A number of Dragon Ball Z movie villains could become canon in the anime’s future. None of the 13 Dragon Ball Z films released from 1989 to 1995 are considered to be part of the show’s continuity. That of course included fan-favorite characters such as Cooler and Broly, who have made frequent appearances in video games associated with the series.
When Toei Animation revisited the anime with two more Dragon Ball Z movies in the mid-2010s, they ended up becoming the basis for a new series: Dragon Ball Super. The stories featured in the movies were retold as its first two sagas, “Battle of Gods” and “Golden Frieza”.
The new and improved take on Broly has generated a lot of enthusiasm for more characters like him getting similar treatment at some point down the line. And it is certainly possilble that he’s the first of many. More villains could be revisited and incorporated into the show later on. Here’s every main villain from a Dragon Ball Z movie who can become canon, and how they would work.
While living in Other World in the Dragon Ball Z film Fusion Reborn, Goku, Vegeta, and Pikkon had to fight Janemba, a being spawned by an explosion of evil energy. There’s currently no reason for the Z-Warriors to go back to Other World in Dragon Ball’s future, but Janemba could be reimagined as a monster from the Demon Realm, which is another corner of the Dragon Ball universe that still needs to be explored.
Bojack Unbound centered on the Z-Warriors’ conflict with a team of space pirates looking to conquer the Earth. Led by Bojack, their plan was to enter a martial arts tournament in an effort to kill the planet’s strongest defenders. In the end, Bojack and his gang were brought down by Super Saiyan 2 Gohan. If he were to appear in the show, Dragon Ball could boost his threat level in a big way by making him a powerful conqueror who travels across universes, looking for planets to ravage.
Cooler is the second most iconic Dragon Ball Z movie villain, behind only Broly. The character, who has clashed with Goku in two different villains, could receive an entirely different story if he was made the main antagonist of a new Dragon Ball Super saga. In Cooler’s Revenge, his mission was to take vengeance for his brother, but Frieza has since been resurrected.
The sword-wielding hero has always been a well-liked character, despite the fact that he hasn’t been used much. Also, it was implied in Wrath of the Dragon, that Tapion’s sword is the same one that Future Trunks carries. A Hirudegarn story with Tapion could confirm this connection.
5. Android 13
Since Android 17 and 18 are still a big part of the anime, Dragon Ball could one day do a story geared toward them by having the Z-Warriors face off against another of Doctor Gero’s creations. In Super Android 13! they had to battle 13, 14, and 15, with 13 being the leader of the trio and the strongest amongst them. Similar to how he absorbed 14 and 15, a new Android 13 could set his sights on 17 and 18. If it’s revealed that he was activated years ago, Dragon Ball could explain that 13 has been training in secret and biding his time for years. If 17 can attain enough strength to fight Super Saiyan Blue Goku, 13 getting that kind of power may not be impossible either.
6. Lord Slug
The titular main antagonist of Lord Slug was a power-hungry Namekian and at the time, he was depicted as the strongest member of his species. If he were to fuse with other Namekians, there’s a chance he could be quite powerful. As for where he’d come from, it could be that he’s from the Namekians’ homeworld, which has been teased but never seen.
In Tree of Might, his consumption of the magical fruit from the Tree of Might made him a character that Goku was only able to take down with a powered-up Spirit Bomb. It wouldn’t be easy for a new Dragon Ball movie or show to come up with a good explanation for Turles being naturally as powerful as Goku and Vegeta are now, but it could always dramatically increase the effects the fruit has on him. A reimagining of the Turles story could work as a short but interesting chapter for the anime.
8. Dr. Wheelo
In The World’s Strongest, Dr. Wheelo was the mad scientist who transferred his consciousness to the mind of a robot capable of going toe-to-toe with Goku (prior to his discovery of the Super Saiyan transformation). He’s nowhere near the league of any of the Z-Warriors at this point, and for the longest time, he hasn’t felt like a character who could still work. But Universe 3’s team of robot fighters and their ability to challenge the Z-Warriors proved that there is still room for Dr. Wheelo in the Dragon Ball universe.
9. Garlic Jr.
Garlic Jr., the alien being who desired immortality in Dead Zone, is an interesting case. That’s because he’s the only character who debuted in a Dragon Ball Z movie to appear in any capacity in the anime. Following Garlic Jr.’s first defeat, he returned as an opponent in the Garlic Jr. saga, which was a filler storyline. While some would argue that since he did have a presence in some of the early episodes of the show, he should be counted as canon, there’s one huge problem with that: his story contradicts the timeline of the series. Dead Zone, which took place before Dragon Ball Z began, saw Krillin fighting alongside Gohan, even though Krillin doesn’t meet him for the first time until later. For this reason, whether or not Garlic Jr. exists is debatable, with the consensus among fans being that he was never encountered.