This was, indeed, Anno's early intention. Here is a very quick translation of a relevant section of the 1.0 CRC Anno interview:
Anno: ... I think it was probably around October of 2005 that I decided to do the new film series. Of the memos I did in Word, the earliest is dated November 10.
- What sort of things did you put down in that memo?
Anno: I wrote a few different things, but the main thrust was something like aiming to “Gundamize” Eva or to make it “classical.” Among the things I put down was the idea of creating, like a “Part Two,” a new series with the Evangelion name, though the ideal I had in mind was a “G Evangelion.”
- By that you mean a work that, like the old G Gundam, would fundamentally overturn the existing concept of Eva?
Anno: Yeah. You have that development where, “G” does pretty well, then “W” is a hit, with “X” the popularity flags a little, then “S” [Seed] is a mega-hit (laughs). You do have “V” before all that, however.
- So what you wrote focused less on the content of the work than on this kind of business-like concept.
Anno: Right. More than business, I was thinking about the future of the anime industry. I hate calling anime “content,” but when you are thinking in terms of business, you get more misunderstandings within that world if you call it “product,” so I will use “content.” So when you think of anime in terms of “content” rather than as works, outside of kids’ animation, I feel like it is currently finding itself at a dead end. In kids’ animation you have plenty of substantial “content,” whether it is Anpanman or Doreamon or Pokemon or Crayon Shin-Chan, and these works are constantly being updated. You get a good feeling about it, I think. Since you have a lot of works that have already been going for more than ten years, and which look set to endure into the future, I think the line is likely to continue. But when I think about [adult] animation, I worry that there is nothing else besides Gundam.
- That’s something that I myself have long been concerned about - the fact that too few anime produce enduring lines of character-based merchandise.
Anno: Right. If all we have is Gundam, what will become of the industry? Even tokusatsu, which is said to be an industry in decline, has three pillars in the Rider, Ultra and Sentai series, which have endured for thirty or forty years. The amazing thing especially about the Sentai series is the way it renews itself each year and carries on without hiatus. You have had periods of time without any entries in the Ultra and Rider series, but in the end I feel they are reliable properties that have endured into the present day. When we think of these three in terms of our own genre of concern, then despite tokusatsu possessing three pillars, anime has only one in Gundam. Yamato, which had originally planned to establish itself as an enduring line even earlier, has remained, due to various circumstances, unable to do so.
- The only other work you might think of in terms of establishing itself is Macross.
Anno: Macross has also endured, but I still don’t think it has attained mainstream social appeal. Ghibli anime has been mainstreamed, but it has the same kind of feeling as Disney animation and is therefore something of a different case. In any event the only anime merchandise an ordinary salaryman can really place on his desk is Gundam merchandise. I think that, when other people see a mobile suit [on your desk], they just look at it like “this guy likes Gundam” and leave it at that. You get the sense that it is permitted as something understood throughout society as a whole or not something belonging only to otaku. That’s what’s amazing about Gundam. Apart from that, there’s not really any anime mainstream enough that you can put its merchandise on your desk. Because of that, I would like to see more, and more expansive, content, even just one more pillar, that can support the anime industry - understood as being part of a different category than Miya-san’s current work. That is one important motivation [behind the current project]. I feel like with Eva, it is just barely permissible, perhaps, to have the merchandise on your desk. Because of that, I want people to still be making new Eva works ten or twenty years in the future. I think it would be good if it reached a point where not myself, but other young creators, could continue the series as they please, one after another.
- I see. The desire to bring Evangelion up to become that sort of work was present as an important motivation even before beginning the new theatrical series.
Anno: Right. I have the hope that Evangelion can usefully serve as a content pillar supporting the industry as a whole. I could have used some other work, but, thinking about it objectively, in the end I feel that the potential Evangelion possesses as a content will be higher. It’s something that I can develop as I please, without worrying about rights to the original work or other such troublesome aspects.
- Therefore the methodology behind the current project is not a "remake" but a "rebuild," but was this a conception that occurred to you at the same time as that thought?
Anno: Well, that was where the circumstances took me. If I remember correctly, the discussions I had about creating my own company came about prior to the plan for the new theatrical edition, but I believe I had already talked about creating an Eva part two during work on the Nadia DVD-BOX (2001).
- Ah, if I’m not mistaken you had chatted about it with Otsuki-san around that summer at the King Records studio, while you were editing the bonus material Masayuki-san had done. “Let’s keep creating follow-ups, in the manner of Gundam or Yamato.”
Anno: Yeah. At that point I had already started to think that if we didn’t expand and enlarge Evangelion as part of the contents industry, the industry might not have a future, so we should do it while we still could. So I had tried bringing up the idea of doing an Evangelion part two to a number of different people, but all the responses I got expressed a hesitation to touch Evangelion; no one would do it for me (laughs).
- I feel like you had also already brought up, during the Nadia conversation, the idea that it didn’t have to be a continuation of the story, but rather a completely different work, a “G Eva.”
- Right. I told everyone, “It can be ’G Evangelion’, so won’t you do it?”, but they wouldn’t. As I thought, if “V” doesn’t come first, no one will do it for me (laughs). “If that’s the case, maybe I have to create ’V’ myself first...” I think that once you have displayed a sample demonstrating that it’s okay to touch Evangelion, then it becomes easy for other people to alter it and create new works. In order to do that, I thought it was necessary to return to the title once more, myself.
- So you didn’t have the option of creating a different, “G Eva” type work yourself?
Anno: Just before this work I had been thinking for a long time about a live action project, but it had been struggling to get off the ground, and I had rethought the project as a TV anime series, switching it from live action to anime. I had thought, if it was possible, that I would have to do the Eva films alongside it. So at that time, I didn’t intend to put that much time into the Eva project, feeling that I could have the first two parts be upgraded compilations [of the original story] and just change the ending a bit.
This intention seemed to get lost over time, however, and in the 2014 Japan Times interview Anno seemed to have abandoned it altogether: