What post-wano filler episodes might look like

With the Straw Hat Pirates finally out of Wano, it looks like they might have some time before they reach their next destination. Toei-Animation could take that time gap to tell non-canon stories. However, the precise content of these stories is difficult to imagine. Following Wano is the final saga of A play. Padding was one thing when the series was closer to its midpoint, but things are different now. The Straw Hats should get closer to Laugh Tale, and the only real challenges left for them are the main forces in the world. Whether Toei wants to fill in the time between major arcs in the future, they’re going to have to get creative with that.


Part of what will make crafting a post-Wano filler difficult is the power of the Straw Hats. In the past, it was pretty easy to pit them against a nameless pirate crew, since they weren’t that big themselves. Now that they’re definitely one of the strongest crews in the world, there aren’t many who can reasonably challenge them.

Charge antagonists must be able to fulfill a few basic criteria. They don’t have to pose the same threat as the canon antagonists. They should, however, be tough enough to at least make the Straw Hats sweat, especially the tougher members like Luffy and Zoro. A good antagonist would also need a good reason to stay under the radar despite being strong enough to challenge an Emperor level crew. On top of that, they’ll likely need to be surrounded by equally powerful allies who can keep the rest of the Straw Hats busy. Also, it is not necessary, but strong motivations and emotions are highly recommended; a backstory could also help with this.

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One possibility for the Straw Hats is to battle veteran pirates. They would be the kind of pirates who have been sailing since the days of Gol D Roger but have fallen into disuse in the new era; a good example of this would be Shiki the Golden Lion. There should be plenty of these pirates who still have a lot of fighting to do. What’s interesting about these types of filler pirates is how many there have been in the past. However, despite being from Roger’s time, Luffy and co. were strong enough to face them. Leaving Wano, it’s the straw hats which finally became a logical and reasonable challenge for these legendary pirates.

Older pirates can come from anywhere. Some of them might be former Pirate Warlord candidates. The meaning of a warlord has had a funny way of keeping pace with Luffy’s rapid growth in the series. Now that the title involves pirates who are worth billions of Berries, a candidate for this position would certainly be enough to give the Straw Hats a hard time.

Other veteran pirates could be found among the many escapees from Impel Down Level 6. Truth be told, this plot point could probably generate enough filler to last the rest of the series. The idea that so many of history’s most diabolical pirates roam free is far scarier than most would like to think. Besides half of Blackbeard’s crew, he also produced formidable enemies like Byrnndi World and Douglas Bullet. It’s unclear who else was being held there.

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Some older pirates might just chill out on their own little yard like Crocus. If they need an excuse to fight the Straw Hats, it could be something as basic as invading their territory. Wherever the older enemies come from, they could be people who bided their time and waited for the right time to make a comeback.

Of course, the Straw Hats don’t have to be challenged by older pirates. With their new notoriety, they could find themselves being challenged by new pirates seeking to make a name for themselves, especially Supernovas. If the fight between the Emperors and the Worst Generation has proven anything, it’s that the new era of pirates will eventually overtake the old.

The Marines will never be short of vice admirals. The Straw Hats could find themselves up against Admiral candidates or experimental pacifist role models. Moreover, confronting Marines on the high seas has always been more than just a fight; it’s a tricky business where the planning and expertise of the entire crew could come in handy.

Speaking of tricky business, this is another way to challenge the Straw Hats. There are all kinds of Devil Fruit users with dark powers that make them difficult to deal with in direct combat; Uta is a fairly recent example. Rather than relying on muscle, Luffy and his crew may have to think their way around these enemies.

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Alternatively, Luffy could use Gear Five to access anime physics and beat his opponents like that. While this form can technically solve most problems with brute force, the ability to literally bend reality allows for many other unique solutions. This versatility is what makes the form, despite its useless overwhelming power, more likely to be used even in relatively low-stakes filler fights.

It’s important to remember that not all fillers need to have a big fight at their center. Some of them may just be the Straw Hats on an island, having fun interacting with the locals and maybe even joining in the festivities. If a fight breaks out in the middle of it all to spice things up, that’s fine too. That way, however, it doesn’t matter how much the Straw Hats outclass the villains, because that won’t be the point of the story.

Besides the ongoing adventures of the Straw Hats, there could be episodes focusing on other aspects of One Piece world and history. A cheap and easy to Toei would be to look back on past events of the Straw Hats. They might feature some of their greatest moments reanimated in the new style.

Speaking of One Piece new style, it will look amazing on filler content. That could mean seeing all of the dynamic camera angles, fluid movement, hard-hitting clashes, and cinematic direction that have become staples of anime since the Wano Arc began. The idea of ​​non-canon episodes getting this quality treatment is almost unimaginable, but it could happen.

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The anime could also use the time between Wano and the Straw Hats’ next destination to tell side stories. Oda laid the groundwork for many cover stories that could easily be expanded into their own episodes or mini-arcs. For example, there is currently an ongoing cover story about Germa 66 trying to escape Whole Cake Island; this story could easily be stretched to an episode or two. None of this is filler per se, but for how much Toei should help the story come to an end, it might as well be.

With all of this in mind, A play has many ways to take its time getting back into canon history. Hopefully, however, the anime will be paced enough that it doesn’t have to rely on non-canon material to fill in the time between arcs; this type of material should be used sparingly. At the very least, viewers should expect a moderate level of quality from these side stories as they patiently wait for the main story to pick up.

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