred to another organization. The idea that Shinji and Rei will likely get together upsets her, but she's not cruel or possessive enough to try and inject herself into Shinji's life. Conjecture suggests Asuka approaches Misato to be the Unit 04 activation test pilot to get the best possibility of what's available (stay a pilot with Nerv and Shinji gets to interact with his dad). (The conjecture being drunk Misato's texting capability while Kaji sits there in front of her, Gendo's desire to use Rei to invoke Unit 01's awakening, Asuka's proactive leadership nature)
So Asuka goes forward and we see a little bit of cause->effect cause->effehOHGODTHISISDIFFERENT (don't know what the appropriate storytelling term for this kind of mirroring contrast is but it happens soo much in Rebuild visually and thematically). With Rei's thanks, Asuka confirms that Misato's goal of having her interact with others is a good thing. She confesses to Misato that ignoring others and being alone is fine for her, but she thinks she wouldn't mind living with others in her life because of what she's learned from her feelings about Shinji. It's probably as close to textbook character self-realization you'll get with Evangelion because Asuka is immediately cast out of humanity and into currently unexplained territory (compare the suddeness to her EoE self-realization).
When we return to Asuka in 3.33 she seems to be back but as screen time passes we see that she is less and less of that character presented at the beginning of 2.22. Physically, time has stood still for her with only an eye-patch to suggest anything has changed. Mentally, she has some really weird things going on.
When Asuka left humanity, Shinji was the person that led her to realize she could care about other people and even had the capability to laugh. More than 14 years later we see the first thing she does infront of him is want to beat the daylight out of him in hatred of the things that have transpired. As screen time passes, we see a bit of conflicting ideas being brought up about Asuka's character and can see that it ties back into the destruction of Mk04b. Mari's character makes her dialogue seem like playful banter or generic girl talk, but the things she says are clearly plot/lore bombs for detonation in 4.44. Mari is very knowledgable about Asuka's character and the mechanical workings of Adams, Lilith, Evas, Nerv, and Seele giving her probably the largest insight of all things in the series.
Mari calls Asuka a princess. This seems like a typical Japanese story type thing tied into Asuka yelling at Mari about things like support fire but Asuka seems very grounded in the world of Wille and the title doesn't seem to fit that way. When Shinji asks about Rei, she seems amazed that someone in the world could possibly raise a fuss over an individual and calls it a luxury. Mari also knows enough about Shinji to describe him as a puppy and enough about Asuka's history with him to chide her for going to see him. It's safe to assume that Mari, as a pilot, had probably been the only person Asuka could spill her heart out about everything on a personal level for many years.
In the final fight in 3.33, Asuka laments that Shinji really did hit her as if she held the belief that he would never strike a girl. As if to illustrate a point, it wasn't just a hit as a punch or kick, it was a full chin-extending bitch-slap set in slow motion action shot for effect. Mari's request for Shinji to help Asuka, despite the possibility that he still had the collar and was the 13th angel, seems roughly out of place in the sense that it's oddly specific (unknown what she knows about Kaworu and yes I'm aware that the language is often highly unspecific in order to be specific through subtlety). Shinji was just fighting them, so it is out of place for the request to mean helping her in any Eva related sense because with the pull of a switch he'd be Eva-less again. The only other sensible thing the request could be for, considering the dialogue/imagery choices, would be Asuka's mental state.
In 2.22, as Unit 04 was beginning its activation Ritsuko was worried about mental contamination. In 3.33, Asuka's eyepatch and plug visual shares the same pattern (repeating shape) and color (blue) as the assumed mental representation of the contaminating Angel (she's also physically changed with at least three sets of canines, but that's a different story). Nerv(possibly Seele according to Ritsuko's remarks) had to of okay her for release eventually, but aside from that there's no definitive telling as of yet for what she went through in recovery.
With the bits I've gone over so far, I'd wager that what Asuka experienced in Unit 03 from the 9th Angel was similar to what Shinji experienced in the Dirac Sea and under realized human instrumentality tied in with the idea behind NGE's 15th angel. The angel likely broke down her psyche and learned about humanity as Asuka pieced herself together back to a reasonable normalness when Unit 01 chomped down on the entry plug.
