‘One Piece’ Creator Updates Fans on Live-Action Netflix Show: ‘We Won’t Launch Until I’m Satisfied’

It’s been seven long years since Netflix first announced its live-action adaptation of the groundbreaking manga-turned-anime “One Piece,” and with the end almost in sight, it’s now finally going to see the light of day.

In an open letter to fans posted to Netflix’s social media accounts Thursday, “One Piece” creator Eiichiro Oda was frank about the creative challenges, and differences, that have contributed to such a long development. But, he also promised, “We’re in the final process! Right now! Of finishing all 8 episodes!”

However, despite Netflix announcing in January that the show will launch in 2023, Oda suggested that it might be just a little later than that before we see it. “They’ve promised that we won’t launch until I’m satisfied,” he wrote.

In the message — which just so happens to have been posted on “One Piece” main character Luffy’s birthday — Oda also alluded to his health problems. He’s been open about his struggle with illnesses like diabetes and gout, conditions he says stem from long, sedentary hours drawing, and he now indicates that his “expected lifespan” puts a limit on how much longer he’ll be able to work.

“I want to be able to supervise things while I’m still active,” he said. “That’s why I agreed to the live-action adaptation of ‘One Piece.'”

However, Oda insists that the show’s cast and crew are “burning with passion” to finish, and that “we’ll be setting sail very soon.”

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“I’ve been working with Tomorrow Studios and Netflix for quite some time now. Even though they understand each of the characters, we obviously come from very different cultures so, when it comes to entertainment, we have different codes, skill sets and aims,” Oda wrote. “Sometimes it could be frustrating for both sides. It felt like, ‘we’re all trying to get to the same place, so how come we’re not on the same wavelength?’ There was even a time when I thought, ‘is a foreign production even possible?'”

“Now, this might seem like it’s coming out of nowhere, but… we’ve been hard at work this entire time. And now, each and every entity involved is working in sync. We’re finally here,” he continued.

“Considering my expected lifespan, I believe this is the last chance to bring One Piece to the entire world. If we’re going to do it, I want to be able to supervise things while I’m still active. That’s why I agreed to the live action adaptation of ‘One Piece’ back in 2016,” Oda said.

“Since then, Netflix has committed enormous resources to the production. It was announced that the show will launch in 2023, but they’ve promised that we won’t launch until I’m satisfied,” Oda continued.

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“The entire cast and crew, spanning various countries, are brimming with love for ‘One Piece’!! They’re burning with passion, and I’ve reminded everyone involved that this should be fun,” Oda said. “We’re in the final process! Right now! Of finishing all 8 episodes! We’ll be setting sail very soon.”

“One Piece” tells the story of Monkey D. Luffy, a young adventurer who leaves his small village and embarks on a quest to find the One Piece, a legendary treasure that makes its holder the king of pirates. But to win, he’ll need a crew and the tenacity to sail the vast oceans of his world — and confront its dangers.

The Netflix series stars Iñaki Godoy as Monkey D. Luffy, Mackenyu as Roronoa Zoro, Emily Rudd as Nami, Jacob Romero Gibson as Usopp and Taz Skylar as Sanji. From Tomorrow Studios and Netflix, “One Piece” is written by Matt Owens and Steven Maeda, who also serve as showrunners and executive producers.

Oda, Marty Adelstein, and Becky Clements also serve executive producers. Additional cast members already announced include Vincent Regan, Ilia Isorelýs Paulino, Morgan Davies, Aidan Scott, Langley Kirkwood, Jeff Ward, Celeste Loots, Alexander Maniatis, McKinley Belcher III, Craig Fairbrass, Steven Ward and Chioma Umeala.

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Netflix will announce the rest of the series’ cast at a future date.