One Piece fans rejoice! A live-action adaptation of Eiichiro Oda’s beloved manga is coming to Netflix and is gearing up for production as we speak. A total of ten episodes have been ordered so far and will be produced by the same studio, Tomorrow Studios, who are soon releasing Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop adaptation. Here’s the latest on production and what we know so far about One Piece season 1.
As franchises go, One Piece is one of the most beloved and well-recognized manga series of all time. Since making its debut on July 22nd, 1997 in an issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump, 969 chapters of the manga have been published, along with 95 volumes and that continues to increase.
One Piece is also recognized as the highest-selling manga of all time, outselling the likes of Dragon Ball, Golgo 13, and Naruto with over 462 million copies sold. This also makes One Piece one of the highest-grossing fictional franchises of all time, generated over $21 billion in revenue across its multiple mangas, films, video games, and various other pieces of merchandise.
The original anime series has also joined Netflix in some regions. Multiple seasons of One Piece came to Netflix in the US and other regions in June 2020. The movies are only available on Netflix Japan.
Let’s rewind now back to January 2020 when the live-action series was first announced.
What is the story of One Piece?
The story of One Piece takes place on an alternate version of Earth, and one that is currently in the midst of the ‘Golden Age of Pirates’. Ruthless cut-throat pirates rule the seas, and only the strongest have the chance to lay claim to the mythical treasure known as ‘One Piece‘ that was left behind by the greatest pirate of them all Gol D. Roger. Years after the death of Gol D. Roger, a young boy by the name of Monkey D. Luffy has dreams of raising his own crew, finding One Piece, and declaring himself as Pirate King.
After eating a devil fruit that grants Luffy the power to make his body like rubber, it gives him enormous strength and agility. When Luffy finally comes of age, he sets sail from Foosha Village in East Blue and sets upon his grand adventure to become the next Pirate King.
Who is behind Netflix’s One Piece series?
As we mentioned above, the key production company behind the series is Tomorrow Studios. Their notable projects includes Hanna for Prime Video and Snowpiercer for TNT. Of course, the production company is also readying up Cowboy Bebop for Netflix too.
That leads us on to our showrunner for the series.
Steven Maeda is going to be the showrunner for One Piece. His long career has had him involved with titles like The X Files, Lost, Lie to Me, Helix and Day Break.
Among the writing staff for One Piece includes:
- Diego Gutierrez
- Matt Owens
- Allison Weintraub
- Ian Stokes
- Lindsay Gelfand
- Laura Jacqmin
- Jason Cho
- Damani Johnson
- Tom Hyndman
The writers spent their last time together on a virtual Zoom meeting in May 2020.
Marc Jobst is expected to direct the first episode of One Piece. He’s notably directed episodes of Netflix’s Daredevil, The Punisher, and The Witcher.
Where is One Piece in production and when will it release on Netflix?
Official Production Status: Pre-production (Last Updated: September 2021)
Filming has been a long time coming, and if it wasn’t for the global pandemic then we would have seen production start in the Summer of 2020. During that time Marty Adelstein gave some details in an interview he had with SyFy.
Five months after its initial announcement, we’ve got some new information on the production courtesy of an interview with Marty Adelstein via Syfy.
The majority of the filming looks to be taking place at Cape Town Film Studios which has ample space for the pirate ships and according to someone familiar with the production, they have three pirate ships made for the show so far.
Filming is set to take place in Cape Town in South Africa. He also added:
“We have basically all 10 scripts written. We will start casting when we go back. My suspicion is June 1, but we will start doing our casting. We have a lot of names that we’re talking about, and we should be in production in September. We have been working very closely with Sensei Oda. So, we’re going to get started, and this one is very big. I mean, Snowpiercer was a big production; this is even bigger.”
In June 2020, we got word that production (via ProductionWeekly) of One Piece was set to start on August 31st, 2020, and was scheduled to wrap up on February 8th, 2021. This did not come to pass.
However, those plans were seemingly got pushed back given we started seeing fans spotting production ongoing throughout February and into March 2021. You can see some of the behind-the-scenes snaps we found online below:
On September 3rd, 2021 Netflix officially unveiled the script for the first episode. It’s written by Matt Owens and Steven Maeda and is titled “Romance Dawn”.
— ONE PIECE(ワンピース) Netflix (@onepiecenetflix) September 3, 2021
In September 2021, reports emerged of crew gearing up to begin filming.
In early October 2021, Steven Maeda posted that he had touched down in Cape Town (where the series is set to film).
Most production resources we’ve seen have said that filming doesn’t officially get underway until Q1 of 2022.
Cast for One Piece Netflix adaptation
Despite the fact that filming has is now underway, we’re still yet to see the cast members of One Piece.
Various names have been suggested, and many people have their wish lists for who they would love to see cast in the live-action One Piece series.
Casting grids have revealed some of the characters that will feature and their age ranges including:
“Luffy – Age 17, Hispanic/Latino
Zoro – Age 18, Asian
Nami – Age 19, Any Ethnicity
Usopp – Age 17, Black
Sanji – Age 19, Any Ethnicity
Garp – Age 55-79, Any Ethnicity
Koby – Age 16, Any Ethnicity”
On the rumors front, Ludi Lin has been eyed for the role of Zoro. Lin recently appeared in the reboot of Mortal Kombat and also appeared in The Ghost Bride and Power Rangers.
There’s some excellent breakdown of what we could see from the casting in this video by Randy Troy (which is a must-watch channel for fans of One Piece).
Will there be a season 2 of One Piece?
As we alluded to above, there is an immense amount of source material that can be covered in a live-action adaptation. In the anime, the episode count currently stands at 995, there’s no chance that the live-action adaptation will have that number of episodes. If further seasons are expected in the future we can expect to see plenty of filler glossed over, and the story of the arcs cut up.
While the idea of cutting up any of the One Piece stories may be blasphemous, how in the world can a live-action series cover 95 volumes of manga in only a few seasons? Each season may cover the respective ‘Saga’ which has a select number of story arcs.
The first season of the live-action adaptation will cover the recruitment of Zoro, Nami, Usopp, and Sanji and end with Luffy’s fight against Arlong.
Everything Else We Know About Netflix’s One Piece
- The show currently lists a TV-14 rating on IMDb although that’s yet to be officially confirmed by Netflix although was mentioned on a stream by Matt Owens.
- The series is going by the codename Project Panda.
- The IMDb page for One Piece is prone to being updated with false information. Beware!
And finally, while Cowboy Bebop could suggest we’re getting an intro to the live-action series similar to the anime itself, we wanted to highlight this incredible intro here.
Are you looking forward to watching a live-action One Piece series on Netflix? Let us know in the comments below!