How Does Android 21 Fit Into 'Dragon Ball'?

Dragon Ball Super fans are hyped for the release of Dragon Ball FighterZ, the new Bandai game [...]

Dragon Ball Super fans are hyped for the release of Dragon Ball FighterZ, the new Bandai game hitting shelves in a few weeks, which will be introducing some fun new (non-canon) characters and lore to the franchise. One of the biggest elements of the game will be the character of Android 21, a mysterious new Android that's been heavily teased in promotions for FighterZ as the game's story mode antagonist.

Many fans are wondering: How does Android 21 fit into the larger Dragon Ball universe? Well, here are the biggest prevailing theories and observations, so far:

Red Ribbon Scientist

What we do know about Android 21 is that she's a researcher/scientist for the Red Ribbon Army, the evil paramilitary organization that dates back to Dragon Ball's origins. It's been said that her intelligence level is equal to (possibly greater than) Dr. Gero's own, which is in intimidating statement, to say the least. Never having seen Android 21 until now, there's already a lot of speculation about what the genius android has been doing for her organization. In the game, she's created a new line of Super Androids designed like the Z-Fighters, but as theories go, her work with the RRA may run much deeper than that...

Android Bloodlines

Dragon Ball FighterZ - Android 16 and Android 21

The biggest fan theory is that Android 21 is actually personally connected to the events of Dragon Ball Z, in that she was Dr. Gero's wife and the mother of Android 16's human alter-ego, who was Dr. Gero's son and a high-ranking soldier in the Red Ribbon Army. Of course, even if that theory is true, it only leads to another question:

Woman or Machine

The Red Ribbon Androids come in two forms: full-on artificial humans, and cyborgs (humans converted into machines). Dr. Gero was an example of the latter, and Android 16 the former, but we don't know what 21's physical form is comprised of. If she's a cybernetically-enhanced human, then her origin and connections to Android 16 and Gero would make a lot of sense and create something of a poignant storyline for her.

If Android 21 is all machine, then it's possible that her storyline is a direct (non-canon) sequel to Dragon Ball Z's Cell Saga. If she was built by Gero, Android 21 could be the failsafe he had stashed away, awakening with a mission of vengeance against Goku and the Z-Warriors already programmed into her. It would be a very Dr. Gero move to utilize the power of the heroes that beat him, rather than outright destroy them, which could be the very purpose he had in mind for Android 21: strategy over power.

Dragon Ball FighterZ launches on January 26 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC. 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.