Th next Dragon Ball movie — the 20th in the long-running franchise — is called Dragon Ball Super: Broly, Toei Animation announced. Its release later this year marks both the first film based on Dragon Ball Super and the anime’s continuation, months after its abrupt end earlier this year.
The film will again star Dragon Ball hero Goku and his super-powered pals as they fight against the ultra-powerful villain Broly. Broly isn’t a new character in the franchise, but his return to the series is significant and surprising — the Super Saiyan has long been one of Dragon Ball’s most controversial figures.
While Broly is the major villain in three Dragon Ball Z movies and shows up in several games, he never appeared in the manga or the original, beloved anime. Broly is one of the few film-exclusive characters, as well as the rare fighter not to be featured in the mainline series.
Because of his limited appearances, fans have debated if Broly can be considered part of the larger Dragon Ball canon for years. But in a note on the Dragon Ball Super: Broly website, series creator Akira Toriyama said he worked to fit Broly into the Dragon Ball universe.
While keeping in mind Broly’s classic image so as not to disappoint his fans, I updated him and added a new side to his character, and I think this has resulted in a more fascinating Broly.
As the father of Dragon Ball, Toriyama’s personal reworking of Broly will likely be enough for fans to consider the villain a canonical character. However, they won’t be able to decide for themselves until Dragon Ball Super: Broly is released in Japan on Dec. 14 of this year.
Update: Funimation has revealed the Western release date for Dragon Ball Super: Broly. Goku’s newest battle will hit U.S. and Canadian theaters in January 2019. While it hasn’t been officially confirmed for Broly, past theatrical releases have offered theatergoers a choice between subtitled and dubbed localizations. Funimation said it will announce the theatrical run dates at a later time.