‘One Piece’ Live-Action Showrunner Talks Replacing One of the Iconic East Blue Villains

one piece arlong

We all knew that there would be changes to the live-action adaptation of One Piece. There are a variety of characters that don’t quite serve the story the way an eight-episode structure would allow. Still, it seems that they have gone through quite a few different versions before landing on the one they currently have according to showrunner Steven Maeda. One big part was also including Arlong much earlier in the season to tie the East Blue together.

A lot of different versions of the show were discussed. Some that were a little further away from the manga, some that were closer. We ended up going a lot closer, which I’m really glad we were able to do. And it really was a discussion about why we were doing what we were doing. And so for example, with Arlong, the idea was, in an eight-episode television season, you want to have the sense that there is some big obstacle standing at the end of your journey. And so to introduce Arlong in Episode 7 and 8 only would’ve felt like: “Well, wait, who is this guy? Okay, yeah. He’s really ferocious, but I don’t really know him yet. I’ve got to get to know him.”

Steven Maeda

Of course, moving Arlong earlier into the story, it leads to a bigger challenge. Having to avoid adding just more characters to a story beat, someone had to be replaced and it seems Don Krieg was the easiest choice given how he’s more a physical threat rather than one relevant to the overall journey. His failure at the Grand Line, which remains in the story, is the one element that did make it into the story.

And so we said: “Hey, let’s move him up. Let’s introduce him in an early episode as a big bad threat that would return later in the season. And then rather than Krieg, who is a standalone antagonist who doesn’t take us really anywhere new, let’s introduce Arlong there instead.” And we still got Krieg in the show. But let’s try something a little bit different so the new audience gets the sense that there is something big and forbidding out there waiting for us.

Steven Maeda

While not everyone will enjoy the change; change is famously difficult to accept, it still offers a clever way to have the East Blue connect better. Originally, One Piece started off as a weekly story with quite a few disconnected stories outside of the surprise reveal surrounding Nami. It wasn’t until Alabasta that the series took on the structure that it famously has and it would be interesting to see if they have an easier time structuring a potential second season.

Source: IGN

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