Seeing a resemblance between Thatch’s name and that of the real life pirate known as Blackbeard, Edward Thatch, a fan asked Oda in a SBS question if Thatch was based on the real life Blackbeard along with Edward Newgate and Marshall D. Teach. Oda replied to the fan that he indeed based Thatch’s name on the real life Blackbeard’s. However, the similarity is in name only.
Thatch was the only division commander known to be killed before the start of the story line. He found the Yami Yami no Mi, the Devil Fruit that Blackbeard was after for a long time. Because of the rule on Whitebeard’s ship is that the one who finds a Devil Fruit is the only one allowed to eat it, Blackbeard murdered Thatch and ran off with it.
Thatch and Ace were particularly close, as it was the former’s demise that proved an immense blow for Ace, prompting him to hunt down Blackbeard to avenge his friend.
One testament of Thatch’s power is that Blackbeard, who was able to defeat Ace in a direct fight, had to resort to a sneak attack to take Thatch’s life and the Yami Yami no Mi (though it should be noted that Blackbeard was considerably stronger when he faced Ace and he used the powers of the Yami Yami no Mi in their battle)
During the war at Marineford, Whitebeard is seen with only fourteen division commanders, not including Ace, indicating that Thatch had not been replaced.
In Episode 476, a statue resembling Thatch can be seen after Hancock’s first attack.
Initially in the anime, he was given blonde hair spiking out rather than being arranged in a pompadour, had a white foulard, wore a blue shirt and gray pants with a sword on his right hip. Later in the anime, he was given a different color scheme; his hair was changed to orange brown, his foulard became yellow, and his entire uniform changed to a much lighter blue, with his shirt and pants the same color.