I will this time try to speculate on what could possibly be Oda’s inspiration behind the character of Queen the Plague, one of the three Lead Performers of the Beasts Pirates. Following this, I will attempt to determine what abilities that character possesses, and what it entails.
Disclaimer: Since Queen has facial hair (mustache) and is broadly believed to be a male across the One Piece fandom, I will use male pronouns to refer to him. However, since Oda has left Queen’s gender ambiguous on purpose, I might as well be wrong if he eventually turns out to be a female.
Just like the other two Lead Performers of the Beasts Pirates, Jack and King, Queen’s name comes from the Queen playing card. This pattern has clearly been set up by Oda in order to establish a ranking even among the Lead Performers; from strongest to weakest, King, Queen, Jack.
Queen’s gender, because of his appearance, is made quite ambiguous, not unlike the practice of cross-dressing. For instance, the fact that he sports lipstick and long hair tied into a braid, makes him look like a female; while his facial hair (mustache) actually hints at him being a male. This is made even more ambiguous by the fact that his namesake, the Queen card, is always represented by a female. That being said, I believe Queen’s name could also come from drag queens.
Wikipedia says: Drag queens are performance artists, almost always male, who dress in women’s clothing and often act with exaggerated femininity and in feminine gender roles with a primarily entertaining purpose. They often exaggerate make-up such as eyelashes for dramatic, comedic or satirical effect. There have already been drag queens in One Piece, most notably the Okamas/Newkamas and their Queen, Emporio Ivankov. Ivankov could be described as very representative of a drag queen, showing Oda is knowledgeable about this kind of practice. With this being said, I think it’s fair to assume that Queen is bisexual, if not outright gay.
Aside from drag queens, another thing that comes to mind, when thinking about Queen’s name, is the eponymous rock band. Formed in London in 1970, they attained international success with their song “Bohemian Rhapsody”. It also made Freddy Mercury, the lead singer of the band, a world-famous icon and celebrity.
Mercury and Queen from One Piece share similarities, with both being bisexual and both being the “lead performers” of their band/crew. Besides, they are also linked together by the noun “Queen” (which was initially suggested by Mercury as the name of the band, again showing a genuine connection between the two).
Queen from One Piece, just like his fellow Lead Performers, also bears the name of a natural disaster as an epithet. While Jack is Drought and King is Wildfire, Queen is being referred to as Queen the Plague.
It is well known that the “plague” is a disease infamous for having resulted in more than 50 million deaths during the Middle Age, resulting in a pandemic. However, I believe Oda could also have drawn inspiration from the Bible, in which a certain event called the Ten Plagues of Egypt is related. These ten “plagues” are inflicted by God upon Pharaoh and his people, as punishment for having enslaved the Hebrews and refusing to set them free. God unleashes various calamities upon Egypt, including hail and thunder, crocodiles, swarms of lice, locusts, crocodiles and frogs. At one point, God even makes boils appear on the Egyptians’ bodies.
I believe Oda, regarding Queen’s powers, took inspiration from both meanings of the noun “plague”, since bubonic plague (the disease) is also known for causing boils to grow out of the victim’s body, linking the two sides of the same coin together. It is also worth remembering that, out of the Ten Plagues, four take the form of swarms of destructive animals that God unleashes upon Egypt.
II. Potential Powers
It is no wonder Kaido’s crew is called the Beasts Pirates, because every single member until now has been shown to have eaten a Zoan Devil Fruit, including Jack and King (two Ancient Zoans). I believe the trend will continue with Queen as well, however with some originality to it.
Big Mom, another Emperor, also had three Commanders, who had all three eaten Paramecia Devil Fruits. One of them, however, was set apart because he had eaten a Special Paramecia, essentially allowing him to manipulate his body structure, just like a Logia would.
I think it would be clever of Oda to introduce a Special Zoan user in Kaido’s crew, who would possess the ability to become intangible, just like with Katakuri. Not to mention that I believe Oda has already hinted at the existence of Special Zoan Devil Fruits, with Karasu’s mysterious ability (allowing him to disperse into a murder of crows):
If you haven’t figured out where I’m going with this yet, here is what I would say Queen’s abilities will be, as inspired by both the bubonic plague and the Ten Plagues of Egypt:
Mure Mure no Mi,
(群れ群れの実, Japanese for Swarm-Swarm Fruit):
Bestows the user with the ability to disperse its body into a swarm of pests, which transmit a fatal disease upon touch. As a Special Zoan, makes the user’s body intangible.
*Theory by Aloe Vera