Will Dragon Ball Super's new movie set the stage for the return of the show? Dragon Ball Super: Broly officially brought the anime series' run to an end with the fight between Goku, Vegeta, and Broly, and ever since fans have been wondering whether or not the anime would properly return someday with new episodes. Making matters more curious is the fact that the manga release is continuing with brand new arcs, so there is some hope in the new movie coming our way as Toei Animation has officially announced Dragon Ball Super will get a new movie in 2022.
So the question at hand is: is the new 2022 Dragon Ball Super movie a standalone release? Or the sign that Toei animation is once again making forward progress with the franchise?
So far, Toei Animation has confirmed via press release that the new Dragon Ball Super movie will feature an original story, character designs, and even a screenplay from original series creator Akira Toriyama. Toriyama has also released a statement, saying:
"An all-new movie since Dragon Ball Super: Broly is currently in the making! Just like the previous movie, I'm heavily leading the story and dialogue production for another amazing film. I really shouldn't talk too much about the plot yet, but be prepared for some extreme and entertaining bouts which may feature an unexpected character."
Comicbook.com recently did a breakdown of why a new Dragon Ball movie should set up the next anime series - as well as what kind of precedent there is to link the two projects. It all depends on what the new movie is about. There is plenty of room for the next film to take material from the manga (like the recent Moro Arc) and adapt it to film. Even though Moro was a popular storyline, the larger Dragon Ball fandom that doesn't read the manga hasn't experienced it, and Moro and his gang of intergalactic convicts would still fit with the idea of an original story and characters designed by Toriyama (who was heavily involved in the Moro Arc.
However, even if this Dragon Ball Super film is something new and disconnected from the manga content, it can still achieve the same goals as the most recent manga storylines: resetting the Dragon Ball Super status quo and expanding the scope of the franchise. The manga has set Goku and Vegeta on different paths of evolving their respective powers, while also expanding the scope of the entire Dragon Ball lore.
It would be surprising and novel if the next Dragon Ball movie set those developments much faster than the manga did, clearing some truly new ground for the next anime series to build on.
...The only caveat is: Toei still may not have the motivation to do it.
Dragon Ball has been thriving as a franchise the last three years - based solely on gaming, merchandise, manga and film. No anime series to speak of - save the Super Dragon Ball Heores promo anime, whose sole purpose is to spark new interest in Dragon Ball arcade games and trading card sales. If Dragon Ball can succeed so well with the grueling production costs and time to make an anime, then sporadic feature films may be the go-to formula for the next few years.
Dragon Ball Super's new movie is coming in 2022. The manga releases new chapters free online every month.