In just under three years, Dragon Ball Super has come to an end. As a sequel to the legacy that is Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball Super provided fans with even more explosive battles and transformations. We got to see Goku and Frieza in their new forms (Ultra Instinct and Golden Frieza respectively). We got to hang out with Future Trunks again. And, we got to see the potential of other warriors during the Tournament of Power.
That latter arc is where things began to shift gears for the series. Many new characters were introduced (like the mighty Jiren), and older characters made stellar returns (e.g., Android 17 & Master Roshi). Being a hardcore fan myself, tuning in every Saturday to watch each episode, I was excited to see where the show would go. With all these characters and new abilities, it really felt like Dragon Ball had opened a huge door of opportunities.
That said, Dragon Ball Super went on an indefinite hiatus after its 131st episode. While some may worry what may become of Dragon Ball, I’m sure the show will continue. Episode 131 left us with some details that indicate there are events and characters left to explore. We also have a Dragon Ball Super movie coming later this year.
So given how the Tournament of Power ended, and the new movie…where could Dragon Ball go from here?
With what information and story details we have, I thought it would be fun to speculate on what a follow up series in the Dragon Ball universe could offer fans. Please note before moving forward, all these opinions and thoughts are my own, and there will be story spoilers ahead.
First Off, What About That Movie?
We don’t have many details on the movie so far. What has been said about the story, however, is that the film will explore the Saiyan race, and the “origins of Goku’s power”. Rumors have also speculated that the film will go into the story of the very first Super Saiyan. Of course, this leaves lots of room open for interpretation, but perhaps it’s also setting up context for what is to come next for the anime. Are Earth’s mightiest warriors going to find more Saiyans hiding within Universe 7? Are they going to find Saiyans from other universes like they have with Universe 6? Or…could this film possibly provide context for the conflict between the Saiyans and Frieza’s race?
The Lingering Threat Of Frieza
While the Future Trunks and Tournament of Power arcs had their share of antagonists, it was surprising to see how much Super embraced the return of Frieza. Technically speaking, Frieza’s first return (since his death by Future Trunks in Dragon Ball Z), was in the movie, Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F. And it was quite the twist to see Universe 7 go out of their way to recruit him for the Tournament of Power.
While it was interesting to see Frieza work with the Universe 7 team throughout the tournament (and especially at the end), it’s impossible to deny how he was looking out for himself from the beginning. When he is brought back to Earth, we see him try to trap Goku in an orb of destruction energy. We see him there and then attempt to manipulate others throughout the tournament. And at the end of episode 131, we see him with his army, stating, “[…] The emperor of the universe has returned!” It’s pretty fair to say that no part of Frieza wants to be a good guy.
So with that said, in the next installment of the Dragon Ball series, there’s a good chance Frieza could become its main antagonist. I’ve always been interested to learn more about his backstory (and in particular, what his race’s connection is to the Saiyans). We would surely see more bad guys pop up alongside him, but, what if Dragon Ball decided to present an overall villain throughout the show? Instead of switching the main antagonist arc by arc, what if there were “sub-bosses” that appeared, all working for Frieza?
What’s interesting to note about Frieza in the world of Dragon Ball, is the point he makes in Resurrection F. He is the only bad guy who has ever trained, and acknowledges that. What makes Frieza unique, and more of a threat compared to other baddies throughout Dragon Ball, is that he’s smart and cunning. If the series is to continue moving forward, we might be seeing Frieza doing a lot more training, and becoming an even bigger threat.
Goku & Vegeta
Our two favorite Saiyans, and Earth’s two strongest warriors. Both got a chance to shine in the Tournament of Power; Goku reached the perfected form of Ultra Instinct, with Vegeta reaching a “semi-Ultra Instinct” form. At the end of episode 131, during a sparring match, Goku tells Vegeta that he cannot active Ultra Instinct anymore, stating that he was only able to enter that form due to being so severely pushed. Immediately this asks us, is Vegeta still able to activate his semi-Ultra Instinct form?
