Follow TV Tropes


What Could Have Been / Dragon Ball

Go To
The first edition of chapter 503, Vegetto's introduction, had him named as Gogeta.

Dragon Ball's creator Akira Toriyama and the staff of Toei Animation came with many ideas that were shot down. Here is a compilation of all of them.


  • The original pilot for the manga, and for the series as a whole, was called "Dragon Boy". Its hero, Tanton, was a boy with bat wings that would evolve into the monkey-tailed Goku. The pilot interestingly featured an artifact called a Dragon Ball, but it was pretty useless (all it did was release a puny dragon). The story was also heavily based on Journey to the West and had Tanton escorting a princess that strongly resembles Bulma back home to her country. When the story ends, the heroes still had nine-tenths of the way to go. Just think of all that could have been here...
  • Toriyama didn't plan on Goku being an alien. His Great Ape transformation was supposed to be something like that of a werewolf and chalk it up to Our Werebeasts Are Different, and a nod to Journey to the West. He also didn't plan Piccolo as being an alien either.note  Yet, he made it work.
  • Advertisement:
  • Androids 19 and 20 were originally meant to be the Big Bads of the Android saga. But almost immediately following the release of their introductory chapter, Toriyama's former editor, Kazuhiko Torishima, got in touch with him just to basically laugh at him for making the new and much-hyped villains be a fatso and an old geezer. Which resulted in Toriyama creating Androids 17 and 18... which Torishima also didn't like on account of being brats, prompting Toriyama to create Cell... Which his then-current editor, Yuu Kondou, didn't like the design of, making him push Toriyama into giving Cell the ability to transform... However, Kondou thought Cell's second form just looked moronic, so he pressed Toriyama into quickly unveiling Cell's cooler, perfect form.
  • Gohan was slated to become the protagonist after the Cell Saga. However, Toriyama later decided against it, believing he wasn't fit for the role. There were several instances where the story could have been drastically different. This page goes into more details about what could have been.
  • Advertisement:
  • Gogeta was originally supposed to be in the manga and the anime, but because the writers behind Fusion Reborn came up with the concept before he could unveil it, Toriyama came up with Vegetto instead. Gogeta would later make a TV Dragon Ball GT. It later got included in canon thanks to Dragon Ball Super: Broly.

Post-manga movies

  • In the scriptwriter's original treatment of the Battle of Gods movie, Beerus was supposed to be a lizard character, The Virus (hence his name) and responsible for turning the Saiyan race evil in the first place, giving the Super Saiyan God subplot an immediacy and relevance to the God of Destruction besides him just wanting to fight someone strong. He would have even turned Goku's friends against him, forcing him to reflect on "what makes a hero" and so on. This idea was too dark for the series' creator, however, and Akira Toriyama reworked the plot into something much more lighthearted, with the goofy, fun-loving, purple cat-god we now know.
  • Super Saiyan God was meant to look different according to Tadayoshi Yamamuro. According to the interview, Super Saiyan God was meant to look more sturdy than Super Saiyan and with a cape. Toriyama rejected it and came with the slender and simple design.
    I handled the roughs for Super Saiyan God. It was “a being that surpasses everything” so I drew a character more built than Super Saiyan, with a cape, but then illustrations with a completely different feel came back from Toriyama-sensei…. It was too different from my own internal image, so I tried suggesting the more sturdily-drawn character one more time, and then Sensei told me that it really was all wrong.

Dragon Ball Super
Rough sketches of Belmod and Marcarita's rejected characterization
  • According to an interview with Toriyama and Toyotaro in the fourth volume of the Super manga, Vegetto wasn't supposed to appear at the climax of the Future Trunks saga, since to Toriyama it was very improbable Vegeta would fuse again after the Majin Buu Saga. Toyotaro's suggestions, however, allowed him to appear in order to make the conflict more meaningful. Furthermore, Fused Zamasu was supposed to be much weaker than he was presented in the anime, where two Super Saiyan Blues would be able to defeat him.
  • Toppo's role at the beginning of the Universe Survival arc was initially planned for Jiren, given that he appears in the preview trailer of that arc rather than Toppo and that his name was accidentally left unchanged by Shounen Jump when they released summary for episode 82. An interview expanded on this stating Jiren was meant to have Toppo's personality, but this was rejected by Toriyama.
  • It's implied that before Akira Toriyama suggested the creation of Caulifla, her role of serving as the moral support for Kale would have been taken by Cabba. Scrapped information on Toei's website even states that "Cabba is too rough on her". Furthermore, due to their similar designs, it's very likely Kale was meant to be Renso's sister, not Caulifla.
  • According to Toyotaro in an interview, he originally made the god of destruction Belmod and his assistant Marcarita act like they were lovers, but Toriyama disliked the idea since angels are meant to be more professional than that. Marcarita also referred to the Grand Priest as "papa", but it was changed for the more formal "father" in the final version.

Dragon Ball GT

  • It is heavily implied that Legic was originally supposed to make future appearances.
  • The series was at one point conceived as an interquel set within the timeskip between the battle with Buu and the epilogue to Dragon Ball Z Eventually, that idea ended up being used for Dragon Ball Super.

International dubs


  • In FUNimation's dub, Laura Bailey auditioned for Android 18 before Meredith McCoy, a good friend of hers, got the role instead. Laura later beat out Meredith to voice Kid Trunks and Kid Chi-Chi, and has since gone on to a very, very successful voice acting career. Also, Sean Schemmel says he auditioned for Captain Ginyu and Piccolo, and was surprised when he was cast as Goku because he felt that Ginyu was his strongest audition. Stephanie Nadolny also says she auditioned for Bulma, Frieza, Chiaotzu, Android 18, Videl, and Goten at different points, but admits that the director thought her voice was too distinctive to voice anyone other than Kid Goku and Gohan. Also, at one time, FUNimation was in talks with Freddie Prinze Jr about voicing Teen Gohan.
  • Linda Young was supposed to return as Frieza for Kai, and even recorded his brief laugh in Episode 1, but after recording a few more episodes, it was decided that they wanted to try a different approach, so the role was recast with Chris Ayres. Linda kept voicing Fortune Teller Baba though. Also, Meredith McCoy was asked to return as Android 18, but was unavailable, so Colleen Clinkenbeard filled in instead (Meredith is back voicing 18 in recent movies and Super). In addition, Christopher Sabat attempted to get Scott McNeil from the Ocean dub to voice Piccolo, since he wanted to lighten his load of characters. Scott wasn't available to travel, so Sabat reprised the role.

International dubs

  • Regarding the Latin American Spanish dub, Mario Castañeda at first refused to voice adult Goku in 1997 because he was not sure if the fans were going to accept a change of voice to the main character (knowing that in Japan, despite the character growing up, Goku continued to be voiced by Masako Nozawa); but eventually acepted after his son insisted that he voiced Goku. Given that Castañeda's performance went on to become so well-loved in Latin America that it led to the debacle regarding Dragon Ball Kai in the region,note  this certainy became a huge "What Could Have Been" among the fandom. Said son himself, Arturo Castañeda, would go on to play Whis in Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ and Dragon Ball Super.


  • Harmony Gold had done an obscure and short-lived English dub of the Dragon Ball anime in the late 80s, with many Dub Name Changes; Goku was named Zero, Bulma was Lena, Krillin was Bongo... Only a few episodes (and the first two movies) were dubbed, and the project was axed when test markets failed to hold an audience.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: