So, something has been bothering me lately. I’ve been seeing a lot of posts and videos on YouTube saying that we are approaching (relatively) the end of One Piece. I don’t think we are that close for several reasons.
So, I just want to break down the arcs that are absolutely necessary to completing the story of One Piece. As I see it, there are at least 3, but I believe that there will be at least one surprise arc in the endgame of the story.
This arc is about halfway over, and we have been in Wano for a year now. This is a hugely important arc, and I think it will stretch on for at least 1.5- 2 years. There are so many floating plot points, and the resolution of the arc will not be easy.
This arc has been teased since Little Garden, and it is all but confirmed to be an island that the Straw Hats will visit. There are theories according to which this is Shanks’ territory, and while this is totally possible (and would be awesome), I cannot even begin to guess what the story will be. However, we know that at least one crew member MUST go to Elbaf to fulfill his dream.
Usopp needs to go to Elbaf to finally become a “brave warrior of the sea”. This will be the culmination of his story and would also be a great point to complete the growth of the Straw Hats- the nation of the world’s greatest warriors.
There are also theories according to which the final Road Poneglyph will be found in Elbaf. I 100% agree with this theory and it would be a great final trial for the Straw Hats before setting off for Raftel.
Raftel is the island at the end of the New World which supposedly holds the treasure One Piece. It is the fulfillment of our main character’s dream. I also believe that this will be the arc where Luffy and the Straw Hats will fight the Blackbeard Pirates. One final fight for supremacy over who will be crowned King of the Pirates. Again, I cannot even begin to speculate as to the specific story beats, but I think we would all be surprised if this is a quick and easy arc for Luffy and the Straw Hats.
Now we get to the tough part- identifying the many plot threads that are left unfulfilled. Oda tells such a tight, well-crafted story, and I would be surprised if the following plot points are not addressed.
- Zoro’s dream to become the World’s Greatest Swordsman
- Im-sama and the Great Cleansing
- Monkey D. Dragon and The Revolutionary Army
- The Ancient Weapons
Shanks could absolutely show up in Elbaf or Raftel as one final obstacle to Luffy becoming Pirate King.
Luffy could deliver the straw hat and prove that he has created a pirate crew that surpasses Shanks. Blackbeard is the same way- I think it is likely that he will be the barrier to Luffy gaining the final Road Poneglyph, or he will be fighting to reach Raftel before Luffy. He is the other true candidate to be the next Pirate King, and Luffy will need to surpass him.
Now this is where I’m going to get into a little bit of headcannon and theory crafting. I believe that there will be one final arc, after Raftel. I cannot see how the Revolutionary Army fits into either Elbaf or Raftel, and the same thing for the World Government’s cleansing.
I think that after Luffy has become the Pirate King, the World Government will begin to consolidate power and cleanse, or destroy, countries that are allied with the Revolutionaries. They will attack Vivi, which will infuriate Luffy and the Straw Hats when news reaches them.
At this point, I think the Straw Hat Grand Fleet and the Pirate King’s crew will sail to Mary Geoise, meeting up with the Revolutionaries along the way. At the first meeting between Luffy and Dragon, they would be the #1 and #2 most wanted men in the world- the Pirate King and the Leader of the Revolutionaries.
The invasion of Mary Geoise would be fitting for a “Final Arc”. One last battle, full of flashbacks, old allies reappearing to join the battle, a full display of the growth of the Straw Hats from rookie pirates to the most feared crew in the world. I just want one scene of the Straw Hats showing up on the battlefield and having the same intimidating effect on the enemies as Shanks’ crew did at the end of Marineford.
This final arc would allow the Revolutionaries to topple the World Government, Zoro could have one final duel with Mihawk (defeating him, and becoming the World’s Greatest Swordsman), Luffy could enact revenge on Akainu, the Ancient Weapons could be revealed, Im-sama could be unmasked and dethroned, and the Ancient Kingdom could be reborn.
It would be the “Avengers: Endgame” of One Piece. I think this would be incredible and tie the story up perfectly, rather than shoehorning everything into Elbaf or Raftel.
I know this was really long, but I had a good time writing it. Thoughts?