Fourteen years after a worldwide cataclysm called Third Impact devastated the Earth, Asuka Langley Shikinami and Mari Illustrious Makinami, pilots of the Evangelion cyborgs, are sent into space to retrieve a container in which Evangelion Unit 01 and its pilot Shinji Ikari are sealed. When Asuka grabs the container with her Evangelion unit, it releases attack drones. Unit 01 awakens and destroys the drones, then deactivates and descends back to Earth. Kaworu Nagisa watches and says he has been waiting for Shinji.
Salvaged from Unit 01, Shinji is fitted with an explosive collar by WILLE, an organization headed by Misato Katsuragi and Ritsuko Akagi. WILLE intends to destroy the paramilitary organization NERV and the Evangelion units. When more drones attack, WILLE launches the flying battleship Wunder and destroys them.
Shinji discovers that Unit 01 is powering the Wunder, and the collar will kill him if he attempts to pilot an Evangelion unit again. Ritsuko informs him that the other previous occupant of Unit 01, Rei Ayanami, was never found. Mark.09, a unit piloted by Rei, intercepts the Wunder and takes Shinji to the ruined NERV headquarters. While there, his father Gendo, the leader of NERV, informs him that he is to pilot a new Evangelion, Unit 13, with Kaworu. Shinji befriends Kaworu as they practice piano duets together, but discovers that Rei is unable to remember anything and only follows orders. Kaworu shows Shinji the ruins of Tokyo 3, explaining that Shinji's awakening of Unit 01 caused Third Impact. He also reveals that Gendo plans to force humanity's evolution to remove their individuality, and reunite with his deceased wife Yui Ayanami.
Gendo's assistant Kozo Fuyutsuki invites Shinji to play shogi and reveals that Yui is within Unit 01 as the control system. In addition, Rei is one of several clones of his mother; the Rei which rescued him is only the latest. Shinji is distraught by this revelation. Kaworu removes Shinji's collar and wears it as a sign of trust.
Shinji and Kaworu pilot Unit 13 on their mission to use the Spears of Cassius and Longinus, two ancient weapons, to undo Third Impact; Rei follows in Mark.09. When Unit 13 reaches the body of the alien lifeform Lilith, Kaworu realizes that the spears are not what he expected. Kaworu, Asuka and Mari attempt to stop Shinji, but Shinji removes the spears. On Gendo's orders, Mark.09 decapitates Mark.06 to release the Twelfth Angel, which is absorbed by Unit 13.
The awakened Unit 13 rises into the sky, starting another cataclysm called Fourth Impact. Kaworu reveals he is the First Angel, now "cast down" to the Thirteenth. The bomb detects Unit 13's awakening and activates. Rei loses control of Mark.09, which boards Wunder on its own in an attempt to take control of the ship. Rei ejects from her unit and Asuka blows up her own unit to destroy Mark.09. To stop Fourth Impact, Kaworu stabs Unit 13 with both spears and then allows the collar to kill him to Shinji's horror. Mari ejects Shinji's cockpit from Unit 13, and WILLE recovers units 02 and 08 and retreats. Asuka rescues and drags Shinji through the remains of Tokyo-3, with Rei following them.
^ New character.
The film's initial teaser trailer, shown after the end credits of Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance in the style of the "next episode" previews in the original TV series, described Shinji and Rei still remaining frozen within Unit-01, Tokyo-3 and the Geofront being abandoned, "NERV personnel [being] held in confinement," "Eva Mark-06 descend[ing] on Dogma," "the quickening Eva Unit-08 and its pilot," and the assembling of "the children chosen by fate." Scenes shown included the impaled Unit-01, Kaworu meeting with four shadowy figures, Gendo and Fuyutsuki in mountain climbing gear, Kaji yelling while pointing a pistol at someone, Mari confronting four Rei clones, a private conference between Mari and an unknown person, and a restored Asuka wearing an eyepatch (despite none of them appearing in the final film).
