Hey everyone! Today, I will talk about a certain character’s role in the story, and how his presence in Onigashima could possibly be related to Kaido’s eventual defeat. The character I’m talking about, as some might have already guessed, is Marco the Phoenix, ex right hand man of the Whitebeard.
Now, let’s talk about our main man for the day – Marco, and what he says (or rather, what Oda tells us by using Marco) in chapter 995 during his clash with Big Mom:
“I may not know what my role here is yet…” Again, Big Mom and Marco are having a brief fight, and Oda goes out of his way to make Marco say what could be considered a meta line, just to basically tell us readers something like “Oh yeah, I didn’t bring Marco to Onigashima just for fun, he has a specific role in this war, but for now he has to keep Big Mom occupied so that i can handle things properly in the other areas of Onigashima”.
And honestly yeah, it sounds pretty normal, I mean, do we really think that Marco is in Onigashima just to hold off King and Queen until Zoro and Sanji take on them in typical One Piece fashion?
Plus, it’s the exact same thing that happened with Izo, right? In a war with so many named characters, Oda can’t afford to bring back all of the remnants of the Whitebeard Pirates and make things extremely chaotic. Thus, he only brings those that have a very specific reason for being here: Izo takes the place of Kanjuro after his betrayal, since Izo was also one of Oden’s Scabbards, so that the 9 Red Scabbards can still be the 9 Red Scabbards for the moments that matter and the various climaxes that we have been waiting for: like the simultaneous surprise attack that officially started the war, or finally confronting Kaido on the rooftop after 20 long years in the clash that represents Oden’s will vs Kaido (it wouldn’t be nearly as impactful if there were only 8 of the 9 Red Scabbards, the literal number that defines them as a group…).
I mean Oda made Luffy wear an additional hat over his strawhat in Whole Cake Island once our protagonists suited up, just so he could make Luffy eventually place it on top of Katakuri’s mouth once he learned that that’s his big insecurity, to hide it from the people that will eventually go there and see him, so come on, do you really think Oda doesn’t have a plan for Marco? There are countless of these examples in the story, Oda doesn’t waste anything (remember how the camel in Alabasta that we thought was there for just gags ended up being actually used to deceive the top officers of Baroque Works?)
The themes of the Wano arc.
The Wano arc is a saga that tackles many, many themes; one of these themes, is “The New surpassing the Old”. That is made abundantly clear once Big Mom and Kaido form an alliance, and we realize that the main players of the arc are the representatives of the Supernova, the in-world term for the promising new up-and-coming generation of pirates. Not only that, but once the fight starts, we see in the title of chapter 1002 that Oda defines this fight as “The Four Emperors vs The New Generation”.
Now, let’s take a look at Marco: in almost every scene in which he appears in in this saga he makes a comment along the lines of supporting this new generation of pirates (the Strawhats):
In the arc in which one of the main themes is the old generation being surpassed by the new one, we have a very important character of the old guard, but on our side! Marco is a literal legend in the One Piece world, and all he has done in this saga is talk about how the new generation will take the spotlight by raising to the top; i personally think, that all of this talk and his actions in this saga, will eventually lead to a Marco sacrifice for the New Generation, for Luffy.
The Final Fight.
Let me explain.
Kaido is Luffy’s final opponent in this arc, just like Doffy was in the Dressrosa arc. I think I don’t have to back this one up, as it is pretty clear. But if we take a look at the situation now, we see that Luffy was defeated by Kaido and is now recovering, while Kaido is still going (currently clashing with Yamato). Kaido has been fighting and accumulating damage for quite some time now: first it was the Scabbards during their fight (although they didn’t do much). Then it was the Supernovas on the Rooftop, each by passing Kaido’s almost impenetrable skin by using their unique powers.
Kaido has been accumulating damage for all of the night, and mind you that these pics are only some of the attacks landed on Kaido: but he still keeps going because he’s the tankiest of tanks. It seems like he’s unbeatable, but sooner or later, he won’t be able to just laugh at all of this damage anymore; Luffy says so himself.
And I mean, he’s right: they are working, but Kaido is such a fucking tank that he just takes it and doesn’t feel that much damage, but as a matter of fact, they are working.
Let’s talk again about Marco. The only person he knows from the alliance side that he still didn’t talk to is Luffy. Their reunion has been held off because it is an important moment: I mean the guys know each other, they fought in the same war and Marco saved Luffy a bunch of times, it’s fair to say that the main portion of Marco’s screentime will happen when he’ll meet Luffy (he didn’t have much screen time for now because he literally doesn’t personally know anyone from the alliance side in the main hall area).
My prediction is that that’s also the time in which his specific role in this war that we talked about earlier will be clear. In my prediction (don’t have much to back this up, but after everything that we have discussed i don’t feel bad taking this small leap), Marco’s interaction with Luffy, which has been held off, will lead to Marco teaming up with Luffy to fight Kaido. Basically, he’ll decide that he will fight by Luffy’s side to make sure that he gave it his all to support the new generation he’s so excited about. (if Yamato is still on the rooftop at that point then maybe it’ll be Luffy, Marco and Yamato vs Kaido).
But Kaido is Kaido. One of the strongest characters in the One Piece universe. They also say he can’t be beaten in a one on one. So this final round will start off with Luffy teaming up with Marco, and together they’ll do some more damage to Kaido akin to the Supernova vs Yonkou chapters. To explain how we arrive at the last point, Marco sacrificing himself, I need to digress a little bit to talk about phoenixes.
In Greek mythology, the Phoenix is a magical immortal creature that raises from its ashes once it dies. Since Oda couldn’t make a guy that literally doesn’t die how many times he’s killed, he looked at that general concept and decided that instead of making the user come back to life every single time they died, he would have the fruit regenerate the user’s wounds, which still fits with the theme of the Phoenix.
But we also learned that these special flames, can also cure foreign bodies. BUT it is made VERY CLEAR that when he does that, the flames are incredibly weaker and can only help the person with their recovery, they can’t grow back parts of your body if you’ve lost them, like they do for Marco:
“My regenerating flames only have a small effect on others” he even suggests to the beast to not do any reckless movement until tomorrow.
This very fact that Marco’s flames don’t work like that on others, the iconic imagery of the Phoenix rising from the ashes and Marco’s desire to see the new generation prevail is what lead me to this conclusion: Kaido is an incredibly tough opponent, so during this supposed final round with Luffy and Marco, he’ll still do some crazy damage to our heroes.
Having estabilished that Marco can’t heal Luffy on the fly, my prediction is that we’ll see a new technique of Marco in action, some kind of ultimate move of the Phoenix devil fruit. Luffy, being beaten down again and on the brink of death, will be cured and revitalized at 100% of his health like Marco does when he heals himself (Luffy brought back from his ashes) by Marco (the Phoenix) who has to sacrifice himself to give all of his flames to Luffy to cure him. But that will cost his life (excitement for the new generation); it is a prediction, and the only precedent would be Law’s Op Op fruit with the immortality operation: this Marco situation would be akin to that, but to a much lesser degree (Luffy will just be cured), and it is the logical consequence of not being able to cure properly others, combined with the Phoenix classical imagery and Marco’s desire to se the new generation reach the top.
Luffy would be able to take Kaido down because he’s now back at 100% of his health because of Marco, while Kaido is not. This sacrifice closes the circle of the “Old making place for the new”!
The theory ends here… Hope you guys like it.
Theory by UniversalNexus