The cornerstone to pieced-together Asuka was most definitely Shinji as he was the reason she realized exactly who she was. I imagine that if Rebuild was 26 episodes long there would have been three or four minutes of Asuka woefully screaming for Shinji to save her. But alas as it's not so for dramatic affect, this has to be inferred. So yeah, fourteen some years later Asuka has been thrown into orbit willing to give up her life so those remaining may live. When it comes down to it and she actually is going to lose her life (excuse me I mean become extinct since she's the only one of her kind atm lol other story) dragging her prince charming down to the planet's surface she calls out for her knight in shining armor to come save the day; presumably just as she had in the past.
The look on her face when Unit 01 actually saves her isn't really surprise or grattitude, but more shock than anything. Unit 01's laser beam is something I'd almost call divine because the way it acted in response to Asuka's need would be enough to shake her whole identity to the core. Back with Wille, there's no indication that Asuka even saw what appeared to be Shinji answering her call for help but in the core'd region of Tokyo-3, within a l-barrier where presumably no human of Wille can reach, Asuka had to confirm for herself if Shinji was there to help/save her.
When Asuka sees fetal Shinji staying in his plug, she says some very Wille-esque things before acting amazingly just out of character enough from what you'd expect in the series. I remember some comments that it could have happened the day of the release simply because of the timespan, but no suggestion of proof had been offered. I honestly didn't believe it was a possibility until I started watching Rebuild in reverse (3.33->2.22->1.11).
So, out of this, what is there to expect Asuka-derived in 4.44? I imagine for the most part, she's going to be showing Shinji the world he has yet to see. When it comes to what Shinji should be doing in this post-Third Impact world, nobody seems to want to explain to him what and why he should not/be doing anything. Asuka's unique expressions away from Wille suggest that she'll open up to him and explain what happened; but like Kaworu she'll likely not tell things about her personal life as a callback to her "that's none of your bussiness" line. Since Asuka was not present at Near Third Impact, she would not offer a conflicting view of events that Kaworu presented and continue from a point after Unit 01 was impaled. I'm sure Asuka will do it in a way that paints her grief and suffering over the years as well so as to continue Shinji's state of mind. This sense of woe she keeps inflicted on Shinji would act as balance for her vindication of her knight in shining armor perception to be realized by the end of 4.44 should Shinji save her day (alongside everyone else's?).
Aside from that, I would say that the writing suggests that Asuka is/was a mother and we'll see it used as a point of discussion to her (and other Eva pilots who have fully synch'd) humanity or lack thereof. The most obvious and appropriate is an allusion to her getting Shinji out of bed in the morning and dressed for school. She treats him just as you would an uncooperative toddler and quite naturally at that. Moving backwards in screen time, she can't believe that Shinji hit her. Considering he used a back-handed slap, this probably points towards a domestic violence in her 14 years while he was gone.
But why would that idea take precious screen time away from Fourth Impact? Well, if Asuka's perception of Shinji is that of a prince charming that would never hit her because it's wrong to hit a woman, the inverse suggests the man she is with considers it okay to hit a woman. That would make Toji the father. Making such a claim may seem to be out of left field, but there is character writing backing it. Going back to 2.22, the meal scene at the [Marine Treatment and Preservation Place] specifically goes out of its way to explain that Asuka considers old fashioned types of people to be stupid, but Toji sticks to his guns (in retrospect, the scene having a long-term dual purpose to put Asuka on parity with Rei is amazing). I used to consider this bickering as setup for Asuka's revelation later on in a way that added contrast to Rei's warming to Shinji, but it follows far more tropes to consider it foundation to an Asuka/Toji domestic relationship.
Part Four: Putting Four Together (3.0 plus 1.0 more)
Following the trend, 4.0 will likely start with some sort of battle conflict to illustrate that it is indeed in a new universe from prior series. I imagine it to be located in Wille headquarters somewhere in "Euro" (I imagine Germany) and Toji with Unit 07 will be defending all alone since Wunder had to run away and prevent Fourth Impact. For thrills, the fight will run past Unit 07's operational time limit and Wunder will come back to save the day. For drama (parity against Asuka), the fight will be a one sided victory before Wunder can return. Either way, Wunder will return and news that Asuka didn't return will have to be broken.
