FreakyFilmFan4ever wrote:I'm pretty convinced he had a clear idea of what he wanted since 2.22, possibly even 1.11. Sure, somethings changed along the way when trying to fit those ideas into specific 90+ films, (what to do with Asuka, whether or not Shinji should "rescue" Rei, ect.) but most of those are just small details that don't seem to effect how Final Impact will turn out. Even in the original series Asuka had nothing to do with Instrumentality's implementation. Heck, Anno could have written Asuka Soryu to be a completely fun and charming girl who always had something encouraging and supportive to say to Shinji and Rei, and EoE still would have ended up with Rei forbidding Gendo to put his thing in her thing in order to cause impact.
The same seems to be true here. Instrumentality doesn't hinge on whether or not Asuka Shikinami has an eye-patch and feels the way she does toward Shinji. In fact, Instrumentality almost doesn't even seem to hinge on whether or not Shinji thought he rescued Rei at the end of 2.22 (which, IIRC, was one of the more drastic changes made to the story during one of the script rewrites). Sure, the characters do play an important role in preventing Impact (whatever we think they think it is), but it's no different within terms of plot progression than Asuka Soryu battling off Harpies in EoE. So now that these small but important character details are behind us, Anno can focus on the plot details he's had in mind this whole time.
I partially disagree with you here : it's true than in NGE ultimately the acts of the good guys(Kaji, Misato, Asuka...) were for naught and didn't had any incidence in Gendo's and SEELE's respective plot, the factor leading to their downfall being Rei choosing to ditch Gendo and giving the control over Instrumentality to Shinji, in a sense NGE was a Greek tragedy were fate(3I and Instrumentality) was unavoidable.
But here in NTE it's different, here the good guys are an organized faction with manpower and knowledge about what the bad guys are planning, and both factions are on an equal foot. And this time their action did had an influence on the plot : even if they were manipulated by Gendo(or at least he included their intervention in his plot), that doesn't change the fact that WILLE were pivotal in preventing 4I and SEELE's Instrumentality(or the closest thing to it that could be attained with two LoL instead of one LoL and one LoC), and by the look of the trailer, Gendo will have to fight them to attain his goals, were in NGE Misato and Ritsuko weren't even a threat to him.
As for Asuka, her role could be more important than in EoE : right now she's kind of Shinji's guardian, and has the double advantage of having a personal situation the closest to his(EVA pilot, Angel shenanigans with her body) and not having to be detached due to her duties, like Misato is. I'm sure that her relationship with Shinji will be pivotal into getting him back from the pit of endless despair he has fallen into. And well, he's the main protagonist and has a lot to make up for, so I don't see him moping in a corner for the whole film until a Deus give him the control of the Machina to have the last word of the story, I'm sure that he will have to act, to fight alongside WILLE to end this madness(whether WILLE want his help or not is another story)
You also have to take into account that what brought down Gendo's plan fail in EoE was the most unstable piece of his machination : Rei. But now Gendo don't seem to need Rei anymore, so if he manages to launch Final Impact, there is a good chance that nothing will be able to stop him this time, so he will have to be stopped before launching it.
What I'm trying to say is that while in NGE/EoE the bad guys were leading the dance without any opposition until the last moment where two persons made all the difference(Rei and later Shinji with just a decision) by pulling a Deus Ex Machina, here in NTE the good guys will need to fight to obtain their happy ending(or at least an ending not including tangification) and Shinji won't be able to do it by himself, this time the Lilin themselves will fight alongside him(under the form of WILLE), it will have to be a collaborative effort.
I don't think Anno took the time to create this whole new faction, representing mankind's will to built their own fate by themselves, creating a sort of "upgraded" Tokyo-3 able to move and fight(AAA Wunder), new armors for their EVAs and all this logistic just to have them ultimately being utterly irrelevant.