When Dragon Ball Super’s New Movie Can Be Set

A follow-up to Dragon Ball Super: Broly has finally been confirmed, and will apparently be a new story. Can it coexist with the existing canon?

A new Dragon Ball Super movie has been announced, but where can this new story slot into Goku’s existing timeline? The new era of Dragon Ball begins with 2013’s Battle of Gods, set four years on from the final battle against Buu in Dragon Ball Z. Frieza’s grand comeback in Resurrection F takes place shortly after, then the Dragon Ball Super anime and manga pick up the baton, continuing the timeline with a tournament against Universe 6, the return of Future Trunks, and the Tournament of Power. Dragon Ball Super’s anime ends there, but the story continues with the Dragon Ball Super: Broly movie, and then the manga, which adds the Moro and Granolah sagas.

To coincide (more or less) with Goku Day, Toei Animation recently announced a sequel to Dragon Ball Super: Broly. Since Dragon Ball’s revival, the fourth big-screen release, the currently-untitled effort was first rumored in 2019 in the wake of Dragon Ball Super: Broly’s worldwide success. Although details remain discreet, Akira Toriyama revealed that he’s in the process of developing the story and characters, and teased how the new effort will move in an unexpected direction. These comments all but confirm Dragon Ball’s next movie will not adapt the manga’s Moro storyline, and will instead tell a brand new tale. Where (or, indeed, when) can this fit without contradicting the comic books?

Although setting the next movie directly after Dragon Ball Super: Broly is the best course of action, it still comes with major drawbacks. Goku and Vegeta won’t be as strong as they are currently in the manga, meaning no mastered Ultra Instinct, no Forced Spirit Fission, and no Vegeta using Instant Transmission. It might also be odd if Goku and Vegeta experience a major event that isn’t mentioned in the Dragon Ball Super manga, even though the movie would come first chronologically. Lastly, setting the Dragon Ball Super: Broly sequel between pre-existing stories and means nothing of great consequence can happen – no major deaths, no new transformations, etc.

Alternatively, the new Dragon Ball Super adventure could sit between Moro’s defeat and the beginning of the manga’s current Granolah the Survivor saga, since there’s a small jump of several months between the two. This would allow the movie to include Goku and Vegeta’s full power but could risk alienating fans who haven’t kept up with the comics after Dragon Ball Super: Broly. The same problem would apply if the next film was set after both manga-exclusive arcs – a decision that would also ruin the ending of the Granolah saga, which has only recently begun.

The most obvious timeline placement for Dragon Ball’s next movie is immediately following the events of Dragon Ball Super: Broly, but before the Moro material begins. When the manga’s Tournament of Power ends, the Broly fight is glossed over entirely – only a few panels of Goku and Vegeta fighting the Legendary Saiyan are shown, and a text box describes these events as “a tale for another time” before moving right into the beginning of Moro’s story. The gap between Broly and Moro is deliberately vague, meaning any new Dragon Ball movies can easily slot into the gap. Toriyama then needsn’t worry about creating plot holes (not that he has before) for the Dragon Ball Super manga.

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