I have been re-evaluating my thoughts surrounding Big Mom and her eventual defeat and trying to rationalise how Big Mom and her crew could come out of Whole Cake Island still relevant. A lot of effort has gone into focusing on the Big Mom Pirates within the Whole Cake Island Arc that it appears logical to conclude Big Mom could be defeated at the end of the arc if certain conditions are met. At the same time though there are elements within Big Mom’s flashback that allows for her to remain a relevant antagonist within the future. I am surprised I didn’t place more weight on it earlier but Big Mom’s connection to Elbaf Island allows for a fantastic entry point to reintroduce Big Mom and her crew in later in the story. Big Mom is one of the Giants most hated individuals, which makes her a fitting and more importantly, relevant, antagonist for that arc.
Excluding Raftel, Elbaf Island and Wano Kuni are the two major Islands within the New World that have been foreshadowed the most throughout the manga. For both those Islands to have Yonkou as antagonist, it would make complete sense and raise the stakes dramatically for those arcs. Other major event arcs would be the Reverie but that most likely won’t directly involve the Straw Hat Pirates, potentially an Emerald City Arc and quite possible an arc involving Space and/or the Moon – I would be immensely interested in an arc focusing on space, especially with Space Pirates being a thing thanks to the Enel cover story. If Big Mom is still to be relevant as a major antagonist beyond the Whole Cake Island Arc, incorporating her within the inevitable Elbaf Island Arc would make the most sense as she holds relevance there.
In Big Mom’s flashback, we seen her kill one of the Elbaf leaders, Fallbeard, which caused the Giants to banish her after Mother Caramel convinced them not to kill her. From that moment the Giants have held a subdued hatred towards Big Mom, only rising above it when their Prince’s happiness was brought into the equation. The Elbaf prince, Loki, fell in love with Lola and sought to marry her. Big Mom wanted to abuse that love to strengthen her position as a Yonkou but Lola wasn’t having any of that. Lola was courageous enough to go against her mother and to follow through with what she wanted, which was to find her own true love. With Big Mom trying to fool Loki and the Giants by having Chiffon act as Lola and failing, the Giants have renewed their hatred for Big Mom.
By connecting Big Mom with the Elbaf Island story, we will have a major threat for the arc setting up the Straw Hat Pirates as potential saviors of Elbaf Island. The reasons for Big Mom opposing Elbaf could be entrenched in Big Mom manifesting a wild craving for Semla, finding out that Elbaf houses one of the Road Poneglyphs or just wanting to strengthen her army by forcing the Giants to align with her after her public display of weakness against the Straw Hat Pirates. Whatever the reasons and regardless of whether the Big Mom Pirates are in fact the arc antagonist, the Elbaf Island Arc is being set up as the medium for an alliance between Elbaf and the Straw Hat Pirates forming. Oda-sensei has invested too much effort into the Straw Hat Pirates befriending the Giants to not carry on through with that. If Hajrudin is also relevant to the inevitable arc, he will definitely serve as a catalyst for the alliance forming. Hajrudin was present on Elbaf Island when Big Mom killed Fallbeard, so he has relevance and reasons beyond his alliance with Luffy to feature within the arc if she were to become directly relevant to the Elbaf Island Arc.
Beyond that, through any destruction that may ensue to the Island, we may get potential clues about the void century. We may even get further coverage on the Giant beanstalk (Giant Jack) we seen in the Skypeia Arc that Upper Yard was impaled by when it landed in Skypeia. If the beanstalk did not grow from the clouds (who planted it?), then the beanstalk grew through the clouds and if that is so we have yet to see where the beanstalk originates from on the Earth. Given the connection to “Jack and the Giant Beanstalk”, the beanstalk in One Piece could very well be connected to the Elbaf Giants, the main Giant clan in the One Piece world. With some of Elbaf Island revealed through Big Mom’s flashback, we got a partial view of the Elbaf Island including a massive ‘tree-like’ structure silhouette.
Another matter we may get further focus or insight on are the differing Giant clans i.e. the Giant clan Jaguar D. Saul belonged to. The Elbaf Clan may have further knowledge on Saul’s clan and Saul in general. Saul referred to the Elbaf Clan as a violent clan, so it would be interesting to see how the other Giant clans behaved, what the dynamics between the Giant clans were like and how Saul was connected to the ‘Will of D’.
Luffy, Usopp and Robin will have the most relevance to the Elbaf Island Arc. Luffy through being Luffy and befriending the Giants, Usopp through his dream of being a brave warrior of the sea and Robin through her connection with Saul who belonged to one of the other Giant clans. The Germa could also make an appearance in the Elbaf Island Arc if Big Mom is relevant given her betrayal their trust and Judge’s interest in Giants. With the Germa 66 relevant, Sanji’s relevance in turn would follow. Additionally, Elbaf may also hold knowledge about the Void Century that Robin can use to uncover the secrets hidden within. If Wano Kuni housed the creators of the Poneglyphs, what could Elbaf Island represent in regards to the Ancient Civilisation? Could the Island house the source of the Devil Fruits (Uranus) or at least be indirectly connected to it? The Giants may have become giant and long-living as a result of their location. If the Devil Fruits originated from a tree on Elbaf, it would make sense if the residual energy/nutrients from the tree caused the inhabitants on the Island over time to evolve into Giants with a life span three times that of the normal human. The residual energies/nutrients may also be what caused Giant Jack to grow so large if its roots are located on Elbaf.
With Big Mom’s defeat seeming increasingly more fleeting with each chapter, it is making more and more sense for her to return in the inevitable Elbaf Island Arc. The benefit of delaying the Big Mom Pirates defeat would be to give the Straw Hat Pirates the opportunity to develop their fighting capabilities to a level where they would have enough experience in the New World to combat the top fighters of the Big Mom Pirates or any Yonkou crews’ for that matter. As things are Luffy can defeat a commander of the Big Mom Pirates but he doesn’t seem strong enough to take on a full-powered Big Mom. The conclusion of the Whole Cake Island Arc will gives readers an idea of how Oda-sensei plans to handle the Big Mom Pirates.