One Piece: Are Gol D. Roger & Monkey D. Luffy Related? The Will Of D. Explained

Contains spoilers for "One Piece" Season 1

"One Piece's" Gold Roger (Michael Dorman) is the Pirate King who pirated so very hard that he achieved absolutely everything in the world. Roger is simultaneously an extraordinarily central and borderline peripheral figure in the show. His execution day opens the series, so he's effectively a posthumous character. Still, his final words also kick off the pirate era the show's events focus on, so he's technically responsible for everything that happens subsequently.

22 years after Roger's death, the show's main character Monkey D. Luffy (Iñaki Godoy) sets out to become the greatest pirate of them all. He seems to share Roger's carefree attitude and his love of free seafaring life, and even if the viewer doesn't already know that he's the protagonist of the long-running franchise, it's clear that he has a bit of a "chosen one" vibe about him. Combine this with the fact that more than one character compares Luffy to Roger and that the old pirate's real name in the franchise is Gol D. Roger, and it's easy to start wondering whether the two characters are secretly related.

Despite all this, the similarity in their names and career paths — Roger the former Pirate King, Luffy aspiring to become the next one — doesn't mean that they're family. Without going into spoiler territory for people who only follow the live-action show, Luffy's bloodline has been quite well-known for some time, and unless creator Eiichiro Oda plans to pull a pretty big rabbit out of the straw hat, the protagonist isn't related to the former Pirate King. Nevertheless, the two characters are connected through their mysterious middle initial, which is the key element of a strange and largely unexplained "One Piece" concept known as the Will of D.

The Will of D is a complex, mysterious affair

In the world of "One Piece," an initial is more than just an initial – at least, if it happens to be the letter D. Apart from the titular treasure, one of the most enduring mysteries of the franchise is the so-called Will of D. It links all individuals who have a D. initial in their name to a strange, yet-to-be-revealed fate that seems to be connected to an ancient mystery that's above and beyond the show's usual pirating fare. In fact, its true meaning is still shrouded in so much secrecy that fans don't even know what the letter actually stands for. The known carriers of the initial come from so many different families that it doesn't necessarily mean they're related in any way — but "One Piece" makes it very clear that they're a big deal. Indeed, many characters with the initial are capable, powerful, independent, and influential figures who rarely back away from a challenge. Suffice it to say, the powers that be tend to dislike most of them, to the point that one of the highest-ranking authorities in the world has claimed that D. is simply short for "danger" ... which is probably understandable, since pretty much every time a carrier of the initial turns up, world-changing historical events take place. 

Along with the Will of D, Luffy does share a curious connection to Roger. As it turns out, the rubbery hero is the sworn brother of the Pirate King's biological son, Portgas D. Ace. With "One Piece" being the sprawling whirlpool of interconnected characters that it is, it remains to be seen whether this relationship will make it in the Netflix show – but suffice to say, even without blood relations there are more than enough potential connections between Luffy and Roger to keep things interesting.

Will we see the Will of D in the Netflix adaptation?

"One Piece" Season 1 is a setup season with a whole bunch of world to build and characters to introduce. As such, the show understandably chooses to avoid throwing the viewer into the deep end with a concept like the Will of D at this point of its run, especially since its mystery hasn't even been revealed in the source material. That and the fact that Roger is known as "Gold" Roger in the show might indicate that the live-action "One Piece" intends to ignore this part of the lore for the foreseeable future.

Then again, Roger certainly fits the Will of D. bill since he did single-handedly start the pirate era. The source material also reveals that the World Government has fallen into the habit of twisting his name into "Gold Roger" to hush up the interest in the Will, so that might very well be the case here, as well. Besides, the show's future seasons will have a pretty difficult time introducing Luffy's sworn brother and Roger's son Portgas D. Ace while ignoring the Will of D. — let alone Monkey D. Dragon, whose signature green cloak we see in the audience during Roger's execution scene.

It's also worth noting that Luffy is hardly the only Will of D. carrier we see in the Netflix show — the protagonist's grandfather, Vice Admiral Monkey D. Garp (Vincent Regan), also plays a major role in the events. Since the ending of "One Piece" Season 1 sets up a Season 2 adaptation of the series' Loguetown Arc — which features Dragon's debut in the source material — it's probably safe to say that fans will learn more about the Will of D. when the hopefully inevitable sophomore season drops.