Today, we wouldn’t understand One Piece without the Straw Hat Pirates crew. As we’ve seen recently in the Netflix live action adaptation, they are the ones who lead the series and bring it to life in a special way. But what not everyone knows is that one of the main crew members and protagonists of the entire series was originally conceived to be a villain.
We are talking about none other than Roronoa Zoro. Luffy’s first mate and the second protagonist of the show, with as many fans as the captain himself, was originally intended to be one of the protagonist’s early rivals. However, Eiichiro Oda changed his mind and soon made him the main crew member.
Zoro was going to be a henchman of Buggy the Clown
In volume 3 of the manga, the author includes some primary sketches of characters who were going to be part of the series. And in them, we see something that catches our attention: Zoro appears alongside Kabaji and Mooji, the allies of the pirate captain Buggy. Yes, Zoro was going to be part of Buggy’s crew and an enemy of Luffy. Eiichiro Oda himself explains this in the same volume:
“At first, I wanted Zoro to be one of Buggy’s crew members. But I thought better of it and abandoned that idea.” In the sketch, we see Zoro in his usual appearance in the early stages of the manga, but with a much more menacing look and a sly smile that has nothing to do with the final personality of the character.
Apparently, while designing the character and his backstory, Oda realized that Zoro had much more potential, so he decided to set aside his initial idea and make him an ally of Luffy. This decision, as we later found out, would shape the course of the series and make One Piece a much more compelling show.