There are many theories out there on the ongoing development of the One Piece manga. Of course, many focus on the Void Century, or what exactly is the One Piece and how it ties into the finale. There’s one rather important mystery that’s been teased throughout the manga’s entire run but never given much insight even as we’ve passed the 1000th chapter mark. It’s a dominant figure that remains a blank slate throughout, the infamous pirate Blackbeard, Marshall D. Teach. The first canon wielder of two Devil Fruits broke every single rule, and there’s a chance he might even be the wielder of a third when we meet him again.
When he first meets our crew in chapter 223, they imply that he isn’t just a singular person but rather a “they.” Many believed it could simply be a shoutout to his crew scattered across the town. Yet, we get more hints that something is different about the wielder of the Yami Yami no Mi, the Darkness fruit. The moment he stole Whitebeard’s Gura Gura no Mi, the Quake fruit, and used it alongside his first fruit broke everything we know about the established rules of this franchise. It also added more questions to the earlier comments on him being more than one person.
The reason there’s strong evidence for Blackbeard to one day own a third Devil fruits lies in the use of the number three throughout the franchise. Oda is infamous for using numbers in creative ways, such as Luffy repeatedly receiving the 59. In Japanese, they get pronounced as “Gomu,” which is the Japanese word for rubber. The three connection exists in Teach’s design and prominently jolly roger, which consists of three skulls. He also wields three pistols, and, after the time skip, he has three braids in his beard. The number also exists in how many types of Devil Fruit exist in this world, Paramecia, Logia, and Zoan. He currently possesses the Logia fruit of darkness and the Paramecia fruit of quake. So, naturally, it seems likely he’ll gain access to a Zoan fruit ahead of the final confrontation with Luffy.
So, we know the likelihood of what fruit he’ll gain, but the question remains which one. Popular theories believe he’ll steal his last fruit from the current Wano arc and take over Kaido’s Uo Uo no Mi (Model: Seiryu). Yet, it would be strange to have Luffy fight another dragon after being the main focus of this arc. Plus, we already have Momonosuke with the same abilities, which would make his inclusion repetitive. Yet, at the same time, it would be in line with the use of threes in the series. Yet, the path of it being a mythical Zoan doesn’t seem so out of this realm. YouTuber 333VIL believed that the three might correlate to a Kraken-type Devil Fruit, as octopi possess three hearts.
In the Enies Lobby arc, Jabra thought he’d exploded if he is near the literal fruit as a devil might jump out of his body. So, perhaps a person requires multiple hearts to resist the curse of inhabiting more than one fruit. Yet, it still opens up why his jolly roger highlights three skulls. We learn that Teach doesn’t sleep, which would match up with how octopuses sleep in intervals of seconds. That would explain why people believe he is never fully asleep. Yet, one could easily also use the fact that he may inhabit multiple personalities to circumvent that. There just hasn’t been a time where we witnessed any personality changes throughout the series or a real hint at him possessing a devil fruit before he joins the Whitebeard pirates.
The final and a personal favorite theory is that he most likely will have the mystical Zoan fruit modeled after Cerberus. Not only would the three heads match his flag, but it also might add to the revelation of what exactly is so special about this pirate. There’s also the theming we’ve seen with past Emperors. Kaido has a strong following of dinosaur-themed Zoan users, while Big Mom’s crew utilizes food-related abilities. Blackbeard’s crew are more varied, but one prominent member wields a dog fruit, the Inu Ino no Mi, of the Kyubi no Kitsune model. Her prominence as the first real new fruit reveal could be a subtle hint at the correlation. It’s also one of the more recurring fruit variants throughout the series.
What adds a curious layer to him possessing three personalities is that his inspiration, the real-life Blackbeard pirate Edward Teach, was split into three characters. Edward Newgate, also known as Whitebeard, Blackbeard and the man he murdered for the Yami Yami no Mi, Thatch. It further creates a connection between the three characters that make up “Blackbeard” in this series. Perhaps Oda creates a parallel that this Blackbeard splits up into three characters, which could best get brought to the forefront by giving him three literal heads like a Cerberus. He also would be protecting the “Gates to Hell” as the last milestone before Luffy and his crew uncover Laugh Tale.
There’s one last aspect that might add some credence to the Cerberus theory. Throughout the Straw Hats travels, Usopp’s various lies seem to always come true at one point. We’ve seen it most notably with the giant goldfish on Little Garden. In an early flashback, we see the Usopp pirates hunting down a poor dog, as he calls it a Cerberus. In Thriller Bark, we do meet one that has a fox head. It’s a curious detail that not only works for a fun joke but also to grab our attention that he’s not fully formed. So, technically it’s not a true “Cerberus” but could act as foreshadowing. It could be a way to distract viewers from the creature’s actual debut later down the road.
It’s still speculation for now as One Piece is still wrapping up its story on Wano. Elbaf seems like a safe bet for their next destination before the story enters its final arc. While we don’t know if Blackbeard will make his move on the island of the giants, he is likely to make his grand return soon now that Luffy is potentially taking down both Kaido and Big Mom. Yet, it seems like a fitting location to uncover his final fruit as it’s also the home to Shanks, who also has an element three inflicted upon him by Teach. The iconic three scars on his face inflicted upon him at some point may hint at there being something Shanks isn’t telling the world about this very dangerous pirate.