Can the name "Evangelion" ever become anything other than one television series and whatever movies remake or end it? Rebuild maybe suggests it can by diverging from canon and being its own thing. However, the trick Rebuild pulled of a new timeline (or Impact Cycle, we're not here to debate the whole "sequel theory") with the same characters can really only work once. Once Rebuild is over, the stories of Shinji, Asuka, Rei, Misato, everyone, will be concluded forever. But does the series die with them?
Could Eva work with a new cast of characters, a new setup, a new location? Does Evangelion have what it takes to maintain what made it special while also continuing on? Would we, the fans, accept such a change from tradition?
Personally, I believe so. However, to truly be "Evangelion" it would really need to have certain essences of the original series.
- 1.) It needs to start innocently and dive unexpectedly: Part of what made Evangelion so great was delving into the psychology of what was initially just an entertaining action show. Any new Evangelion series would need the element of surprise, and should begin its psychological drama at a point where it will illicit the most sincere audience reaction.
2.) It needs limitations: Evangelion seems unique to me among anime in that it has no "final boss". EoE's fights were one-sided and decisive with no really "fun" action and merely served to move forward the final character development stage of Third Impact. This was, yes, Anno's original plan, but what if they had the money to make the Harpy's a bigger climactic battle? If the series hadn't had its infamous budget problems, would we have gotten the quiet still scenes of later episodes? Any new Evangelion series should have limits placed on its extravagance to keep from becoming another overblown action show.
3.) It needs to come from the heart: This is harder to define. Evangelion came directly from Anno's psychological state, and couldn't have resulted from any other source. A new Eva series couldn't be done on a corporate whim. It must be the result of a talented director pouring his own emotional experiences into the show, keeping it unique but at the same time true to what Eva was for Anno.