One Piece showrunner on approaching manga creator Eiichiro Oda: "I don't think I've ever been more nervous"

One Piece
(Image credit: Netflix)

Adapting a franchise is one thing, but bringing One Piece to life on Netflix is something else entirely. 

A pop culture mainstay, the seafaring adventure spans 25 years, over 100 manga volumes, and 1000-plus anime episodes. With such a rich history, it’s clear the creative team behind the new release have a lot of people to please when it comes to helping One Piece make the leap to live action.

Chief among them is Eiichiro Oda, the legendary manga artist and creator of One Piece. Co-showrunner Matt Owens – himself a massive fan of the source material – tells SFX magazine in the new issue, which features upcoming animated movie Babylon 5: The Road Home on the cover, about approaching Oda for the first time. 

"I don’t think I’ve ever been more nervous for anything in my entire life," Owens admits. "Here was this person who has created this story I hold so much love and reverence for, and I’m asking him to trust me with his baby."

Owens does explain, however, there were some teething issues at the start of the creative process.

"I’m not going to lie, he was tough in the beginning – this wasn’t the first attempt at a live-action One Piece, and we weren’t the first people to try to express it in a new way. But I think once he realised we were coming from the right place – trying to protect this series and create a new avenue for even more people to fall in love with it – he started to trust us."

One Piece, which follows the adventures of wannabe Pirate King Luffy on the hunt for the mythical eponymous treasure, sets sail on Netflix from August 31.

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SFX 369

(Image credit: Future)

That's just a snippet of our interview, available in the latest issue of SFX Magazine, which features animated movie Babylon 5: The Road Home on the cover and is available on newsstands from Wednesday, August 9. For even more from SFX, sign up to the newsletter, sending all the latest exclusives straight to your inbox.

Freelance Writer

Steve is a freelance entertainment and lifestyle journalist, sub-editor, and editor. His bylines have appeared in print at publications including SFX, Classic Pop, The Guardian, Vintage Rock, Doctor Who Magazine, Esquire, SciFiNow, Crime Scene, Empire, Filmstar, CLiNT, Total Film, and Yours Retro, as well as websites including The New Statesman, Cineworld, Digital Spy, Radio Times, GamesRadar, Yahoo, and Den Of Geek. He's been featured on several TV documentary shows such as BBC Four’s The Cult Of… and The Cinema Show and has also co-written the books Whographica and Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Slayer Stats. He currently edit the quarterly magazine Vintage Rock Presents.

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