Hathaway is set in the year 0105 of Gundam’s “Universal Century,” or UC timeline—one of several timelines the 42-year-old franchise has dabbled in across myriad TV series, movies, manga, novels, and games, but arguably the most popular and primary of them all, first introduced in the original Mobile Suit Gundam. Set 26 years after the events of the original show, it follows the titular Hathaway Noa (voiced by Kensho Ono in the film), the son of Mobile Suit Gundam characters Bright Noa and Mirai Yashima, and an important supporting character in the 1988 movie Char’s Counterattack.
Twelve years on from the events of Char’s Counterattack, Hathaway takes place in a brief period of peace in the Universal Century, where the Earth Federation has re-accepted its former opposition, the secessionist space colony known as the Principality of Zeon, into the fold. But as the Federation has become stagnant, cracking down on spaceborn citizens and harshly deporting the lower classes from Earth into the rebuilding space colonies, Hathaway turns his back on the Federation. Taking on the name Mafty Navue Erin and piloting an experimental new mecha, the RX-105 Ξ Gundam (that’s the Greek letter “Xi”, pronounced “Ksi”) as the leader of the dissident group Mafty, Hathaway begins a plan to take revenge against the military he once served in the Federation’s previous wars with Zeonic forces.