One Piece: What Is the Meaning of Blackbeard’s Flag?
Probably the main villain of the series’ final arc, Blackbeard is a character despised by all. Marshall D. Teach, aka Blackbeard, is the captain of the Blackbeard Pirates in One Piece, a former member of the 2nd Division of the Whitebeard Pirates, and, like Luffy, has the goal of becoming the Pirate King; he is also an Emperor of the Sea and a former Warlord of the Sea. In terms of his actions and especially his values, Blackbeard is often the exact opposite of Luffy, which is why people hate him so much. In this article, we will focus on his crew as we will explain the meaning behind the Jolly Roger (flag) of the Blackbeard Pirates.
Blackbeard’s Jolly Roger is a simple black flag with three scowling skulls: one looking to the left, one looking forward, and one looking to the right. There is also an intersected set of bones, more than the usual two. The exact symbolism of the flag has not been explained, but people assume it could have something to do with Blackbeard’s multiple personalities or his Devil Fruits, but nothing has been proven.
The rest of this article will tell you a bit about the Blackbeard Pirates, as well as some theories surrounding their Jolly Roger. As we have said, nothing has been confirmed in this aspect, so the Jolly Roger is still a mystery, but there are some theories, and we are going to present them to you here. Some minor spoilers might be present.
Blackbeard’s pirates are loathed by everyone
The Blackbeard Pirate Gang is the pirate gang led by Marshall D. Teach, also known as the Kurohige. The gang first appears after Blackbeard escapes from Whitebeard’s band of pirates after murdering Thatch to take his Yami Yami no Mi. His escape takes the gang to the former kingdom of Drum, which then leads the king of the land of Wapol to flee with his army and the last of the doctors. The gang continues on their path, which, like the Mugiwara gang, eventually leads them to Jaya.
While Laffitte is in Mary Geoise to propose Blackbeard as a replacement for Sir Crocodile and his post of a Warlord of the Sea, Blackbeard sees Luffy’s bounty of ฿100 million and decides to capture him and Zoro, who is up for ฿60 million; he thinks that capturing the two of them would be beneficial for him. Luffy’s gang escapes from Blackbeard and his crew with the Knock Up Stream, which takes them to Skypiea while Blackbeard’s raft is sunk due to the natural disaster.
Just before Enies Lobby falls, the gang meets Portgas D. Ace, who is tasked with avenging Thatch’s death. The captain manages to surprise his former commander with his dark powers, capture him and hand him over to the navy. Safeguarded by Blackbeard’s status, the gang now remains unmolested and, just hours before Ace’s scheduled execution, captures a Navy warship and takes them to Impel Down, where Luffy is trying to free his brother.
The gang “appreciates” Ace to his younger brother, who lashes out at Blackbeard out of anger but is stopped by Jinbe. After Blackbeard’s gang has gone deeper into level 4, they meet the warden of the naval prison Magellan, who unceremoniously poisons everyone with his Devil Fruit powers and then leaves them to themselves.
Alongside Marshall D. Teach, other members of the Blackbeard Pirates include Doc Q, Stronger, Laffitte, Jesus Burgess, Van Augur, Shiryu, Sanjuan Wolf, Vasco Shot, Catarina Devon, Avalo Pizarro, Kuzan, Kikipatsu, Maki, and Tori.
Theories surrounding the flag of the Blackbeard Pirates
Now, as we have said above, Blackbeard’s Jolly Roger is a simple black flag with three scowling skulls: one looking to the left, one looking forward, and one looking to the right. There is also an intersected set of bones, more than the usual two. The flag looks like this:
Now, this flag has a rather unusual structure, and its exact symbolism has not (yet) been explained. If you know your One Piece Jolly Rogers, you’ll certainly know that this one is specific in more ways than one, and many fans are actually wondering what it means, what it has so many bones, and why there are three skulls on it, as well as what the skulls represent. Eiichiro Oda has not provided us with an official explanation, but some theories surround this.
The first theory suggests that the three skulls represent Blackbeard’s multiple personalities. Namely, Luffy, on one occasion, referred to Blackbeard as Them and not Him, suggesting that there are more personalities inside that fat body, more than one. Also, on several occasions, Blackbeard has been portrayed as lacking teeth (one and two, depending on the drawing) or having all of his teeth. This might just be a drawing error on Oda’s side, but it could also be a hint and a symbolic representation of the three Blackbeards that actually exist. This is the first theory.
The second theory states that the three heads symbolize Blackbeard’s three main victims. One would represent Thatch, Blackbeard’s first major victim and whose Yami Yami no Mi he stole. The second would represent Whitebeard, whom Blackbeard killed and whose Devil Fruit he also stole, while the third would represent an as-of-yet unknown victim whose Devil Fruit Blackbeard might also steal in the future.
This would also somewhat fit the mold, as Blackbeard already broke all natural laws by having two Devil Fruits, which was explained by the fact that he had probably split his soul into two; with a third Devil Fruit, he would also complete the symbolism of his flag as he would probably have to split his soul into three parts.
The Devil Fruits are also often used to explain the flag’s meaning, with each skull representing one Devil Fruit that Blackbeard has or will have in the future. This one seems a bit far-fetched, but if you combine it with all the other ones, they make up for quite a nice story. There is also a theory suggesting that Blackbeard ate the so-called Cerberus Devil Fruit, but no precise evidence suggests this theory could be true.
So, as we have said, the first three theories make up for quite a nice story, we have to be honest, and they could actually explain the symbolism of Blackbeard’s flag. But, knowing Eiichiro Oda, it is not unlikely that he will provide us with a completely random explanation that makes sense but has absolutely nothing to do with any of these theories or that he will never provide us with an explanation at all, probably because there isn’t any exact backstory behind the flag.
Be that as it may, Blackbeard’s Jolly Roger will remain one of the more specific ones in the series. Fans will have to speculate about its symbolism a bit more before Oda reveals it if he even decides to do so. Maybe there’ll be an SBS where he’ll be asked to explain the meaning – who knows? Until then, we hope that you have enjoyed our text and that it has helped you understand the issue at hand a bit better.