Chapter 690 of One Piece was one of the most popular chapters since the time skip. That chapter, Law made the timeless quote: “I’ve destroyed the gears … and no one can turn them back!”
Over 230 chapters later, Law’s statement is as important as ever and is a big foreshadowing for what is to come in this Wano arc and beyond. Long story short, the story has been building up since Law’s quote to lead to an ultimate finale in Wano: the end of the Three Great Powers. The end of the gears that kept the New World in balance and prevented pirates from reaching Raftel.
The Three Great Powers
We’ve known for a while that there are three great powers that keep things in balance in the New World: The Marines, the Warlords, and the Yonko. The World Government needs these three powers to stay in a gridlock. Why? It prevents upstarts and crazy factions such as the Worst Generation and the Revolutionaries from turning the world upside down. Put more succinctly, the Three Great Powers are the gears that keep the World Government afloat.
Thus, for Luffy to get to Raftel, somehow the Three Great Powers needs to be destroyed. In the first half of the series, Luffy was somewhat working towards that by taking down warlord after warlord. But each time he took one down, another was already there as a replacement. Now in the New World, Luffy has already declared that he’ll defeat all four Yonko, another testament to the fact that he needs to break apart the Three Great Powers balance in order to reach Raftel.
But, does beating one Yonko actually solve anything when it comes to destroying the Three Powers? No, it doesn’t. Look at the Marineford War–Whitebeard died but was simply replaced. The balance was preserved. It was the same principle with every time Luffy has defeated a Warlord–they were simply replaced. It doesn’t make sense for Kaido to go down this arc and for someone like Luffy or Kidd or Law to “replace” him. Wano needs to finish Law’s promise–Wano needs to destroy the gears, not keep them turning. Below I’ll explain how each part of the Three Great Powers will be destroyed in the Wano arc and how it has all been foreshadowed.
Wano will be a war. Make no mistake of it. No plan that the Strawhats have ever been a part of has ever gone smoothly, so the secret assassination of Kaido is not happening. Furthermore, why else would Oda have Kinemon say that they would need 5000 men to wage a war right after Luffy just gained a fleet of 5600 who the narrator has told us will be involved in a very big incident? The writing is on the wall.
What’s more is, this will not just be a war of Luffy + friends vs Kaido. This will be Luffy + Shanks vs Kaido + Big Mom. Wait, huh? What? Yes, you heard that correctly. There’s already plenty of evidence and consensus around discussion boards that Kaido and Big Mom will team up in Wano, so I won’t go into it too much here. What I really want to explore is the idea that there is no way Luffy will be able to defeat both Kaido and Big Mom with his current fleet. With the remnants of the Whitebeard pirates, they have a decent shot of going against Kaido’s empire alone, but two emperors would require an even bigger army. Enter Shanks.
Besides the fact that Luffy and his empire can’t take on two emperors alone, there are two big reasons for Shanks to get involved.
1-Shanks and his crews’ powers are an enigma to the fanbase. However, Shanks has been setup to fight Blackbeard. We need to get an idea of how strong Shanks and his crew really are before Blackbeard (inevitably) beats him. This will give all the hype needed to set up Blackbeard as a truly powerful final villain for Luffy.
2-Shanks has been the major peacekeeper of the Three Great Powers. He stopped the Marineford war, he tried to get Whitebeard to prevent Ace from fighting Blackbeard, and we recently saw him meeting with the Gorosei to talk about a ‘certain pirate.’ Shanks has been trying to keep the peace in order to wait for the person who has inherited Roger’s will. With Luffy’s recent rise to 5th Emperor status, Shanks has become convinced that Luffy is the man that will become Pirate King and now wants to do everything in his power to break the gears and allow Luffy to pass through to Raftel. In fact, the pirate he came to talk to the Gorosei about is none other than Blackbeard, the man who has the best shot of reaching Raftel if the gears are broken, hence why Blackbeard is Shanks’ public enemy number one and is the person he will go after once the Wano War concludes.
Luffy’s empire, Shanks’ empire, and the remnants of the Whitebeard pirates could believably defeat Big Mom and Kaido’s empires–effectively ending the Yonko system. The two vacancies will open up a big power vacuum and set up a massive free-for-all.
As a last note on this topic, you must be wondering: but Luffy should be the one to take down all the four yonko, he said he would do it and Luffy always keeps his promises! I agree, actually. Luffy will take down the individual emperorsthemselves, but he will need help taking down the empires of these emperors. Thus, I speculate that Luffy (with help from Law and Kidd probably) will defeat Kaido this arc. Meanwhile, Big Mom’s crew will be destroyed but Big Mom will likely run to Elbaf to create her crew of Giants setting up a future 1v1 of Luffy vs Big Mom. Shanks will probably “fight” Luffy after the Wano arc but it will be more of a test to confirm that Luffy is worthy. Finally, Blackbeard is one of the frontrunners for Final Villain and will obviously fight Luffy near the end of the story.
Right now there are only five active warlords: Buggy, Weevil, Hancock, Mihawk, and (kind of?) Kuma. Law and Doflamingo were recently removed from the Warlords. Weevil’s story is likely getting resolved in the Wano arc, as Marco has explicitly stated that he can’t go to Wano until Weevil is taken care of–but we know Marco needs to come to Wano as he will be a pivotal fighting force for Luffy. Long story short we’ll have three, maybe four, Warlords left after this arc. Do we really think those spots are going to be filled? No. And furthermore, going along with the theme of the breaking of the gears, they shouldn’t be filled.
In fact, we know they won’t be filled. Fujitora plans on abolishing the warlord system at this year’s Reverie. Do you think it’s a coincidence that Reverie is going on at the same time as Wano? No. Because all the Three Great Powers need to be destroyed at the same time for the final endgame to finally get underway. Fujitora will be successful in abolishing the Warlord system and that will be the end of it.
The Revolutionaries are going to declare full-scale war against the World Government at this year’s Reverie. What does that mean? The WG will need to refocus their fighting efforts against the revolutionaries. Who is the main fighting force of the WG? The marines of course. The upcoming declaration of war against the WG is important because that will force the marines to pay less attention to the pirates in the New World–effectively destroying the last pillar of the Three Great Powers.
By the end of the Wano Arc the Three Great Powers will be destroyed and what will be left is a Fortnite-style battle royale where every pirate in the New World is for themselves. “Who will betray who?” as Doflamingo would say…and who will rise to become Pirate King?
*Theory by Realness100