Whether you agree with me or not, I hope you also enjoy reading it! (if you read it) I also created this timeline graph in photoshop:
Source: https://serenade87.deviantart.com/art/D ... -723741541
Time travel and alternate timelines have always been a subject of much complexity that’s not just limited to Dragon Ball, but several other stories like Flash, Back to the Future, Doctor Who, and Steins Gate. We were first given an official explanation in the Daizenshuu 7 showing 4 distinct timelines in Dragon Ball Z. The fourth timeline, called the “Unseen” timeline, has been heavily debated and did not make logical sense to many people.
Hence, today I will explain how the fourth timeline, the Unseen Timeline, CAN indeed fit with logic and explain everything. I have gathered all the information from DBZ, DBS, Daizenshuu, and Chouzenshuu to explain all the different timelines, how they were created, when they were created, and the what if scenarios of the unknown timelines. This will explain timelines in Dragon Ball completely once and for all. It will be a three part series. The first part will discuss the original 4 timelines before Dragon Ball Super and the second part will discuss the new timelines that were added after Dragon Ball Super. The third part is the expanded DB universe (DBO, Xenoverse, DBH, and movies) to see if alternate timelines can be exploited to still have them fit. Without further ado, let’s begin!
A couple of timeline rules before we start:
1. New Timelines are created when changes are done in the past which create a paradox.
2. Time rings and Time Scrolls are both natural ways of time travel. Time Rings can only go to the future and then back. They do not create alternate timelines even if changes are done in the future.
3. The silver time ring represents the main timeline or the reference timeline while the green ones represent alternate timelines.
4. When a timeline is erased, the time ring also disappears.
5. Time flows equally in each timeline. No timeline is faster or slower than another. Time that passes in one timeline also passes in another.
(Credits to Terra-jin for helping me with this rule)
Makes sense so far right? Now let us start with the first official chart showing 4 distinct timelines in the Daizenshuu 7:
In 2013, the Chouzenshuu were released which are 4 books that are the revised and updated versions of the 7 Daizenshuu. Surprisingly, the Chouzenshuu 4 excluded the fourth timeline - the Unseen Timeline. At first, this might seem good since fans could never explain the Unseen timeline. However, there is now a contradiction with DBS. The reason is that when Gowasu first opens the box of time rings, we see 5 total time rings which means 1 main timeline and 4 alternate timelines. If we go by the Chouzenshuu 4, then there are 2 missing timelines. One of them can be explained because it is the timeline created by the Universe 12 time traveler, but what about the other one? Therefore, a fourth timeline is required in order to satisfy the number of time rings shown when Gowasu first opens the box.
So we go back to the Daizenshuu 7 and look at the original timeline chart. Note the numbering of the timelines has nothing to do with the order in which the timelines were created. This is just how Toei named them with Timeline 1
always being the main timeline. Main does not mean original though.
So let us begin with the original original timeline before any time travel. As per the Toei chart, we see that the original timeline is the one from which Future Trunks is from called Timeline 3
. Hence, if we opened the box of time rings, we would only see 1 silver ring.
Contrary to popular belief, Trunks was not the first time traveler in history. Xenoverse does mention that Trunks was the first time traveler in history for Universe 7, but not all of time! It was stated by Gowasu in the manga (Chapter 17 and 26) that the very first time machine in history was created by a mortal in Universe 12 and it resulted in the first new time ring. To prevent misuse, it was confiscated by the Universe’s Kaioshin, Ugg, before it could be used again. When Zamasu and Black went on their rampage of killing Kaioshins, they took the universe 12’s time machine for themselves. Though they never used it, they had planned to follow Goku and the gang to the past if they escaped again. So after the events of the Universe 12 time traveler, a new time ring was created. The main timeline got split into Timeline 1
and Timeline 5
. Remember that 5 is because of the way Toei defined the numbering for the other 4 timelines. Timeline 5
is the first alternate timeline despite 5 in its name. Now there are 2 rings total:
Then in DBZ, Future Trunks goes back in time from Age 784
to Age 764
, splitting the main timeline into Timeline 1
and Timeline 3
. He already significantly changed events by killing Freeza and King Cold, assuming that Goku couldn’t have used Instant Transmission to do it himself. He gives Goku the heart medicine. Then he goes back to the future. He did this not because he expected Goku to be alive in the future, but because together with Goku, he may learn how to defeat the Androids in the past, which would help him to defeat the Androids in the future. As per the Toei chart, we see that the original timeline is the one from which Future Trunks is from called Timeline 3
. So the new main timeline is no longer the "original" timeline. Now there are 3 time rings total:
Hope you’re keeping up!
In the future, it takes Trunks one full year (~8 months) to recharge the time machine with Electro Blue no. 15 fuel before he could make another trip. This time, he goes back from Age 785
to Age 767
, three years after he last visited. He is not going to a past point in his own timeline, but a future point 3 years later in the main timeline, Timeline 1
. Hence, a new timeline is NOT created. In this timeline, Trunks and Krillin find Dr. Gero’s basement lab where the blueprints for Android 17 (Chapter 365). