The screenwriter of One Piece Film: RED reveals that the movie was initially supposed to star one of the most beloved characters in the entire series: Bon Kurei, aka Mr. 2. In one of the discarded ideas for the film, Luffy and his companions were supposed to invade the New Impel Down prison to rescue Bon Kurei, who sacrificed himself to let them escape from that same prison in the One Piece manga.
Bentham of the Wild, alias Mr. 2 Bon Kurei, also known as Bon Clay in some English translations, was originally a villain that the Straw Hats met during the Arabasta Arc. As one of the officers in Mr. Crocodile’s Baroque Works, he was one of the main antagonists in that saga, but his genuine and honest personality immediately resonated with Luffy and the Straw Hats, forging a bond over the shared value of friendship. Bon Kurei switched sides and sacrificed himself to save Luffy in Arabasta and, later in the story, in the Impel Down prison, where the Straw Hat captain went in an attempt to rescue his brother, Ace.
One Piece Film: RED is the most successful movie in the franchise, and one of the highest-grossing movies in Japan in 2022. Ahead of its release in North America, fans of One Piece are already excited about this new chapter in their beloved saga. The official website of the movie has recently released an interview with the screenwriter, Tsutomu Kuroiwa, who reveals many exciting details and behind-the-scenes facts that will push fans’ expectations even higher. The interview was shared by popular One Piece news source Artur, through his Twitter account. Talking about scrapped ideas for the movie’s plot, Kuroiwa shares that one of his early drafts was a prison break story focused on rescuing Bon Kurei, a beloved character that Luffy was forced to abandon a long time ago in the manga. Bon Kurei is also an okama (Japanese slang for homosexual or transvestite) from the Kamabakka Kingdom, the land of the males who adopted female traits thanks to the powers of Emporio Ivankov, another powerful ally of the Straw Hats.
After Bon Kurei stayed behind to let Luffy escape from Impel Down, he became the new Queen of the Newkama Land, a secret level in the prison where the okama live. However, Luffy always regretted having to abandon his friend, so it would make perfect sense for him to come back for the rescue, even if Kuroiwa admits in the interview that this story would have been “completely useless“. As one of the first openly non-binary characters in One Piece, Bon Kurei is very significant for the franchise, but his enduring popularity with the fans comes from his unique, flamboyant personality and his unwavering belief in friendship and in the “okama way”. After the Kuroiwa interview was published, many fans expressed positive reactions toward the idea of a movie focused on rescuing Bon Kurei.
One Piece has a long history and, over the course of more than two decades, many memorable characters were introduced. One Piece Film: RED focuses on one of these, Uta, the daughter of Red Hair Shanks and a childhood friend of Luffy, but there are many others in the series who deserve a future spotlight, including the unforgettable Bentham, Mr. 2 Bon Kurei.
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Sources: Artur – Library of Ohara (@newworldartur); onepiece-film.jp (Japanese).