Dragon Ball Super has rewritten Dragon Ball’s continuity so much that it may no longer be possible to realign with DBZ’s canon ending or GT.
Dragon Ball Super is in a strange place on the timeline of the overall franchise. So far, its events cover everything between the defeat of Kid Buu and the 28th World Martial Arts Tournament. This should have meant the series would eventually line up with the canon ending of Dragon Ball Z and, by extension, its sequel series Dragon Ball GT. However, Super has made several delineations from this part of the franchise’s canon, which leaves its future uncertain. At the rate Super is changing events from the original series, it could overwrite the ending of Z and render GT non-canon.
The changes Super has made to Dragon Ball all need to be addressed. New characters, power-ups, and places have all been added to the story and expanded in ways longtime fans could only dream of. However, for GT to coexist with Super, there has to be an explanation for what happened to everything that was introduced in the latter. Without that, nothing about GT’s story makes sense, and Super will become the franchise’s new canon ending. GT may have many detractors, but it shouldn’t be swept under the rug, and there should be a way for both continuities to reconcile.
Story Elements In DBS But Not DBGT
The Z Fighters’ strength and abilities are one of the most irreversible changes to the canon. When GT started, Goku’s most powerful form was still Super Saiyan 3. As the series progressed, he and Vegeta discovered Super Saiyan 4 and made that their ultimate form. If either of them found another transformation, it wasn’t clear.
This is where the form changes in DBS become questionable. At first, it was just Super Saiyan God and Super Saiyan Blue. Back then, there was a question as to whether these forms were as strong as Super Saiyan 4. If they weren’t, the discrepancy wouldn’t be that great.
However, as Super progressed, the Z-Fighters found new forms to raise their power levels even further. Goku mastered Ultra Instinct, Vegeta found Ultra Ego, Piccolo is Orange, Gohan is a Beast (literally), and Frieza is Black (and resurrected). These fighters will likely continue to find new forms and reach higher levels. As they do, asking whether Super Saiyan 4 is still the best form will sound progressively sillier.
Super has also made some considerable expansions to the Dragon Ball universe. The Kais are no longer the only types of deities in charge; there are also the Gods of Destruction, the Angels, the Grand Minister, and, at the pinnacle, Grand Zeno the Omni King. These divine beings are in charge of the Dragon Ball universe, the 11 universes surrounding it, and everything in between. This expansion to the lore opens the Z-Fighters to countless possibilities regarding places to explore and people to meet.
Characters In DBS But Not DBGT
The changes to Dragon Ball’s cast also need to be addressed. Before that, however, it should be stressed that Goku and the others forgetting the gods and the other universes’ residents isn’t an issue. It’s easy enough to believe the Z-Fighters fell out of touch with these groups over time. For one thing, the gods aren’t beholden to maintaining connections with mortals with a fraction of their lifespan; Beerus could go to sleep for decades again and not care how little time he has left with Goku and his friends. Traveling between universes may also be too cumbersome to make it a regular occurrence. Even the Z-Fighters in the anime proper haven’t seen their transdimensional friends in years. It’s reasonable for these characters not to show up in GT for one reason or another.
The more pressing matter is how the local cast of Universe 7 has changed. Frieza has been revived (twice), Shin and Kibito are separate beings again, and the Pilaf Gang has reverted to Trunks and Goten’s age. Things like this could be reversed by the start of GT, but it’s unlikely.
The Pilaf Gang’s role in Super is virtually irreconcilable with GT. In the latter series, they’re all senior citizens whose desire for world domination became the inciting incident for the anime. DBS made them de-aged, live-in workers for the Capsule Corporation. The only way for them to get where they are by the end of GT is to wish themselves back to their original ages and return to their dogged pursuit of the Dragon Balls. However, given their complacency in their new roles, they may never return to their evil ways.
Can DBS Still Line Up With DBGT?
Reconciling the current DBS canon with GT would be highly impractical. It would require several leaps in logic and a slew of narrative gymnastics to get things back on track for the timeline. It’s possible in theory, but to put it into practice would be a tall order.
For Super and GT to connect, several things need to happen. Frieza needs to die again, Shin and Kibito need to undergo Potara Fusion again, and the Pilaf Gang needs to be wished back to their original ages. Additionally, the Dragon Team must forget everyone they’ve met, every new power-up they’ve attained, and every new universe they’ve learned about. Some of Goku’s new friends might also have to die. Again, it’s not impossible, but it’s highly unlikely.
That said, Super might be better off not lining up with GT. This could lead to a new future for Dragon Ball that combines the best aspects of both series. However, even if GT itself is rendered non-canon, Dragon Ball should still continue to respect it as part of the larger overall franchise.