When it comes to "required reading" for the new Dragon Ball series, you're probably fine with the basics most people are familiar with. Vegeta is an ambitious dick with a heart of gold, Bulma is the technowiz and Goku is the all-powerful manchild who never learned how to be a good father. The only real story stuff you need to know is contained within the aforementioned movie, Battle of the Gods.
You can rent it right now (or read the Wiki entry, or just wait for the inevitable Team Four Star redux), but here's the gist: Goku and the Z Fighters are set upon by Beerus, the purple Mr. Bigglesworth you see above. As the Destruction God, Beerus comes to Earth looking for a good fight and some entertainment. After some weird comedic hijinks and an intense battle with Goku, Beerus decides to not blow up the Earth and everyone in it. Surprise.
One of the most interesting wrinkles to come out of the movie was the revelation that there were other Destruction Gods out there that are way more powerful than Beerus, but we'll get to that in a minute.
This sequel to Battle of the Gods hasn't hit the US quite yet, but Japan has had it since April. I won't spoil much of Resurrection F here, but all you need to know is that some idiot dickmunch used the Dragon Balls to wish Frieza back to life. That, and there are some new forms in play -- Frieza has a special Gold Mode, and Goku/Vegeta manage to achieve the next step in their evolution.
This new transformation is known as "Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan," which is like a Super Saiyan God that goes Super Saiyan, or maybe a Super Saiyan who goes Super Saiyan God? It really doesn't matter, because blue hair!
Since Beerus is on deck for RF, this plants the movie firmly after BotG, and thus, after the beginning of the new series. It's looking more and more likely that Toriyama and crew will be filling in the gaps between these movies, and then skipping ahead to continue the story after Goku dips his head in wildberry Kool-Aid.
However, there's a chance you might not have to watch these movies after all -- depending on how you read that recent statement from Toriyama, it appears as though Dragon Ball Super might actually be re-telling both Battle of the Gods and Resurrection F in the course of its run. Then again, that might just mean chopping up the movies to re-air on television. Dragon Ball would never resort to filler to pad out its episode count, right?
We've only got a few tidbits of hard info on Dragon Ball Super, but one of the biggest morsels was found on the cover of Japan's V-Jump magazine. Highlighted in red in the bottom right corner, you can see a Dragon Ball emblazoned with what is clearly nine stars. It's kind of mindblowing, considering that we know there are only seven Dragon Balls. The implications of a ninth (or tenth, or eleventh) ball are staggering. How many balls are there, exactly? What happens when you get a dozen balls together? Are the wishes more powerful, or do you just get more wishes?
Fans have pointed out that this may have something to do with the other Destruction Gods that Beerus mentioned.
Champa -- otherwise known as Fat Beerus, Full-Figured Beerus or Big Beautiful Beerus -- was featured briefly in the trailer on the last page. He's the Destruction God of another universe, so it could be that his reality has its own set of Dragon Balls (that uh, continue to count upward).
In fact, that statement mentioned earlier included some plot details for DBS, one of which referred to a set of oversized Super Dragon Balls. Toriyama went as far to say that the plot would revolve around the Z Fighters running afoul of the citizens of Universe 6, which presumably includes Champa.
This busts the door wide open for future plotlines. Will the heroes meet alternate universe versions of themselves? Is the Android apocalypse future that Trunks came from considered another universe, or are there alternate timelines within universes? Does this mean that Dragon Ball GT may have actually happened in another reality? Will we actually get to see Mustache Vegeta in all his handlebar glory? All this and more will be answered NEXT TIME ON DRAGON BALL S.
This one's just a rumor, but a tantalizing one. AnimeNewsNetwork picked up on a listing on Toei Europe's official site that indicated Dragon Ball Super would run for 100 episodes. The page has since been altered, so it's unclear as to whether someone jumped the gun with spoilers or that number was just a placeholder. But if any series can pad out several dozen episodes with power-up screams, it's Dragon Ball.
As of this writing, neither Toei or Funimation have given details on streaming or other viewing options, but I'll try to update this space when/if that info becomes available. In the meantime, you can rewatch the Dragon Ball Super intro over, and over, and over again.