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Netflix's One Piece: Who Is Monkey D. Luffy's Father & Why Is He So Important?

Contains potential spoilers for future seasons of Netflix's "One Piece"

Now that Netflix's "One Piece" is finally out, the streamer put an exclamation point on the season finale, teasing that Smoker has his sights set on Luffy (Iñaki Godoy) and the Straw Hat crew. While that's enough to entice fans to tune in to potential future episodes, Smoker's inclusion means another relative to Luffy is also on the way: his father, Monkey D. Dragon.

Luffy spent most of Season 1 on the run from his grandfather, Monkey D. Garp (Vincent Regan), but he'll have a much different relationship whenever Dragon makes his introduction. In the manga, Dragon gave Garp sole custody of his son shortly after Luffy was born, resulting in Luffy having a similar no-care attitude toward his father. He didn't even know who his father was until Garp told him at the end of the "Water Seven" arc, despite a hooded Dragon saving Luffy from Smoker in Loguetown.

While Dragon seems supportive of Luffy's dream to become the Pirate King, he has much more pressing matters on his hands. The World Government labeled him the "World's Worst Criminal," as he's been fighting their regime for years as the Supreme Commander of the Revolutionary Army. Sporting an iconic face tattoo, Dragon is a significant background character in "One Piece," appearing more frequently in later arcs of the acclaimed anime.

Dragon's story could thrive on Netflix's One Piece

It's common for the protagonist of a shonen anime to have a complicated relationship with their parent. While that's certainly the case for "One Piece," Eiichiro Oda puts a pleasant spin on the trope, with Monkey D. Dragon serving as a more supportive bystander in Luffy's story rather than directly opposing his son's dreams. Although "One Piece" has yet to introduce Dragon, he seems like the perfect character for Netflix to put more of a focus on — similar to Koby and Garp in Season 1 — as they pull back the curtain on the World Government. 

Even in the anime and manga, "One Piece" fans don't know much about Dragon's origins. We know he attended Gol D. Roger's execution and captained the Freedom Fighters, a small military organization that didn't accomplish much. However, Dragon's story takes a turn after the Ohara Incident, which saw the World Government massacre the population of the small island town. Dragon visited the remains of Ohara, paying his respects to the victims and swearing to get revenge by creating an army large enough to prevent similar attacks by the government. Soon after, Dragon founded the Revolutionary Army alongside Emporio Ivankov and Bartholomew Kuma. 

In the anime, Dragon is primarily a background character. However, with the live-action adaptation, he seems like the perfect character for Netflix to give more of a focus to, bringing his story to the forefront of potential future seasons. The series already gave more screen time to Garp, Koby, Helmeppo, and Buggy, so Season 2 could shift toward Dragon, fleshing out his relationship with Luffy and his war against the World Government.