Here is my collection of ruminations/dissertation on what Luffy’s dream could be given what we know so far. This includes my thoughts on some of the commonly proposed theories as well as my own guess. Feel free to disagree with me as even I kind of get lost in the weeds and don’t really have a strong argument for one theory over the others. I just thought it would be nice to really accumulate some of the information we know.

First a few things to establish the base requirements for the dream given what has been told to us by the story so far. This is going to be very long so buckle up since I tried to get pretty nitty gritty with it.

Luffy’s History/Basis

The dream is first mentioned chronologically by Luffy to Shanks when he is still in Foosha village. (Chapter 506 “There was a kid who said the same things as Captain Roger”) As far as I remember there isn’t a direct scene of Luffy telling Shanks this dream so we can’t really confirm when it happens, but I don’t think it would be too much of a stretch (heh heh puns) to presume it was prior to Luffy eating his devil fruit and the stuff with the bandits since Shank’s “betting it on a new age” happens very immediately afterwards.

This means that it was a dream held by Luffy before he ever met Ace, Sabo, or explored the Gray Terminal/Goa Kingdom (Chapter 583 Luffy does not recognize the Gray Terminal). Admittedly we don’t know much of Luffy’s history prior to Foosha village so it isn’t impossible that he had been exposed to larger cities/other areas but going with what we know Luffy has been in Foosha village for most of his life up to this point. This seems to me that it would mean that it would not be linked to nobility/class issues as Luffy had not had exposure to those issues prior to this. This is doubly so since when Sabo revealed his noble lineage Luffy’s response is so nonchalant and unbothered (Chapter 585).

Since Luffy held this dream prior to these events/people the largest influences on Luffy up to this point (that we know of) then would be Foosha village in general, Makino, Woop Slap, Garp, and possibly Shanks if he developed the dream during the year that Shanks was stationed at Foosha village. So, unless Garp ferried him around for a time prior to Foosha life I don’t think it is too far fetched to accept that Luffy formed the goal when he was essentially a very young country bumpkin kid who has little to no knowledge about the world at large.

Side note we know that Luffy has essentially no memories/knowledge of Dragon since when Garp brings up the topic Luffy doesn’t even understand the concept that he has a dad in general (Chapter 432). Because of this I think we can safely say that the goal should not inherently be tied to the revolutionary goals of Dragon. This doesn’t remove the possibility that the goals could coincidentally align, just that it isn’t intrinsically built off of the ideals of Dragon.

TLDR 1: Luffy’s dream is a childish one that was developed at a very young age. He has only really experienced life in Foosha village and the major influences up to the point where he developed the dream were probably Garp, Makino, Woop Slap, Foosha village in general, and possibly Shanks.

Roger’s History/Basis

We also know that it is a dream that he shared with Roger but we don’t know when Roger developed it. He did acknowledge that reaching Laugh Tale would make them the “greatest pirate crew in the world, in both name and fact” and that it would be by accomplishing it that he would be able to fulfill his goal. So, similar to Luffy, reaching this island and becoming the greatest seems to be a sort of necessary pre-requisite to accomplishing this goal (Chapter 1060).

It is also very important to note that Roger, at this point when he is telling Oden and Whitebeard about it, does not know what is on Laugh Tale. He only knows that there is a vast treasure that the government is trying to hide. We also know due to a confirmation that the One Piece is both real (Chapter 576 Whitebeard) and from Oda that it is going to be an actual reward.

It is also interesting to note that the words used by Roger in the official Viz translation are “That’s right!! And then I’ll be…” Unfortunately, the words in it of themselves don’t reveal much but we know at the very least that Roger’s goal was not to be Pirate King. This leads me to believe that it isn’t a position or title that Roger had as a goal ala “and then I’ll be Pirate King/The world’s coolest dude/etc…” (Again doubly so since he had already acknowledged that accomplishing such a feat would make him the greatest pirate crew but not noting that as his official goal) but rather an early cut off of “And then I’ll be able to…”

One very important thing that I don’t think we have ever been told is whether Roger actually considered himself to have accomplished his goal after he had reached Laugh Tale. We know from Rayleigh that they did learn the true history of the world on Laugh Tale and that they were “too hasty” (Chapter 507) but I don’t think that this knowledge is intrinsically linked to Roger’s dream in general. At this point Roger has heard the voices of some of the Poneglyphs (Chapter 507) but he doesn’t reference anything about history or knowledge when talking about his dream to Oden and Whitebeard; just a vast treasure and being the greatest pirate crew (Chapter 966).

