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The Code Geass recap movies are key to new sequel’s confusing timeline

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Code Geass: Lelouch of the Resurrection will be based on an alternate reality created by the recent recap films.

code geass lelouch Funimation

Ten years after it’s seemingly finite conclusion, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion is getting resurrected. This isn’t new information — Sunrise, the studio that produced Code Geass, announced a new project in November 2016 along with three recap films at a 10th anniversary event for the original series. Is it a movie? Is it a series? No one’s quite sure, however, what’s more confusing is the relationship between the original series, the three recap films, and the upcoming new project.

The new project, aptly titled Code Geass: Lelouch of the Resurrection, was clouded with mystery from the very beginning. Sunrise released a promotional video that features well-known characters like Kallen, Ohgi, and Princess Cornelia in April 2017, but little information has been released since then.

Recently, comments from director Goro Taniguchi and writer Ichiro Okouchi cleared up the situation and answer many of the questions that fans had regarding the new project: it will act as a sequel not to the original series, but rather to the three recap films.

[Warning: major spoilers for Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion ahead.]

It’s no surprise that there was confusion regarding the new project, which was promoted from the get-go as a sequel rather than a spinoff series like Code Geass: Akito the Exiled. Although fans have been debating the ending of R2 — the second season of the original series — for the past ten years, one thing has always been pretty clear: Lelouch is either dead or never had any intention of being found after staging his death at the hands of “Zero.” The ending was not only narratively sound but also echoed back to one of Lelouch’s most iconic lines of the entire series: “The only ones who should kill are those who are prepared to be killed.”

Ichiro Okouchi essentially confirmed that Lelouch was dead in a 2008 interview. Things seemed to be pretty squarely wrapped away with Lelouch being dead (or “dead,” we’re not going to get into the fan debate here) and his sister Nunnally working to maintain the peace established through Lelouch’s death.

Lelouch Code Geass
“The only ones who should kill are those prepared to be killed.”
Funimation

Thus, fans were puzzled by the title of the new project — whose English title is stylized as Re;surrection — and the fact that Lelouch himself was not only set to appear in the series but by the looks of the title, function once again as its protagonist. The existence of the recap films — which features some reedited series footage, some new scenes, and a complete re-recording by the original voice cast — further complicated fan’s understanding of how exactly the new project fit into the current Code Geass canon.

While confirming their return for the upcoming project, director Taniguchi and writer Okouchi cleared up the timeline: the recap films, titled Initiation, Transgression and Glorification, differ from the original series in the form of omitted scenes, subplots and characters in lieu of additional scenes and other content. Subtle, but ones that are different enough to establish a new, alternate timeline. Re;surrection is a sequel not to the original series, but to the recap films. Okouchi clarifies, “At the time of the television series, I intended to close the book on Lelouch’s story after the final episode. However ... Glorification, is a little different. It wasn’t intended to be an end but a beginning.”

Taniguchi and Okouchi’s announcement means that the ending of the original series remains intact: Lelouch isn’t coming back from the dead, whether it was faked or not. Rather, the movies establish a new canon independent of the series on which they’re based. Furthermore, Taniguchi confirmed that the new project and the recap films don’t negate the original series: they merely represent an alternate timeline.

The recap films have been licensed by Funimation but details for a US release or English dub aren’t currently known. Currently, there is no official premiere date for the new project (which could take the form of a series, original video animation, or film) but it is expected to be released near the end of 2018 or in early 2019.