I never really believed Shanks was evil, until just recently. When I saw the story unfold and explain the truth pretty clearly before our eyes. In my opinion, the past few chapters have revealed a pretty clear and striking revelation. Shanks is “evil” (or an opposition to the Straw Hat at the very least, with his own agenda and dream he’s not willing to give up) and it’s pretty clear what his motivations are now.

The main thing that triggered this for me was asking myself a simple question…

Why on earth has Shanks been waiting so long? Why has he waited 12 years, for something Luffy has almost achieved in a matter of 2 years? Why hasn’t he done anything yet? Why now?

And well, the answer has become very very clear, he was waiting for the emergence of Joy Boy.

Shanks obviously knew the true identity of the Gomu Gomu no Mi, and the importance of Joy Boy’s role in obtaining the One Piece (what exactly that role is, we are yet to find out). Whether he planned to consume it himself or not is unknown, but that’s certainly the one and only reason he had it.

So, back to the question of, What has Shanks been waiting for, and why has he taken THIS long to make a move? Because he had no other choice.

Luffy ate Shanks’s key to the One Piece. Shanks has been waiting this entire time for Joy Boy to emerge, because he knows that’s the only way he can get the One Piece. (Which is why he had to save Luffy at any cost.)

On a further note, I also believe this is why Shanks went to Marineford, to ensure Luffy’s survival. And why Shanks was at Wano, to ensure Luffy’s survival. He has closely been monitoring Luffy for a damn reason. But he has likely been keeping his distance too, so Luffy can grow on his own terms and unlock his proper potential. He’s just been there, ready, at very crucial moments.

I do believe Shanks only intervened when he believed Luffy was in danger (and we now know he can observe people from a very far distance, and can likely see into the future also, so he likely knew when and only when Luffy was in danger.)

Throughout the series Shanks has sort of been shown as someone who cares strongly for keeping the peace, interfering in matters that wouldn’t really matter to him otherwise, but every time he has interfered it has been closely related to Luffy, and Luffy alone. He didn’t want Ace to go after Blackbeard because he knew it would involve Luffy. There’s not really a single thing Shanks has done so far that can be explained outside of relating to Luffy.

Shanks has had an ulterior motive, Shanks has his own ambitions. He has done everything he has done for a reason. He didn’t just set out to sea and form his own crew so he could just be there to cheer somebody else on, or to be some “good guy”. He has his own aspirations and his own agenda and his own motivation and desire to achieve it.

Like almost all major characters in One Piece, yes, Shanks has his own dream. (Oda didn’t just put him in the story to react to Luffy’s wanted posters lmao. What a waste of potential that would be). He is a brilliant tactician and we have witnessed him hard at work (often very cunning and creative) to achieve his own plans and his overall one true goal.

So it’s no coincidence. Shanks didn’t just decide to go after the One Piece now because Oda wanted to make things interesting, if you think this timing is random then you would be gravely mistaken.

Shanks has had to wait 12 years for this, and the moment he’s been waiting for is finally here. He can finally go after the One Piece, and unfortunately his key to that is, Luffy.

Personally I don’t think Shanks is as morally abhorrent as some of the pirates we have seen in the series, and he was willing to be overall kind to Luffy, but when Luffy ate that fruit, Luffy put himself in the way of Shanks and his dream, and it left him with no other option, literally.

Also, someone might say that if Shanks really wanted the Gomu Gomu No Mi, he could’ve let child Luffy die though. The fruit would have respawned in the nearest fruit, which he could’ve easily secured. But Hito Hito no Mi: Model Sun God Nika CHOOSES the person.

The fruit hasn’t awakened for centuries! Luffy eating the Gomu Gomu no Mi was out of the blue! Shanks having advanced future sight must have seen Luffy having the best chance to awaken the fruit. So, letting Luffy die and get another person to awaken the fruit can mean another few centuries before it happen. He can’t take that gamble. Nika “choosing Luffy” right at that time, Shanks took the gamble.

I think either way, finally, we have confirmation of what role Shanks will play in the story, one that some of us probably weren’t expecting, but an interesting twist all the same.

Obviously it’s hard to get the exact details correct, and I understand things are subject to change, but I am fairly confident in this theory coming to pass in one way or the other, at least in parts. And the one thing I am 100% sure of is that Shanks was waiting for Luffy, because he had to. As for the rest, we will see, but imo this is all highly likely.

Move over Imu, Blackbeard, Shanks is gonna be the final Villain. (Well Idk about final but we’ll see lmao).

Either way,

Is everyone ready for Luffy Vs Shanks?

TLDR: There is no coincidence in the timing of Shanks announcing it was time to go for the One Piece. He hasn’t just spent the last 12 years sitting around because he feels like it. He has spent the last 12 years waiting because he has had to. Luffy ate the key to the One Piece. Shanks has had to wait these 12 long years for Joy Boy to emerge, and as SOON as he has, Shanks now knows he can finally go for the One Piece, Luffy being his literal key, because there was no other way for him to do so. Which, of course, will likely lead to Shanks being a major antagonist, and Luffy Vs Shanks is now most likely closely imminent, either as the final opponent, or a very major one all the same.

Theory by Callingthewall (https://www.reddit.com/user/Callingthewall)