On the heels of its splashy debut, the producers behind Netflix’s “One Piece” say scripts for a possible Season 2 are completed and that the next season could be “ready to air” in a year, once production is able to begin.
“We’ve got scripts ready,” Marty Adelstein, CEO of Tomorrow Studios, which produces the live-action “One Piece” in partnership with manga creator Eiichiro Oda and publisher Shueisha, told Variety Thursday.
Though production on a potential second season would not be able to begin until the SAG-AFTRA strike against the AMPTP has been resolved, Tomorrow Studios president Becky Clements says once they’re allowed to get going again, Season 2 could launch as early as next year.
“Realistically, hopefully, a year away, if we move very quickly, and that is a possibility,” Clements said. “Somewhere between a year and 18 months, we could be ready for air.”
Showrun by Matt Owens and Steven Maeda, “One Piece” takes place in a fantastical world where pirates and marines battle for control over the Blue Sea. Young boy Monkey D. Luffy (Iñaki Godoy) grows up aspiring to be the next king of the pirates, despite his inability to swim — a side effect of the magical “Gum Gum” Devil Fruit he ate as a child, which gave him an extraordinarily stretchy body as a gift from the sea, along with the curse that he cannot survive in its waters. In Luffy’s journey through the East Blue section of the sea while looking for the famed “one piece” treasure of Pirate King Gold Roger (Michael Dorman), the first saga of the “One Piece” manga, Luffy secures his ship, the Going Merry, and a ragtag team of sailors he calls his Straw Hat Pirates, named for his iconic straw hat.
While Netflix has already touted the success of “One Piece’s” Season 1 launch on its weekly Top 10 list, where it came in at No. 1 on the English-language TV series after its first four days of availability with 18.5 million views, word on a Season 2 renewal has not yet arrived. But Adelstein and Clements say all signs point to a pickup at the moment.
“They keep it, as you know, close to the vest until post-launch,” Clements said. “But with Netflix’s support of the title, we expected it to be number one and we sensed their research and algorithms probably saw the possibility for that. But in our subsequent calls post-launch, we have been told that we have exceeded expectations, which is also fantastic.”
Netflix did not respond to request for comment on status of a “One Piece” Season 2 renewal.
The win is a big one for Tomorrow Studios, which suffered a less than successful launch of its live-action adaptation of “Cowboy Bebop” for Netflix, with that series being canceled less than a month after it premiered in 2021. The execs expect a better fate for “One Piece.”
“I think [Netflix is] looking at various situations about how many episodes they do, do they break them up?” Adelstein said. “I think they’re trying to figure that out this week. I suspect we’ll hear from them in the next week to two weeks. There seems to be a big impetus to keep this going and to come up with a long-term strategy. So we’re just waiting for that.”
Adelstein says the next step to proving “One Piece,” which “plays like a huge $250 million tentpole movie,” deserves a second season is sustaining those initial big viewership numbers by bringing in audiences that weren’t familiar with the manga or anime its based on prior to launch and wouldn’t have tuned in right away.
“I think what it would need to do, and it’s been doing, is broadening out,” Adelstein said. “We’re getting a lot of family viewing and that is really the key, is to bring in the non-fans and people who aren’t aware of the IP because the show stands on its own and you get people to watch it and people really love it.”
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