“When you’ve become a great pirate” is one of the most iconic lines that Shanks said to Luffy. Without a doubt, Shanks played a big role in Luffy and his pirate journey. But what could be his next role in the One Piece series?
So as soon as Shanks meet the Five Elders, the entire One Piece community broke down into speculation as to how Shanks is a snake and what sort of double agent he is against the Pirate Era. I’ve had plenty of ideas on how he was the one making Roger sick etc but I think I’ve got it.
Everything Shanks has ever done was leading to this. This was his goal. We know within the story that there are those who worship Nika and this is where I think Shanks comes in. Though I won’t say for certain in what capacity.
But from the very beginning of the story, everything Luffy has ever known about piracy has been instilled in him by Shanks. Shanks teaches Luffy all about being a pirate and then essentially negs him into being one by repeatedly calling him weak and a kid.
After the Higuma incident Shanks disappears for months on end to sea, and then happens to come back at the exact same time that Higuma shows up for the first time in months to show Luffy one final lesson about piracy, the one that is most impactful on Luffy as a person.
Strange that Shanks would be gone for months and then he and Higuma would show up again at the exact same time huh? Strange that Shanks insists Luffy shouldn’t be a pirate while teaching him his values as a pirate. Strange that Shanks was adopted from God Valley.
And strange, that a devil fruit so valuable to the World Government that a top tier secret agent entrusted to protect it was imprisoned for life for losing it was taken by Shanks to a village where one child with the Will of D happened to be, and that it got left lying around.
At the beginning of the story this may seem like a plot, but knowing Shanks is a schemer and his position in the world he knew fine well how incredibly important that fruit was, and he would have known that the WG would want it back at any cost.
We view the loss of Shanks’ arm as his bet on the future, but what if it was Luffy’s entire time knowing him that he refers to? The fruit, the hat, and losing the arm to cement in Luffy’s mind the extent you should go to when protecting a friend.
Note again that Shanks appears at Marineford and his first words are regarding the date of the world. Referring to Coby buying valuable seconds for Luffy to get away. Whitebeard and Ace are dead, Shanks only purpose is to save Luffy and make sure he escapes.
Shanks also conveniently manages to avoid an entire conflict with Kaido en route to Marineford under mysterious circumstances. What would possibly quell Kaido’s lust for battle…unless it was a promise of the greatest battle of his life in the future.
In his scheming, he promises Kaido that should he allow Shanks to stop the Battle of Marineford, he will further the growth of his Joyboy candidate and set him in the direction of Kaido in the future. Kaido would be given an opportunity at a 1v1 with Joyboy himself.
Because Shanks knows Luffy and knows that he isn’t ready yet at Marineford and that seeing what unfolded would force Luffy to become stronger because Luffy is a D and his spirit would never be truly broke. Luffy would realize he must be the strongest to be free.
And to become the strongest Luffy must defeat the Yonko. In saving Luffy at Marineford, Shanks set him on a collision course with the Yonko and Kaido. Shanks has never controlled Luffy, but every time we see Shanks he is gently influencing Luffy in a direction.
Because of Shanks, Luffy has the hat, the fruit, and the will to become a great pirate, all of these are things we know the WG profoundly fears or cares about, and at some point that cannot be a coincidence.
So my theory goes that Luffy was never born to be Joyboy, that any D can become a host for Joyboy, and in giving him the hat and fruit Shanks was simply setting someone up who would have the optimum chance to become so. He set Luffy on course to fight for freedom…
And to fight against the strongest in the world and push himself beyond the absolute limit in order to fight for freedom. Even before he goes down Luffy’s main concern is the people of Wano being enslaved. Everything has pushed Luffy to be here and now, at this moment.
And when Luffy, pushed beyond the absolute limit, with the Will of D, the desire to free others, the smile on his face, that particular devil fruit and that particular hat, is finally defeated…Joyboy’s heart starts. Everything to this moment, Shanks has a hand in.
And I know this is all a stretch, Shanks might just be a nice guy who likes being a pirate. But when we change our perspective even slightly it is easy to see this man has ulterior motives. I do note that he sobbed when Roger came back from Raftel…why?
Honestly, that’s about all I have, it’s more food for thought than evidence and I’ve rambled A LOT. But there’s a lot happening and we won’t know for sure for a while I guess, but I think it would be cool if Shanks had been an antagonist to Luffy all along, but not a villain.
Anyway let me know what you think, do you have any ideas of Shanks’ real motivation for all this. But anyway I highly doubt all these coincidences are just coincidences, hopefully, we learn Shanks’ true past and motivations one day.