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|“||I'm certain that Eldians are the descendants of devils. And I'm certain...that we too are devils.||„|
|~ Theo Magath's conflicting views on the world.|
Theo Magath is a major antagonist in the anime and manga series Attack on Titan. He was the commander of the Warrior unit under Marley before becoming the General of the Marleyan army after his predecessor's death due to Eren Yeager's attack on Liberio.
Much of his past is unknown, but has been involved in the Marleyan military for roughly 2 decades, overseeing the training of Warrior candidates to inherit the power of the Titans, eventually reaching the rank of Commander. He was initially opposed to Zeke Yeager becoming a candidate until Tom Ksaver, the Beast Titan inheritor at the time, personally chose Zeke to be his successor.
Shortly before the events of the series, Magath had chosen five candidates (Reiner Braun, Bertolt Hoover, Marco Galliard, Annie Leonhardt, and Pieck Finger) to inherit the Armored, Colossus, Jaw, Female, and Cart Titans respectively in order to prepare for the next operation, which involved being sent to Paradis Island and taking back the Founding Titan to ensure the Marley regime remains the world's dominant power. Though skeptical of how useful children would be for such a mission, he was ordered to keep Zeke and Pieck behind in Marley as protection from other nations that were developing anti-Titan technology, while Reiner, Bertolt, Annie, and Marco were sent to retrieve the Founding Titan.
Five years after they were sent, only Reiner returned, with Bertolt and Marco dead and Annie in custody.
4 years after the failure of the Warriors to retrieve the Founder, near the end of their war against the Mid-East Allied Forces, Magath led the current Warrior candidates in a siege against their armies. Against ordinary protocol, Magath permitted Gabi to remove her Eldian armband in order to deceive the enemy into believing they were surrendering. It was a ploy for her to launch a homemade bomb into one of their trains, laughing sadistically as she returned to her teammates. Magath then called in their top fighters, Reiner and Zeke, to finish off the Allied forces.
Magath was later present with Marley military officials, including General Calvi and Zeke Yeager, the latter of whom persuaded they need to try again with reclaiming the Founder, as the world's continually evolving technology would soon make Titans obsolete and Marley would fall. Magath and Zeke later met in private to further discuss strategies for a second attempt to retake the Founder.
Shortly before the festival being held in Liberio, Magath met with the Tyber family, and influential Eldian family who betrayed their own people for wealth and power. Their current head, Willy Tybur, discusses suspicions of the current Founder and Attack Titan, Eren Yeager, launching an attack the night of the festival, and Magath agrees to a secret plan that involves Willy using himself as bait to unite the world against Paradis Island.
As Willy predicted, Eren had infiltrated Liberio and Magath watched as he transformed, killing Tybur, Calvi, and several others as his friends from the Survey Corps began their attack. Magath makes several attempts to get the upperhand but Marley suffers many more losses by the time Eren is finished. After the battle, Magath finds Pieck and Porco wounded as the latter warns him of the suspicious individual who trapped them.
War for Paradis Arc
In the aftermath of the Liberio attack, Magath finds the Beast Titan's remains but not Zeke's body, which leads him to the realization that Zeke Yeager was the true mastermind of the attack and had been working against them for nearly four years. As he shares the news of Zeke's defection with the other Warriors, Magath says that the world is allying against Paradis for a large-scale operation to wipe out the Eldians of Paradis. Reiner, knowing such a move would take time and suspecting Zeke would anticipate it, tells the others that they need to attack sooner rather than later in order to throw off Zeke's suspicion.
Ahead of schedule, Marley invades Paradis with Magath and Reiner in charge of the operation. Magath meets up with Gabi, who was rescued by Pieck, and learns from her that Zeke is actually Eren's half-brother and a member of the royal family. Magath realizes that the two of them making contact would result in activating the power of the Founding Titan which would begin the Rumbling and wipe out the rest of the outside world. Magath jumps onto the artillery attached to Pieck's Cart Titan, making a clean shot at Zeke, but not enough to kill him. Magath watches in horror as Zeke screams and turns several Eldians into mindless Titans, as well as Falco, who had ingested Zeke's spinal fluid. Though Falco was saved by Porco sacrificing himself (and in the process becoming the Jaw Titan), the rest of the Marleyan military are wiped out, leaving Magath and Pieck to escape.
Magath and Pieck encounter Hange and a wounded Levi Ackerman, who then reluctantly team up to stop Eren and Zeke. Pieck lends her Titan powers to save Jean, Onyankopon, and Yelena while Mikasa, Armin, Connie, Falco, Gabi, Reiner, and Annie meet up with them later. Magath immediately vents his prejudice against Eldians, saying if they had not tried to stop Marley from taking back the Founder, Eren would not have been able to activate the Rumbling and the world wouldn't be destroyed, but was quickly refuted by Jean for his hypocrisy.
Theo Magath is a stern, no-nonsense military official whose top priority is keeping Marley as the world's dominant power. Though he holds the same prejudices against Eldians that all Marleyans do, Magath is shown to be more tolerant of them than others, willing to take advice from Zeke and grant special permissions to Gabi if it means securing victory.