TLDR 2: Roger’s dream is linked to becoming the greatest pirate crew. This goal is an action/something that can be accomplished, not a role or position. It should not be tied to the ancient history/Poneglyphs since Roger does not know what is on the island other than some mysterious vast treasure. It also has to line up with Luffy’s dream and child Luffy should not know any of that stuff anyways.

People’s Individual Reactions

So, we already have established that Luffy and Roger share the same dream as well as the amount of development that Luffy had (probably) gone through up to the point he first mentioned this dream. Now to quickly touch on the reactions of the people who have heard this dream as their reactions can give us a little more insight into what type of dream it is as well as what their dreams are to rule them out.

Chapter 966 – Whitebeard and Oden

Whitebeard was initially surprised and then burst out laughing asking Roger if he was a little kid. It may be nothing, but Roger also was laughing along with Whitebeard so maybe even Roger recognizes the ridiculousness of his dream. So, the dream is probably not related to having a big family or a large amount of close connections.

Oden was simply astonished and froze stiff by Roger’s words (Chapter 966). This is Oden, a man who was generally very goofy and down to explore and understand the vast profundities of the world. He has also already been traveling with Whitebeard for some time at this point and experienced much of the craziness the world has to offer outside of Wano’s borders. Even with all of this wanderlust and sense of adventure, Roger’s dream still astonished him. So, the dream is probably not anything to do inherently with simply adventuring around and exploration.

TLDR 3: The dream is probably not related to family/friends or simply exploring the world.

Chapter 585 – Ace and Sabo

Ace responded with surprise and then disbelief at Luffy’s dream. Ace already knew by this point in their relationship how wild a person Luffy is but his dream still stumped Ace which makes me believe it is just beyond absurdity. So, the dream is not related to strength or glory since Ace would understand that. Also, in chapter 1000 Ace says with full confidence that he believes that Luffy can achieve his dream even with how absurd it is. So it not completely out of the realm of possibility.

Sabo is very similar to Whitebeard where his is initially surprised and then bursts out laughing. He also directly calls Luffy a funny person (Viz translation) and “Can’t wait to see what he’ll be like in the future.” We also know that a Sabo’s goal parallels Oden as he wanted to be a free person and explore the world.

TLDR 4: The dream is not simply becoming the greatest and being respected or exploring the world.

Chapter 1000 – Yamato

Yamato was initially astonished by Luffy’s dream when Ace lets it slip accidentally. They then excitedly pullout Oden’s logbook and promises that they are not going to laugh at Luffy for having the dream while becoming emotional and beginning to cry. I personally mostly attribute this to the words being shared by Roger who Oden obviously idolized in his logbook and Yamato has come to greatly respect.

TLDR 5: Yamato also believes in Luffy’s dream and thinks its incredible. They also become emotional when they hear it.

Chapter 1060 – Strawhat Crew + Shanks

Zoro, who is generally a pretty stoic guy, reacts with mild surprise.

Robin, who is also stoic and generally pretty unfazed by Luffy shenanigans, is surprised/speechless.

Brook who is generally one of the jokesters of the crew reacts by laughing so hard he starts crying due to the absurdity of the dream.

Franky another jokester, also react by laughing so hard he starts crying while giving his approval for the dream. He also echoes the sentiment that it is necessary to become the King of the Pirates. The official Viz translation also adds that isn’t possible without “at least” becoming the Pirate King, further cementing the fact that becoming Pirate King is only a pre-requisite and that there is something special about being the Pirate King over simply being a great pirate.

Sanji also bursts out laughing and even jokingly says that Chopper should examine Luffy’s brain. Now I know it is in a joking manner but this is still coming from the man who’s dream is to locate the legendary All Blue, a semi-fairytale ocean that most don’t believe exist. He also really holds a lot of importance in the dream so, for him to be laughing at the absurdity of the dream really says something.