On August 26, 2011, a 15-second teaser trailer was shown after the Evangelion 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance television broadcast, featuring footage of Asuka piloting Unit-02 in space and a tentative release date in the fall of 2012. On January 1, 2012, the official website was updated to reveal the official English title, You Can (Not) Redo, and a tentative release date for the fourth and final film in 2013. The "EVA-EXTRA 08" live screening in Shinjuku revealed that the film would be released in Japan on November 17, 2012.
A 30-second trailer streamed on Nico Nico Douga on October 17, 2012, showing Shinji, Rei, Kaworu, Mari, and Asuka. A full trailer, the fifth promotional video for the film, was released on November 1, 2012, containing both footage from the August 26 Nico Nico Douga trailer as well as previously unseen footage. It also featured a new song by music composer Shirō Sagisu, titled "The Wrath of God, in All Its Fury". On November 14, a one-minute 48-second trailer was released privately on Hikaru Utada's YouTube channel. It features Hikaru Utada's new song, "Sakura Nagashi". On November 16, 2012, the first six minutes and thirty-eight seconds of the film were aired on Nippon Television to promote the film's release at midnight on November 17. An additional 17-second trailer was released on November 18, showing EVA Units 02 and 13, the airship Wunder, and the main cast of Evangelion thus far.
A new three-minute trailer was released on April 17 as the promotional video for the 3.0 video release, renamed Evangelion: 3.33 You Can (Not) Redo.
The film was released in Korean theaters in April 2013. The Japanese Blu-ray and DVD was released on April 24, 2013.
The film is licensed by Funimation (North America), Madman Entertainment (Australia) and Manga Entertainment (United Kingdom) for home release on Blu-ray and DVD. The US announcement was revealed once their Facebook page reached over 1 million likes and was later provided with a release date for February 2014. However, due to more demand on theatrical screenings the home release was delayed. After numerous months with lack of information regarding both the theatrical release and home release, a FUNimation post on Facebook assured fans that they were working closely with Studio Khara to ensure the English dub is closer to Khara's vision. As a result, both the Australian and United Kingdom releases (both originally given a March 2014 release date) were postponed until the situation was sorted. In December 2014, Funimation confirmed that they intended to release Evangelion 3.33 in the near future and that Khara was creating the English-language subtitle track for the Western release of the film.
After an announcement by Funimation at the New York Comic Con on October 10, 2015, the DVD/Blu-ray of 3.33 was released in North America on February 2, 2016.
Before the delay, Madman organized screenings of 3.0 as part of its Reel Anime film festival in select cinemas across Australia from September to October 2013. In the US, the film was screened as part of the Jpop Summit Festival 2013 in San Francisco on July 27, July 29 and August 4, 2013. It was also screened at Otakon 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland and at Anime Weekend Atlanta on September 28. The premiere of the English dub was screened at New York Comic Con on October 11, 2013, which was previously announced as a subbed screening.
The theme song for the film, "Sakura Nagashi" (桜流し, lit. "Flowing Cherry Blossoms"), was provided by Japanese-American singer-songwriter Hikaru Utada, who also wrote the themes for the previous two films. Utada, though at the time on hiatus, agreed to a standalone release. The song was created with help from English songwriter Paul Carter. A soundtrack album with the film's score by Shirō Sagisu titled Shiro SAGISU Music from "EVANGELION: 3.0" You Can Not Redo which contains the "full" music track from the film as well as several bonus tracks not included in the film was released on November 28, 2012. Another soundtrack disc containing the expanded score Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo Original Soundtrack was bundled in the home video version, released on April 24, 2013.
The film was released in Japan on November 17, 2012. It earned Japan's second-highest weekend box office of 2012 with 1,131,004,600 yen (US$13,913,200). The film subsequently grossed the equivalent of over US $60 million at box office.
The fourth and the final film, Evangelion: 3.0+1.0, was previewed in a post-credits trailer. It shows EVA Unit 8+2, an apparent fusion of Unit-02 and Unit-08, seemingly fighting dark green copies of Mark.06. Misato's narration of the trailer suggests Shinji who "still lack[s] the will to live" finding a "place that teaches him hope", the implementation of the Human Instrumentality Project, and a final stand by WILLE and the Wunder (with the customary promise of fan service, "up to the end").