Any anime fans shutters when they hear the word “filler.” In the past, there have been too many story arcs invented for the anime adaptation due to them having already caught up with the manga they are adapting. As they play for time, they rush out story ideas that don’t truly match with the rest of the story, especially when following closely planned projects like One Piece. Netflix’s upcoming live-action adaptation will likely stick to what was set up in the manga, but there’s one filler arc I believe does deserve attention. It’s time to introduce the G-8 arc into the canon.
In 2014, the anime caught up with the manga and had a void to fill when the Merry Go drops from the sky islands into the open sea. So, the team took a different route and had the team land in the middle of the marine base known as G-8. They had to find a way to survive and infiltrate enemy ranks. There we meet the Marine vice admiral Jonathan and his wife, the head chef Jessica. Unlike most filler storylines, it has left quite the impression on viewers to this day.
As it’s a filler arc, there are no references to this location throughout any other adaptation. Also, the mangaka Eiichiro Oda has been very specific about what chapters he includes, as he loves utilizing parallels. Of course, a non-manga storyline would require some inversion to keep that theme alive and well between the Paradise and New World eras. The team behind the Netflix adaptation will very likely follow his original vision primarily.
Yet, there is the possibility of how they can include the storyline. It would be a waste not to explore one of One Piece‘s most fascinating members o the Marines, Jonathan, and further explore their history. In the anime, he is the protégé of Akainu. So, his inclusion would allow the series to introduce the character earlier on. His first appearance was during the Ohara Incident, which got explored in the Enies Lobby arc. They could also tease the CP-9’s existence and flesh out the Marines. It works as one or a maximum of two episodes after the end of the Sky Island Saga. Plus, the season-ending with them in the middle of a marine fortress would be quite an attention-grabbing way to end.
There’s also an existing parallel to this arc in the manga, which would keep Oda’s type of storytelling alive. This fact gets highlighted by a popular theory of the so-called “checkered fate.” YouTuber Totally Not Mark made the parallel between our favorite pirates’ journey on Jaya, Skypiea, and Long Ring Long Land to the Zou arc. G-8 takes place right before the confrontation with the Foxy Pirates in a Davy Back Fight, which writer Matt Owens has openly stated will get included. In a way, the Zou arc already has parallels to G-8. Rather than escaping a fortress they fell into, they need to enter a mysterious city on top of a wandering giant elephant. Also, it’s not the Strawhat pirates pretending to be someone else to save themselves, but its inhabitants, the Mink tribe, pretending to keep someone safe. It works as a parallel even if loosely. The theory actually would still work with G-8 getting included in the series’ canon.
We don’t know how closely the Netflix series will follow the original manga series, as they have quite a bit of story to bring to life. We might even see game stories or films make it into the series as additional entries due to Netflix not abiding by classic seasonal structures. Yet, it seems unlikely as Oda is heavily involved with the series and, as revealed by Owens, wants the core story to remain. Still, G-8’s inclusion might also help define a seasonal arc, as they can build up to the Water Seven arc and keep the massive Enies Lobby for a follow-up season. It’s also an arc storyline that fits right in with any other arc, for some even more so than the Davey Jone Fights. The big twist of that arc would be a perfect way to end that to keep viewers on their toes. So, one of the best filler arcs ever put to the screen might help the live-action adaptation’s structure and remain within Oda‘s original vision. Also, it would just be great to see more of Jonathan in the series.