Chapter 999 revealed that the Whitebeard Pirates found out about Oden’s death several years after it happened. They talked about going to war with Kaido, but Whitebeard never approved as they feared the loss of innocent life.
Everyone complaining about Whitebeard’s motivations is so strange to me. Whitebeard has already been proven to not be the type of man who immediately goes on a war path when a member of his crew/family is killed. Look at the Thatch situation. It was Ace who decided to go and exact revenge on Blackbeard, not Whitebeard who made the call.
And honestly, there is nothing wrong with that at all. Whitebeard is proving himself to be a pragmatic leader who values the lives of his current crew over trying to getting revenge for the lives that are lost. If he wasn’t prepared to chase after only Blackbeard who was seemingly on his own, why would it make any sense for him to go declare war with Kaido. A man who (in Whitebeard’s perspective) had beat Oden. Oden had clashed with Whitebeard beforehand so Whitebeard understands the power that Kaido must have to have beaten Oden and understands this would not be a mere skirmish, this would be an all an out war amongst the big powers in the world.
Like I feel the panel really shows a lot in terms of how Whitebeard is thinking about his decision. Even if Whitebeard is strong enough here to beat Kaido (I’m not saying he is or isn’t) he’s making a point to Ace that this isn’t a one-person affair if they are taking on Kaido. Clearly, Whitebeard seeing this as more than just exacting revenge, and that’s why Oda mentioned before this panel that the crew as discussed before multiple times about making the move to go attack Wano, for AGAIN EXACTING REVENGE, NOT SAVING ANY OF THEIR FAMILY.
I personally view this Whitebeard scene to build upon the overall theme of leadership that has been consistent throughout Wano and I found it very fitting. It provided us with another perspective of how one could be a leader in contrast to the leadership styles of Oden, Luffy, Orochi, and Kaido (which have been on primary display in this arc). To me, this is a great addition to Whitebeard’s character and makes him so much more complex than a single-minded character who values his strength over everything. It proves to us the reader that being powerful (or as portrayed as powerful) is not the only thing Whitebeard values as he leads his crew.
I want to add here that I’m not saying you are wrong if you don’t like that Whitebeard did not go back to Wano to exact revenge. That is a totally reasonable opinion to have. All I’m trying to say is that Whitebeard is being further developed as a character than just the legend we have heard in passing throughout the story, and not only do I think that is fine, I think it is amazing. It really builds a great theme in One Piece as I mentioned before that people are sooooo much more than their appearances.
*Theory by eatmyb00gers