'Dragon Ball Super': Who Is Broly'?

For longtime Dragon Ball fans, the announcement that the first Dragon Ball Super movie would be the official canonized origin story of Broly has been nothing short of a milestone. It's been 25 years since Broly first debuted in the film Dragon Ball Z: Broly - The Legendary Super Saiyan (followed by two sequel films) and the character has grown to be one of the more iconic figures in the Dragon Ball franchise, even though he's lingered in the limbo of non-canon until now.

Obviously fans who have been with the series since Dragon Ball Z know full well who Broly is - but since Dragon Ball has become a global phenomenon in the last few years, there are a whole new crop of fans, some of whom have come to the series with Dragon Ball Super. For those fans, all this buzz about the new movie has quickly raised one question: Who is Broly?

Read below for the breakdown of everything you need to know about Broly before Dragon Ball Super: Broly arrives in theaters.

The Legendary Super Saiyan

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In the original Dragon Ball Z: Broly - The Legendary Super Saiyan movie, Vegeta is approached by a another Saiyan named Paragus for two important missions: to establish and rule a new Planet Vegeta, and also to battle and destroy the Legendary Super Saiyan, a Super Saiyan transformation that appears every 1,000 years, giving the user unlimited power at the cost of uncontrollable rage. This latest LSSJ has been terrorizing the South Galaxy, catching the attention of King Kai, who contacts Goku to intervene. When Goku, Vegeta, Future Trunks, Gohan and Krillin travel to the new Planet Vegeta, they embark on an investigation that results in the discovery that Paragus is actually behind the threat, and New Planet Vegeta is a farce, already destined for ruin. The final reveal is that Paragus' son Broly is actually the Legendary Super Saiyan, who Paragus has learned to control by fitting him with a control collar, with the goal of conquering the universe. The plan goes awry, and Paragus is destroyed by Broly, who is defeated by the Z-Fighters and Goku's chi-infused "Miracle blow" punch. Broly and New Planet Vegeta are both seemingly destroyed, ending the conflict.

The Second Coming

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The next film in the Broly Triple Threat trilogy was Dragon Ball Z: Broly - Second Coming. It saw Broly survive his encounter with the Z-Fighters, crash landing on earth, where he is frozen in ice for seven years. Broly is awakened before the events of the Majin Buu saga, when he hears Goten crying (Goku crying when he and Broly shared a nursery as babies is the root of their rivalry - go figure), and The Legendary Super Saiyan powers up to attack Gohan, Goten, Trunks, and Videl, who are all out gathering the Dragon Balls for a new wish from Shenron. Goku and Vegeta' sons must fight a harrowing battle against Broly, until Goten uses the gathered Dragon Balls to wish for Goku's help. Goku and his sons blast Broly with a combined Kamehameha, which sends the Berserker Saiyan flying into the sun, destroying him for good.

Bio-Broly

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The third chapter of Broly's story, Dragon Ball Z: Bio-Broly, takes place as an interquel to the Majin Buu Saga, and saw Broly resurrected by some mad scientists who are creating Bio-human warriors as weapons, with their greatest weapon being a clone of Broly. When the Z-Fighters get wind of the plot, Goten and Trunks try to destroy the Broly clone before it can hatch, only to have it hatch early, and become horribly disfigured and mutated by the bio-liquid into an unsightly monster known as "Bio-Broly." Goten, Trunks, Krillin and Android 18 battle Bio-Broly, ultimately using sea water to turn the monster to stone, and blasting him to bits. So ended Broly's reign of terror.

Nothing Really Mattered

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The key to understand in all this is that the "Broly Threat Trilogy" is not an official part of Dragon Ball canon, as the character was never included in Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball manga, which has kept fans debating the character's legitimacy. Regardless, Broly has appeared in numerous Dragon Ball auxillary projects over the years, such as popular video games like Dragon Ball Heroes and Dragon Ball Xenoverse. When Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama first announced his involvement with the Dragon Ball Super movie, he teased that legitimizing Broly's place in the series was a task that was long overdue:

"The Dragon Ball Super movie this time will be the next story in the series currently airing on TV. It will be an episode after catching our breath from the climax of the Tournament of Power with the universe’s existence on the line; with content that will give a little better understanding about Freeza and the Saiyans, which I hadn’t properly depicted up till now; and leading to a mighty foe saved for the occasion, which I think has it shaping up to be a really enjoyable story."

The New Broly

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With Dragon Ball Super: Broly, we will get the first canonized story of Broly in the Dragon Ball universe, which will tell a new origin story for the character. Details of that story are being kept under wraps, but there are hints that this new Broly will be connected to Freeza and the destruction of Planet Vegeta, as well as the longtime franchise mystery of what happened to other Saiyan babies launched out into the universe to conquer planets - much like Goku was sent to conquer Earth, before an accident scrambled his mind and made him a heroic defender of the planet.

The hope is that by building off the events of the Dragon Ball Super anime series, Broly's story will be better connected to the franchise mythos, and open up some exciting new doors to where the series is headed next. However, there are already some continuity questions being raised about the film, as Dragon Ball Super's anime and manga has begun to explore a new Legendary Super Saiyan mystery, in the form of Kale, a female LSSJ from another universe.

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Dragon Ball Super: Broly will hit Japanese theaters in December, and is expected to arrive in the U.S. around mid-January 2019. Dragon Ball Super is currently airing its English dub on Adult Swim during the Toonami programming block Saturday evenings at 9:30 p.m. It is also available to stream on Funimation and Amazon Video. The Japanese language release of the series is complete, and available to stream on Funimation, VRV, and Crunchyroll.