A recent interview with Dragon Ball Super director Ryota Nakamura and producer Satoru Takami has revealed quite a few juicy tidbits that fans are now buzzing about. Those revelations include details on how the original plans for the "Universal Survival Arc" and its Tournament of Power centerpiece differed from what we ultimately saw unfold in the anime.
In comparing the plans for the Tournament of Power to the reality, we also learned that there was talk and planning about one of the most pivotal characters in the "Universal Survival" storyline: Freeza!
In the translation of details discussed in the Nakamura and Takami interview, we learn the following:
- Toriyama's original draft included a document describing what happens to the U7 warriors in the tournament, from beginning to end. This included who Piccolo (for instance) loses to, and who survives to the end. The document included all the main points such as the battle between U7 and U11.
- Toriyama decided on all ten members of the U7 team, including the surprise of Buu being replaced with Freeza.
- Freeza donating his energy to Goku was not part of Toriyama's original daft.
There are two good takeaways from this:
- The scene of Freeza donating energy to Goku after his first Ultra Instinct battle (around halfway through the Tournament of Power) was a nice DBZ callback that wasn't part of Toriyama's plan. The anime shorunners once again fleshed-out their continuity with details like this.
- Toriyama's level of detail in planning the character storylines for the Tournament of Power, and the surprise inclusion of Freeza, is an indicator that the evil emperor's arc was planned for from the start - and based on what we know Freeza will do at the end of the ToP, it's a pretty sure bet that Dragon Ball Super's big surprise ending was likely planned for well in advanced, as well.
- There's an additional note that "Takami personally thinks that Toriyama might be trying to set up further stories with the ending of the Universe Survival arc." Taken in account with the above info, it suddenly looks like some long-standing fan theories could've been on the money!
We have been speculating for months about how Dragon Ball could be forever altered by Freeza's Dragon Balls wish. Now the final Dragon Ball Super spoilers are teasing that Freeza could indeed be the last fighter standing in the ToP ring, so this outcome may certainly be reality!
If that's the case, then the plan for this drastic change would have been in the works since the beginning, leading the question of what kind of story do Toriyama and Co. have for the next Dragon Ball anime? What does a world according to Freeza's wishes even look like? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
Dragon Ball Super airs on Crunchyroll Saturday evenings at 7:15 p.m. CST. Adult Swim airs the English dub during its Toonami block Saturday evenings at 9:30 p.m, and is now available to stream on FunimationNOW and Amazon Video.