If yes, then he and Goku would be on the same level of power. When they both fought Jiren, Goku used Super Saiyan Blue with Kaio-ken, and Vegeta used his semi-Ultra Instinct form. Both appeared to be on equal levels, able to keep Jiren on his guard. Given how these two characters have always pushed themselves, there is no way they would sit around without trying to reach Ultra Instinct. In a follow-up to Super, it’s quite possible to see the form return.
While we’ve seen some minor development in Goku’s character, we’ve seen a lot more from Vegeta. It all comes back to the advice Whis gave them in Resurrection F (i.e., what their weaknesses are). Both warriors have made an effort to address those weaknesses, and improve their skills.
Beyond the subject of Ultra Instinct, I’d love to see more character development out of Goku. Dragon Ball Z and Super have done a great job of showing how some characters change over time (i.e., Vegeta and Piccolo), and I think it’s possible for Goku to do the same. After how intense and dramatic the Tournament of Power was, I feel that it could serve as inspiration for Goku to sharpen up. It may be a somewhat risky move, given that throughout Dragon Ball, Goku has always been childlike at heart (and you can’t just take a character like that, and drastically change who they are). That said, we’ve had plenty of moments that have shown us how Goku is capable of seriousness and anger. If we go back to the Future Trunks arc, to the reveal that Goku Black killed Chi-Chi and Goten, Goku’s anger at that moment is enough to create goosebumps. The sad thing is that moment doesn’t last long enough, and eventually, Goku changes back into his goofy self.
I don’t think he has to become this rugged character, but there are plenty of characters in anime who, while childlike at heart, have had some sort of trauma shift their personality. I’d like to see Dragon Ball explore that sort of transformation in Goku. In the way that we’ve seen Vegeta become more lighthearted, I’d like to see Goku become more disciplined.
Gohan and Friends
With that in mind, I’d also like to see the rest of the fighters get more spotlight. One thing I loved about the Tournament of Power is how other fighters got the chance to prove themselves. We got to see Krillin, Tien, and even Master Roshi kick butt! Sadly, the same cannot be said for Gohan and Piccolo; as there wasn’t as much emphasis on their power or actions, which I feel was a huge opportunity the writers missed out on.
It would be great to further explore just how competent these other fighters are. What if Gohan, Piccolo, Tien and company all picked up their training again (in a more hardcore fashion)? I’d also love to see Vegeta get more spotlight. It bothered me in Resurrection F when he was about to defeat Frieza, but then Whis reverses time to just before Frieza blows up the planet, and Goku saves the day. Thankfully, Vegeta more than made up for that when he defeated Toppo. So let’s have Vegeta take the lead in some battles over Goku moving forward perhaps?
In general, we shouldn’t have to rely on a formula where Goku constantly saves the day; all the fighters have the power to make an impact and save the planet by some means.
All The Universes To Explore
Super gave us an opportunity to see what other competition exists within the cosmos for Universe 7. Being able to adventure to those other universes opens up numerous possibilities for stories. We could see Goku and Vegeta taking on mentorship roles for Caulifla and Cabba (respectively), along with plenty of rivalry with Universe 11. And now that the Tournament of Power is over, this allows room for characters like Goku and Vegeta to train and build friendships with the likes of Jiren and Toppo.
But just as important to mention, we have all the other universes that the Tournament of Power did not explore. Given their high mortality rates, there were a few universes that got to sit out and not worry about being erased. So beyond the Gods, Supreme Kais, and Angels related to those universes, we have no idea what their fighters are like. What if there are fighters stronger than Goku and Jiren? This would be crazy to see, opening more avenues to discover new characters, races, and powers.
At the end of the day, this is all speculation. But with the legacy and fandom behind the Dragon Ball series, there’s no way it’s just going to disappear. For a world that I’ve been a fan of since childhood, I look forward to seeing what is in store for Dragon Ball.
What are your thoughts in regards to these ideas? What do you think could happen next in the world of Dragon Ball? What do you think a new show might be called? Sound off in the comments!