Nami simply reacts in surprise and then seems to accept the dream saying it is distinctly Luffy in nature.

Jinbe reacts as if he was not sure what he heard initially. Then after Luffy confirms it he also bursts out laughing.

Chopper reacts with awe and essentially loves Luffy’s dream whatever it is. Chopper is also commonly depicted as very childlike as well so it lines up that he would love such a childlike dream.

The most important reaction I think is Usopp’s as not only does he react with incredulousness to the point of questioning if Luffy is serious. He even says that Luffy’s dream is straight up impossible and can’t happen and it is crazy that he even thought of it. Now this in it of itself doesn’t say much since Usopp has been used in the past as essentially a form of straight man/fun killer when it comes to pointing out the absurdity of wacky ideas but he also is sometimes part of the (with love) idiot trio (Chopper, Luffy, Usopp). So, Chopper’s reaction really kind of juxtaposes with Usopp’s reaction here. Luffy also responds to Usopp by saying that his dream is “maybe” possible once he’s Pirate King. Even Luffy admits that simply becoming Pirate King only makes it a possibility.

For Shanks it is a little difficult to tell since the lines are a little ambiguous. Robin asks Luffy what Ace, Sabo, and Shanks said in response to hearing his dream and he responds “They Laughed! Shanks had tears in his eyes.” This could be taken as Shanks also laughed and had tears in his eyes similar to Franky/Brook. Or it could be that Ace and Sabo laughed while Shanks responded with tears in his eyes which would align with him being emotional due to Luffy saying the same dream as Roger.

TLDR 6: Further confirmation that becoming Pirate King is only a prerequisite for making Luffy’s dream possible in the first place. It is obviously a very childlike and absurd dream.

What is the King of the Pirates

So, I think it is important to touch quickly on what being King of the Pirates really entails and gains you as it is obviously central to achieving this dream. First off, the idea of Pirate King did not exist in Roger’s time but traveling to Laugh Tale still was understood to mean becoming the greatest pirate crew in the world. This could be due to the existence of the vast treasure and the idea that, since it is seemingly the most important thing to the government to hide, being able to plunder it would make one the world’s greatest pirate. Reaching Laugh Tale, an island prohibited to venture onto by the government with a vast treasure, is necessary to be “the greatest pirate.”

Note that nowhere does it say anything about being the strongest. Obviously if you are going up against the government you will need to be strong, but inherently the idea does not necessitate being the strongest person in the world. As Luffy said to Rayleigh, being the Pirate King means that you are the person who is the most free (Chapter 507).

So, to me at least, becoming King of the Pirates means that you were both willing and able to trespass and plunder the most valuable treasure in the world from the main enemy of pirates, the government. That is to say that you are successfully in direct opposition to one of the government’s strongest desires. Very much the essence of being a pirate if I do say so myself.

TLDR 7: Becoming King of the Pirates is essentially being the most free person in the world. Traveling to Laugh Tale and plundering the treasure there proves this fact since it brings you in direct opposition to the government’s strongest desire (to hide Laugh Tale’s existence).

“That’s at the end of my dream”

Luffy’s line “And that’s all at the end of my dream” is indicating something pretty important. What this tells us is that Luffy’s dream is some process/event that is leading to some form of big culmination. Something that would elicit such large reactions from everyone around him. This is further reinforced by Ace also really emphasizing the whole “That’s at the END of my little brother’s dream” (Chapter 1000).

TLDR 8: Luffy’s dream is a process that has an end goal.

To Summarize so far (i.e. TLDR of the TLDRs)

Luffy’s dream is incredibly childlike and something that most people believe is absurd beyond belief. It was developed at a very young age without exposure or knowledge of much of the world. The strongest influences on Luffy’s life up to that point had been the Foosha Village people, Garp, and possibly Shanks. To accomplish the dream it is necessary to become the freest person in the world as a start, but that only makes it possible. His dream also has some form of an “end” goal. Also, the dream is shared between Luffy and Roger so it cannot be solely unique to their lived experiences.

The Theories That I Have Seen so Far

Throwing a Giant Party/Become Everyone’s Friend

This one doesn’t quite track for me as I don’t think it would be necessary to become the freest person to accomplish this. As a young kid I don’t think this would be that hard for Luffy to imagine as his world is so small at the time he comes up with the dream. It also doesn’t really seem like a dream that people would be stunned/emotional about.

