It's been 19 years since Dragon Ball Z came to a close, and we're finally getting a bona-fide follow up to the mega-popular anime. The new series, titled Dragon Ball Super, premiered on July 5th. It might've been a while since you last boned up on the series, so let's go over what we know.
1. Dragon Ball Super is official canon
There have been a dozen movies set in the Dragon Ball Z universe, but almost none of them really "count" because they weren't made with the involvement of Akira Toriyama, creator of the original manga. As a result, the DBZ stuff we've gotten in the two decades since the show ended more or less amounts to big-budget fan fiction. That includes you, Broly. Especially you, Bio-Broly.
That's why Dragon Ball Super is such a big deal -- with Toriyama on board, it feels more like Dragon Ball is really "back."
2. Dragon Ball Super is set before the end of Dragon Ball Z
Dragon Ball Z ends with a flash-forward to a new tournament, and Goku abandoning his family to go train a reincarnated Uub. But as we learned in a statement from Toriyama, the series will begin about six months after the original defeat of Kid Buu.
On one hand it's kind of disappointing that we already know everything turns out fine in the end, because the world is a safe place at the end of DBZ. If and when Krillin is murdered yet again, we know he has to be resurrected to show up at the end of the series. Any stakes raised are rendered invalid when we've already seen the happy ending.
From the sounds of it, Dragon Ball Super might be jumping around in time a bit, which does have precedent in the series. What's still unclear is whether the series will ever move beyond the original ending for Dragon Ball Z, or even rewrite it entirely. Whatever happens, there's one important thing to remember:
3. Dragon Ball GT never happened
Yes, it technically succeeded Dragon Ball Z's epic run, but DBGT is spoken of with... hushed tones within the fan community. Despite a few cool moments here and there, on the whole GT is kind of a trainwreck. Without any more of Toriyama's source material to work from, the tone of the show went all over the place, and the story veered aimlessly from bland to ridiculous, and in some cases, both.
But, as many fans will be happy to tell you, GT was basically invalidated by the recent Battle of the Gods movie, which has the distinction of being Toriyama-sanctioned canon. See, in BotG, Goku achieves a new form, "Super Saiyan God," This form is more powerful than Super Saiyan 3, with the added benefit of not having the world's groadiest golden mullet.
Therein lies the rub -- if Battle of the Gods takes place during Dragon Ball Z's storyline, why wouldn't Goku ever use his God form years later? It's never mentioned in DBGT whatsoever. It's a plothole so massive and inescapable that it can only be explained as intentional. GT never happened. No Black Star Dragon Balls, no Kid Goku, no Omega Shenron. It's for the best, though I can't say I won't miss Vegeta's slick mustache.
Just a heads up, we're heading into MILD SPOILER territory on the next page. It's mostly just a vague plot synopsis that you might find on the official website, but in case you wanna go in squeaky clean, you got fair warning.