What Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero Means for Gohan’s Future

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero has big implications for Gohan. Here is where the Saiyan hero may go now.

Dragon Ball Super Super Hero Gohan Super Saiyan
Photo: Toei Animation

This article contains spoilers for Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero.

Akira Toriyama’s totemic anime series, Dragon Ball, has been delivering heightened battle spectacles for more than 35 years. The celebration that’s surrounded the series’ latest saga, Dragon Ball Super, has pushed the property’s popularity to unprecedented heights. Fans of the anime have patiently been waiting since the release of 2018’s Dragon Ball Super: Broly for the series’ next cinematic spectacle. Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero presents a revived villain from the series’ past, but the movie finds new strength by sidelining its standard Saiyan heroes and letting Gohan step into the spotlight. This focus on Gohan fills Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero with life, but it also has big implications for the future of the franchise.

Gohan Re-Commits Himself To Combat And His Family

One of the main goals of Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is to remind the audience–and Gohan himself–of the incredible power that he possesses. The trajectory of Dragon Ball Z consistently points towards Gohan replacing his father as the Earth’s strongest, but the series ultimately gets cold feet in this area and returns to its Goku-centric point of view. Audiences were hopeful that Dragon Ball Super would redeem Gohan’s character, but if anything the sequel series has reinforced how he doesn’t need martial arts in his life.

The big takeaway in Super Hero is that Gohan regains his fighting spirit, but the same is true for the rest of his family. Pan’s growth as a fighter is juxtaposed against Gohan’s reawakening. The film concludes with her mastering flight and for a moment it feels like she might even turn into a Super Saiyan when she sees her father in peril. Super Hero even has a quick aside that Videl runs a dojo and that her martial arts skills haven’t completely lapsed. Dragon Ball has never had Gohan, Pan, and Videl all fight together as a team, but now this feels inevitable. It’d be adorable for Gohan to pass the Great Saiyaman title over to his daughter and for her to join her parents in their crime-fighting pursuits.

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Gohan Contributes His Intellect To Capsule Corp.

One of the biggest internal struggles that Gohan faces is that he’s a natural warrior, but he still has a passion for knowledge and committing himself to his studies. Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero begins with Gohan fully immersed in research before his skills are needed in battle. It feels like Gohan is ready to transition over from books to battles, but it doesn’t need to be so black-and-white.

Capsule Corp. receives a lot of attention in Super Hero and the movie concludes with Red Ribbon’s Dr. Hedo and Gamma 1 defecting over to their side. It wouldn’t be ridiculous for Gohan to also lend his intellect to Capsule Corp.’s lastest pursuits. Gohan has proven himself to have an affinity with Androids and so he could help further humanize Gamma 1, much like he did in Dragon Ball Z with Android 16. Gohan could help push through a rebuilt Android 16, or even Android 21 (who makes the briefest of cameos in the movie), since they still have their DNA.

Gohan’s Family Becomes The New Targets Of The Red Ribbon Army

It’s extremely cathartic for Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero to feature a brief recap of Goku’s history with the Red Ribbon Army, only for Gohan to take over his father’s cause. Red Ribbon soldiers become quite familiar with not just Gohan, but Pan also takes out swathes of individuals. Dragon Ball has repeatedly shown that Red Ribbon aren’t prone to just giving up. A renewed rivalry with Gohan’s family could be a compelling development for the series’ future.

He Has A Deadly New Transformation To Understand

There’s a lot to appreciate in Dragon Ball, but at times it’s a series that’s distilled down to the latest hyperbolized transformation that the characters trigger. Gohan’s last substantial upgrade was his ascension to Ultimate Gohan all the way back in the endgame of Dragon Ball Z. Dragon Ball Super is full of new Saiyan milestones for Goku, Vegeta, and even Future Trunks, but Gohan remains in a frustrating state of stasis.

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero finally gives fans what they’ve been asking for when Gohan taps into a new form, Gohan Beast. This transformation gives him red eyes and white hair that’s almost comical in height. Gohan is able to transcend to this powerful milestone when he watches Gamma 2 get tragically sacrificed and fears that Piccolo has suffered the same fate. Gohan Beast is still largely a mystery, but it appears to offer comparable strength to Ultra Instinct or Super Saiyan Blue. Hopefully this is just the start of more new upgrades for Gohan.

A Rematch With Cell Max Is Inevitable

Dragon Ball has a history for bringing back old villains, especially in its movies, and Frieza has been given so many extra chances that he’s even become a temporary ally of sorts. Cell is a villain who hasn’t been given nearly the same respect, so it’s quite exciting when Super Hero uses a new version of the character for its final conflict. Red Ribbon uses Cell’s DNA to engineer a stronger version of the villain known as Cell Max. Gohan destroys Cell Max with a Special Beam Cannon, but Red Ribbon mentions that this isn’t a perfected version of the experiment. This sets up a likely rematch between Gohan Beast and the finished Cell Max. Maybe the heroes will even find a way to bring the villain over to their side.

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Gohan And Piccolo Get To Do More Of Heavy Lifting

Most fans will agree that Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero greatly benefits from how it leaves Goku and Vegeta occupied so that the world-saving theatrics fall on Gohan and Piccolo’s shoulders. It’s unlikely that Goku and Vegeta will become supporting characters, but hopefully Gohan and Piccolo’s accomplishments in the movie aren’t completely forgotten afterwards. New Dragon Ball Super movies could take a bifurcated approach where Goku and Vegeta take on villains that the manga has already established, while Gohan and Piccolo take on film-original foes. If nothing else, new movies could continue to prioritize supporting characters and if it’s not Gohan and Piccolo, then others like Tien and Krillin could benefit from this direction instead.

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is currently playing in limited theaters, in both subbed and dubbed versions