The live-action One Piece series has a bunch of hurdles to overcome, but here’s my most concerning obstacle…
Whenever you hear news of a beloved comic or animated property making the transition to live-action, there’s a reason to be nervous. After all, comics and animation are such different mediums from live-action. What works in one may not work in another. This is especially the case with a series like One Piece. While the story is epic and the characters are fun and relatable, the art style from author Eiichiro Oda is pretty much unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
I am not kidding. You need only look at a random panel to see what I’m talking about. In fact, take this random panel from the latest chapter, Chapter 988.
You have the wacky character designs, the huge cast, and ridiculous abilities. That’s going to be super hard to adapt to the world of live-action without making some serious liberties.
But, believe it or not, that’s not even my biggest concern (though it is a big one). Let us cast our eyes to the object of my concern: Netflix.
Netflix, Our Saviors
When Netflix first came into the game, they were saviors. They picked up series like Arrested Development, among others, giving fans opportunities to indulge in our favorite franchises for just a bit longer. Even better, for the first few years, people often looked at Netflix as the place where nothing is ever canceled.
Time has passed, however, and things have changed immensely in the years since then. You may have heard that the sci-fi show Altered Carbon was just canceled after two seasons. The cancelation prompted the response of digital journalist and TV writer Marc Bernadin, and it couldn’t be more spot-on.
“If you’re a writer pitching a Netflix show, and your plan isn’t to finish your story in two seasons, then you haven’t been paying attention.”
If you're a writer pitching a Netflix show, and your plan isn't to finish your story in two seasons, then you haven't been paying attention. https://t.co/uu8NA5z1Qi
— Thiccolas Cage (@marcbernardin) August 26, 2020
Yes, in recent years, Netflix has indeed become more…cancel-happy.
The Honeymoon’s Over
It’s become more clear as time goes on that high-profile series simply don’t have the legs to last at Netflix. The very popular Marvel television shows were all canceled after two to three seasons apiece. Given the extensive history those guys have, you’d think they’d be able to go just a little bit longer, right? Well, not in today’s market.
The reality is that, unless you’re Stranger Things, chances are you have a diminishing audience with each passing season. Furthermore, stories tend to get bigger as seasons go on, and actors get more expensive. This means that Netflix is paying more money for a smaller audience as the years progress.
The result? Well, all the cancelations.
What Does This Have To Do With One Piece?
If you know nothing about One Piece, know this. It’s long. And it’s not just long for the sake of being long. It’s long because the story calls for it. It is a story about a guy who sails around the entire world in search for a treasure at the very end. And by the conclusion of the tale, he will be the King of the Pirates. It’s not exactly a story you can believably tell in a few short seasons. And if you’ve been reading the manga, you know things only get bigger and bigger in scope.
So, what does this mean? It means that One Piece is a HUGE risk. It’s going all-in. It will need to become the next Stranger Things. If it doesn’t, it won’t last two seasons. And if it doesn’t last two seasons, audiences won’t get to see anywhere near the conclusion of Monkey D. Luffy’s journey.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m still very concerned about the cartoony aspects being adapted for live-action. I have no idea how they’ll do this believably. No idea. But it almost feels like the very core of One Piece’s story — slow escalation of scope over the course of hundreds of episodes — isn’t necessarily best for the Netflix model. Unless it’s a huge hit.
So, while we will be getting live-action One Piece, we may only be getting the slightest hints of a story before Netflix pulls it altogether. And that…is disappointing.
What do you think? Do you think the core nature of the One Piece narrative is a huge potential problem for the live-action Netflix adaptation? Let us know in the comments down below!
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