I’ll start with explaining why Zoro was in Act 1 in the first place. 1. He’s a Strawhat so all the Strawhats must feature in this act. 2. He is by definition the Strawhat, besides Luffy, who this arc most pertains to(this doesn’t mean a year of Zoro or whatever, it’s just obvious) so Oda has to introduce the plots around Zoro early since they matter more. These plots being. -The cursed sword which no one in the main cast cares about except Zoro. -Shisui which no one in the main cast cares about except Zoro. -The murders in the Capital which no one in the main cast cares about except Zoro. - The opening chapter is titled Seppuku which doesn’t matter to anyone in that chapter except Zoro (I say these plots are more important because Oda’s gone out of his way to make them so. It could turn out that they get forgotten or resolved in a chapter or whatever but as of now they SEEM more important) 3. He’s a Swordsman and Oda needs to sell the aesthetic so things like the Shonen jump cover of 921 with Zoro and Luffy only works because one of them is actually a Swordsman to begin with. Now the reason Zoro had to be removed from the ending of Act 1 is: 1. Literally all the plots I mentioned above only matter to him so those plots would go nowhere in that scuffle with the Beast pirates. 2. He’s too strong for the ending of the Act to look the same way it did. I’ll explain this. -Luffy has to be hot tempered and desperate in order to fight Kaido which would be very hard to do when he knows Zoro is with the rest of his crew. Luffy has faith in his crew of course but he’s never seen Any of them do Attacks that can counter that dragon beam except Zoro. -If Zoro went to the town with Luffy, he would end up getting captured too and therefore he would go under the same torture as Luffy and Kidd but since he doesn’t have the newly introduced Plot Armor of CoC he would end up dying since there’s no way he would end up bowing to Kaidou and there’s no way Oda is gonna start making it a point to show that Zoro can survive that situation without the Plot armor he literally just introduced. 3. He’s a distraction, just like Law, for the rest of the crew to deal with their plans or either breaking Luffy out of jail or continuing the 2 week plan and since he’s actually strong he will lead the beast pirates on a long enough chase for everyone else’s plans to go more smoothly. Now it’s easy to get mad that Oda used the getting lost gag TWICE in a row and now Zoro is back where he came from already but first of all I think that’s even funnier that he actually ended up back where he began and secondly it was fun to have Zoro around nonetheless so Oda is literally bending over backwards to make sure the readers enjoy themselves as much as possible and it worked for the most part.