With the latest chapter, it looks like Big Mom finally got her cake, and got to eat it too. As unfortunate as the end of this chapter was, I think that it would be the perfect cliffhanger to end the Whole Cake Island Arc on.
From here, Oda can continue on to the Wano Arc and center it on Zoro. Maybe it’ll be told concurrently with Whale Cake Island and start off with their entry in Wano, or maybe it’ll start off with news of Luffy’s death spreading around the world until it reaches the ears of Zoro and the others. Either way, they will learn about Luffy’s defeat.
We’ve all seen the theories about Zoro getting some character development in Wano. But with a development like this, Zoro would become the protagonist of the Wano Arc! Whether they believe the news about Luffy’s death or not, Zoro will have to be the leader in Luffy’s absence, which itself will make for some pretty interesting development on his part.
Plus, with Luffy’s fate being ambiguous, we could have an amazing chapter of them being revealed to be alive and saving everyone’s asses.
Luffy can then reveal how they actually got away from the Big Mom Pirates, Jinbe can finally have the “you’re in” moment, and Carrot can come to fully understand what Pedro meant by the “Dawn of the World” and what Luffy’s role is in bringing that about, giving her an actual reason to join the crew. I feel like this could be an amazing direction to go in light of the most recent chapter.
*Theory by Derpalooza