|Manga||To You, 2000 Years From Now|
|Anime||To You Two Thousand Years Later|
Commander Erwin Smith (エルヴィン・スミス団長 Eruvin Sumisu Danchō?), sometimes known as Chief Erwin, is the 13th commander of the Survey Corps. Far-thinking, intelligent, respected, Erwin is an able commander and while he cares as deeply for his men, he would not hesitate to sacrifice them for the future of mankind (and soldiers of Survey Corps seem to be aware of this. Despite this knowledge they are still extremely loyal to him). He developed the "Formation for Long Distance Enemy Detection."
Erwin is portrayed as serious, calculating, seeing and planning far for the future. While he trusts his men, he is the first to realize that there is a spy interfering with the Survey Corps and arranged for his/her capture. He is an eloquent speaker, able to sway many people, such as the war tribunal held to judge Eren and the trainees choosing recruitment branches to join.
Erwin is very grim. He accepts all news, good or bad, mockery or praise, with the same attitude because he knows his objectives and will follow through with them.
He shares this unique stoic quality with men such as Head Administrator Dot Pixis, squad leader Ian Dietrich and Generalissimo Dallis Zacklay. As Armin puts it, Erwin, like the aforementioned three men, has the ability to send his men to die if it will further the cause of humanity. He and they will sacrifice their own humanity in order to bring change to a world where those who cannot sacrifice things important to them will not change anything.
He is later formally introduced when the Survey Corps is clearing a town inside Wall Maria. They discover Titans are moving north, towards the Trost District of Wall Rose. Fearing a breach, they head to Trost District and narrowly save a trapped Eren, Armin, and Mikasa after their mission to block the hole is complete.
Erwin later on explains the upheaval Eren has caused in the politics of humanity. Later, he successfully gets Eren recruited into the Survey Corps and arranges for his study by Hange Zoë, a Titan scientist and squad leader.
At the recruitment drive, his speech about the future of humanity convinces most of the top 10 trainees from Eren's unit to join the Survey Corps.
After the death of the Titan research subjects, Bean and Sonny, he tests everyone in the Survey Corps by asking them a direct, but confusing question to gauge their reactions. When this turns everyone innocent, he begins planning the next expedition to capture the spy, guessing they have abilities similar to Eren and are intent on sabotaging the expedition.
However the plan fails as the Female-type Titan manages to escape but only after inflicting massive casualties on the Survey Corps party. Erwin is forced to call a retreat back to the Wall's safety.
For the costly failure of this mission, Erwin is blamed for the fiasco and summoned to the imperial capital to explain. However, he trusts Armin's gamble that Annie Leonhart is the Titan and orders her covert capture en route to the meeting. He briefly explains this to Nile Dawk.
She is eventually apprehended and Erwin goes into an emergency meeting held to sort out the day's events. He manages to convince the council that despite the expedition failure and subsequent death of some civilians in the inner city, they finally catch the female-type Titan successfully and this indicates that there must be more of her kinds hiding among them.
He is still there when Wall Rose is breached. Erwin helps coordinate the effort to locate the breach with the Stationary Guard, but is unable to have it located.
He is too late to save Eren from being captured by Reiner and Bertolt who reveal themselves as the Armored and Colossal Titan, respectively. However, Erwin quickly assembles a combined force of all branches of the military to rescue Eren.
Upon sight that Eren has been captured by Reiner, Bertolt and Ymir he orders all squads to go ahead with him and letting the Titans follow them, much to the dismay of the fellow Soldiers who call him a Monster believing he uses them as Decoy. Erwin assures that is not his intention, that the Military Police fights admirably and that his men should fulfill their duty as Soldiers.
As the Graduates were reunited they along with Hannes watch in shock as Erwin leads a pack of Titans right to them. The group is forced to briefly retreat and watch as the Armored Titan is overwhelmed by the horde. Erwin orders them to head into battle, stating that humanity has no future if Eren is lost. However, as he leads the charge a Titan manages to catch him by his right arm and drags him from his horse. He orders the others to continue the mission, while a handful stay behind to fight the Titan chewing on him.
His fate is revealed a short time later, when he manages to ambush and wound Bertholdt. This allows Eren to be rescued, and Erwin immediately orders all surviving forces to retreat. Though still alive, his right arm has been severed just below the shoulder with a makeshift tourniquet secured around the stump. Ignoring his injuries, he continues to command the mission. The retreat fails, however, when the Armored Titan panics and begins to throw Titans to block their path. The retreat and the mission to rescue Eren ultimately succeeds in the end when Eren unknowingly used his powers to control other Titans to attack the Armored Titan and Bertholdt.
- He is attributed with the literal title of "leader of the [Scouting] Legion" (団長 danchō), often translated as "Commander".
- Erwin's motif was based on Adrian Alexander Veidt/Ozymandias, a character from Watchmen.
- Another influence for the character appears to be Erwin "Desert Fox" Rommel, who he shares his first name and a significant date -- October 14th, the date of Rommel's death and Smith's birth. Rommel was a famed German Field Marshall from WWII noted for his exceptional skills as a commander and willingness to defy his superiors' unjust orders. He was involved in the failed plan to assassinate Adolf Hitler, but considered such a national hero that it was necessary to eliminate him quietly. After being forced to commit suicide, his death was announced as a heart attack and he was given a state funeral with full honors.
- According to Hajime Isayama, Erwin is single because he's not certain when he will die.
|Squad Leaders||Mike Zacharius · Hange Zoë|
|Team Leaders||Dita Ness · Darius Baer-Varbrun|
|Special Operations Squad||Eld Jinn · Petra Ral · Oluo Bozado · Gunther Schultz|
|Squad Members||Ilse Langnar · Moses/Brown · Nanaba · Rene · Luke Siss · Henning · Gelgar · Dieter · Moblit Berner · Keiji · Jurgen · Pere · Mikasa Ackerman · Reiner Braun · Bertolt Hoover · Eren Yeager · Jean Kirstein · Connie Springer · Sasha Blouse · Historia Reiss · Armin Arlert · Ymir · Thomas · Lauda|
|Before the Fall members||Solm Hume · Carlo Pikel · Kyklo|