From the very beginning of One Piece, Monkey D. Luffy and Gold Roger are fundamentally linked. The two are at different points in the same journey – Luffy is just beginning his quest to become King of the Pirates while Roger’s is at an end, sparking the Golden Age of Pirates with his final words. For the live-action series, composers Sonya Belousova and Giona Ostinelli understood that connection and wanted to emphasize that in their music. In an interview with Collider’s Arezou Amin, they detailed how the themes of both pirates were made to parallel each other’s respective lives.
Collider was fortunate to preview Luffy’s theme, “Wealth Fame Power,” earlier this month which the minds behind “Toss a Coin to Your Witcher” created to fit the tone of epic adventure on the high seas. It is also, as Belousova and Ostinelli said at the time, a reversal of Gold Roger’s theme. It’s meant to be the perfect introduction to the live-action adaptation as it sets the stage for Luffy’s journey in the footsteps of Roger, the man who first inspired him to pursue a life of piracy in search of the One Piece.
Belousova emphasized how the theme connects not only to Roger and the beginning of the Straw Hat Pirates’ adventure but also to how the One Piece anime began, a moment referenced in the live-action trailer. “So, at that point when we were working on that scene, and this is the very, very opening of the season, “Wealth Fame Power,” that’s also how the anime starts.” “Wealth, fame, power,” that’s what Roger says, that he found it all, and everything else this world has to offer.” The theme drives home how Luffy’s desires tie into what Roger found as King of the Pirates and the legacy he left behind. “Our train of thought, you know, we had Luffy’s theme, and we’re like, ‘Look, Luffy and Gol D. Roger are connected.’ Gol D. Roger’s One Piece is the treasure that Luffy is after,” Ostinelli added.
Luffy and Roger’s Similarities Are Emphasized in Their Themes
While they’re on the same path, Luffy and Roger are also seen as remarkably alike throughout the anime and manga. The young Straw Hat is fearless and outgoing, never running from adventure or danger much like the Pirate King that paved the way for him. Even the very hat he wears connects him to the notorious outlaw. Having themes with similar notes, then, was crucial to the composers for emphasizing that their link is much more than just a shared goal. Belousova added:
“Luffy, to some degree, wants to be like Gol D. Roger, right? He has the same aspirations. So, there’s so many character traits that absolutely match up between the two characters. We already had Luffy’s theme at that point, so when we were working on this scene, we were like, ‘How about we reverse it so that there is that connection between the two characters, but then there is also a musical connection between these characters?’ The cool thing about reversing the theme is that in Roger’s case, it goes down, it’s all about the descending motion because he’s about to be executed. That’s it for Roger, that’s it for his character and for his storyline because he’s about to die.”
Furthermore, she detailed how Luffy’s theme tracks the trajectory of his adventure. The track only builds as Iñaki Godoy‘s young pirate sets sail with new allies, like Zoro (Mackenyu), Nami (Emily Rudd), Usopp (Jacob Gibson Romero), and Sanji (Taz Skylar), explores new lands, faces new foes, and gets closer to achieving the heights of Gol D. Roger before him. Belousova continued:
“Now for Luffy, the theme goes up because it’s all about the ascending motion. He’s just beginning his journey towards this great adventure, towards becoming the king of the pirates, towards eventually, hopefully, finding the One Piece treasure. So, there is that parallel with Roger’s descending motion, but then Luffy’s ascending motion. We are ending one storyline, but we are immediately beginning another storyline.”
The One Piece live-action series arrives on Netflix on August 31. Check out the trailer below.