Dragon Ball Super: Broly is now out in US theaters, and it is making waves for the Dragon Ball franchise. Broly not only retcons major pieces of Saiyan history and character origins from various eras of the series into one streamlined canon, it also makes some major changes to the nature of Saiyan power-ups and transformations.
The movie definitely creates a very different visual signature for Goku and Vegeta's power-ups into Super Saiyan, Super Saiyan God, and Super Saiyan Blue, with the transformations taking noticeable effort and giving off some dazzling auras. However, what may be the most intriguing change to the Super Saiyan process comes with Broly, as the film’s explanation of the wild Saiyan's power provides a perfect road map to Super Saiyan 4 finally becoming part of official canon!
Warning: Dragon Ball Super: Broly spoilers follow!
While the term "Super Saiyan 4" is never said in Dragon Ball Super: Broly, the film drops clues about the nature of Broly's powers that pretty much spell it out. When Broly is unleashed by Freeza to battle Goku and Vegeta in the arctic, The Evil Emperor and Broly's father Paragus are standing off to the side of the battlefield, discussing how powerful Broly really is. As Paragus reveals, Broly is able to channel the power of a Saiyan's Ozaru (Great Ape) form without actually transforming into the beast. It's inferred that this aberration occurred because Paragus amputated Broly's tail (multiple times in fact) when the young Saiyan's power would surge out of control.
Whatever the case, Broly is able to access the limitless power of the great ape while still retaining the speed and agility of a humanoid. The catch, of course, is that Broly still succumbs to the mindless rage and aggression of a Great Ape, resulting in a worldly threat that Goku and Vegeta are forced to shut down.
Obviously, this new retconned explanation of Broly's power is a direct parallel to Dragon Ball's explanation of the Super Saiyan 4 form. SSJ4 is based on the concept of a Saiyan accessing Great Ape form and then regaining conscious control over the transformation, retaining a humanoid appearance with some animalistic flourishes like fur covering their body and longer, wilder, hair. Since SSJ4 was only featured in the non-canon Dragon Ball GT series, and other non-canon projects like the Xenoverse games and Dragon Ball Heroes game/anime, it’s totally fitting that a loose adaptation get imported into the official canon. Well, Dragon Ball Super: Broly seems to be doing just that.
The explanation of Broly's berserker powers is clearly in line with SSJ4, but so is his physical appearance. When Broly hulks out during the film's finale, he may not go all furry (though he wears fur as an accessory), but his bulkier physique, longer, wilder, hair, and most importantly the golden pupils that appear in his eyes are all telltale visual signatures of SSJ4. It now seems as though Dragon Ball Super is acknowledging the form on its own terms, which could be important to the franchise's imminent future.
Dragon Ball Super: Broly is arriving in theaters as the Dragon Ball Super manga is entering a new storyline -- one that could see Goku and Vegeta lose their godly ki powers. If Super Saiyan God and Super Saiyan Blue get taken off the table, then Broly's version SSJ4 could be the path to Goku and Vegeta's next power up.
Dragon Ball Super: Broly is out now. Dragon Ball Super currently airs its English dub on Adult Swim during the Toonami block Saturday evenings at 9:30 p.m. It is also available to stream on Funimation and Amazon Video. The Japanese language release is available to stream on FunimationNOW, VRV, and Crunchyroll.