Going to the Moon

This is actually a cool idea and I like how it echoes Skypiea as an arc. It also really fits with the whole absurd and incredulous idea. Personally though, I think more of the crew members would have reacted with disbelief (particularly Nami who as the navigator is pretty rooted in the oceans) since space travel isn’t really known to be a possible thing to the people in universe. I know that Enel did it but I don’t think he ever actually stated he was going to the moon always referring to it as Fairy Vearth. We know that there is space travel due to the ancient civilization who were on the moon and traveled to the planet, but aside from maybe the government no one else should know this information.

I also again don’t particularly see how becoming the freest person would be necessary to accomplish this goal in it of itself.

World Peace

This is possible given the fact that Garp gave Luffy some pretty harsh training as a kid under the guise of turning him into a strong Marine that would fight pirates. So as a kid making the connection between world peace as a concept and not having to fight could make sense. It also kind of fits with the whole turning the world upside down idea that Roger told Rayleigh.

I don’t think it is an idea that people would laugh at though as it’s a pretty common moral thing and, again, becoming King of the Pirates doesn’t really logically lead to world peace as an end goal. Especially since we know that becoming King of the Pirates necessitates antagonizing the strongest power in the world which is not super conducive to world peace.

Destroying the Red Line and Uniting the world

I highly doubt that Luffy had such a strong grasp on both the geography of the world and the geopolitics at play for this to be a dream.

My Personal Favorite Theory

Having the Marines and Pirates get along with each other

This is the theory I probably most closely align with. For a kid with pretty much no understanding of realities of the conflict between the Marines and pirates, the idea that they an all just get along and be friends makes a lot of sense to me. Going off of the Garp angle again, Garp obviously really tried to hammer into Luffy the idea that he was going to become a strong Marine and, presumably, fight Pirates so what if they were all just friends so Luffy…didn’t have to do that. I don’t know if Garp would have, but he could have shared some stories about his relationship with Roger with Luffy that could have inspired some of this idealism as well.

If he came up with this dream after meeting Shanks as well then, since he obviously has a very positive view of pirates, he would be able to envision a world where his Grandfather, who he loves, gets along with his favorite guy Shanks. He also sees pirates already being friendly and nice to people in general with the people in Foosha village so he doesn’t inherently see being a pirate as a threatening thing, especially when compared to the harsh training from Garp.

For the reactions from the people who have heard it I think it tracks pretty well. The people who are amazed and understanding see it because Luffy already has a knack for making friends/allies with pretty much everyone. The idea stuns some since it is such an absurd idea uniting two mortal enemies, especially when Luffy has so clearly antagonized one of them. Usopp’s response cannot even fathom a world where it would occur.

I also think it is not too hard to argue that Roger could have had the same dream considering the fact he obviously developed a very close relationship with Garp, a marine soldier. Yes they fought, but he was close enough that he fought alongside him at God Valley and even entrusted his son to him.

It is a little shaky on why he would need to be the freest person in the world to accomplish this but maybe to unite the two he needs to be so free that he escapes the bounds of society itself or something. It also lines up that even with being the freest person in the world it is still only a possibility that it could occur.

Again, it is a very naïve and absurd dream since it ignores a lot of the atrocities committed by the majority of pirates in the world but for a young kid who is unaware of those things, it makes sense given the people he had been exposed to.

Final TLDR: As of right now I believe that Luffy’s dream is some form of having the Marines and pirates get along peacefully with each other. This is from his experiences with his Marine grandfather, the pirate Shanks, and possibly Garp sharing stories of his relationship with the King of the Pirates Roger.

For those of you who were able to make it this far I congratulate you. I know I probably wouldn’t have haha. Any feedback is of course welcome and I’m sure that in a year I’ll be able to look back at this fondly and say “wow I was so off on that one.” At the end of the day this was mostly just so I could get a lot of what we have already seen down in writing so that future developments can just add onto what is here. The actual theory part is honestly the weakest part and I don’t have super strong opinions one way or the other.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this if you did. I obviously love One Piece and wanted to share some of that love and excitement with all of you.