There was rumor that a quarter of 3.0 was cut to make the film more dramatic and running time compared to 2.0 says this is likely. If the allegory that Asuka was dressing Shinji for school holds, I'd say that was the case and it was a good decision. Asuka will not be rescued until traveling a considerable distance on foot and this will be a good time for Shinji to learn about the world. Since Asuka holds a grudge against Shinji for Third Impact, something he was not consciously a part of being inside Unit 01, it's likely that the tale/state of the world Shinji learns will be that of what Wille considers fact. If this was supposed to be the final part of 3.0, I can't imagine the movie would have been anywhere near as good. I mean, which would have been better, the movie ending shortly after Near Fourth Impact or after 22-24 minutes of the trio walking through Neo Tokyo 3 ruins with Asuka rambling on about why there are core'd Eva arms sticking out of living rooms and suddenly Wunder dropping out of the sky to pick them up? The exciting one was the correct answer.
The second part (this would have been the opener should 3.0 have been full length) would bring the rebuild back up to pace to knock the audience out of the slow lore buildup. Throughout the entire rebuild so far, Shinji has not been told anything other than what to do. Even Kaworu followed this rule by only telling Shinji a twisted version of events in order to make him do a certain thing (Obi-wan would have been proud). Shinji actually learning things from Asuka (skewed they may be) lets him approach Wille differently this time. This will be contrasted against his first appearance before Wille after regaining consciousness at the start of 3.33. On Wunder's bridge, discipline as a soldier kept mouths shut, but I imagine that in the streets around Wille HQ will be quite different. People will berate him and there'd better be an actual stoning attempt to i++ the christian-biblical reference count, but if patterns hold Shinji will man up again and say something in a way that plants seeds of doubt somewhere before getting knocked back down again.
To cool things off and kick off a character development part, characters will need to retreat away from the angry mobs and in to their homes. Shinji doesn't have one of these and would likely go with an established character since he wouldn't be safe alone. Sakura is the likely candidate to keep an eye on Shinji considering her demeanor towards him and rank/attitude onboard Wunder. She is an absolutely human character in rebuild. At no point did she see Shinji as something other than a human being. Yes, she acknowledges that there is cause for concern, but she's not the type to stick him in a cage and keep him out of sight. Through her, Shinji would come to the terms of the human side of being gone for such a long period of time. By human side, I mean the relationship between Toji/Asuka growing up together. For proximity to the issue, I suppose Sakrua would share a building and apartment wall with the pair and Shinji would be able to hear Asuka and Toji fighting before/during/after Sakura is asked to babysit/watch (kid aged what? 5-10 years?) for a few hours.
Beyond this, it's pretty hard to make an assumption on what may happen. At some point, Gendo is going to have to do his thing again and the underlying lore is different enough that you can't guess at it as was done awaiting 3.0. But what I've suggested is very well within the means provided from the rebuilt characters but with plenty of room for execution and twist.
Basically, a note of interest to these musings is the physical/visible age of Toji should this actually happen. I mentioned earlier that those who have fully synchronized with Eva (Mari, Asuka, and Shinji [possibly Ayanami Rei because of how she was extracted from the Angel]) would/could have an issue about their humanity. They don't age as visible signs they've done such a thing. If Toji survived piloting an Adams Vessel and joined Wille, it's likely that he continued growing into adulthood as a human being. I suggest this because Ayanami Kyu (pilot of Mk9) had no chance to fully synchronize with an Eva and has outgrown Shinji. Should Toji make an appearance following the same idea, he'd visibly match 2.22 Kaji in age. That's why I found Maya Ibuki's comment about only liking older men interesting. That aspect of NGE Asuka would have to be cut out of her in order to drive the domestic narrative and the easiest way to do so is to apply it to a third party. If it stayed with Asuka and Maya also followed it, it becomes a theme and that's not how Evangelion does themes.
edit: Also, assuming that 3.0+1.0 making 4.0 is because 3.0's last part carried over into 4.0, Eva 8+2 probably means Eva Unit 8 and two other units.
It's likely that Misato lied or greatly misdirected knowledge in order to form Wille against Nerv.
It's likely that this will drive the character narrative in the first half of 4.0 before Gendo can do his thing.
Asuka and Toji likely hitched up and had a kid.
Their relationship probably isn't all lovey dovey and there's likely been some black eyes while Toji grows older and Asuka stays the same.
Sakura is probably going to be Shinji's portal in the post-Third Impact as the nature of daily life and the threat of the end of the world looms above.
Because this was purely character/writing based there's still no clue about how the lore/plot is going to play out and conclude the story.
edit: added something that didn't get copied into aside and removed a trailing tag.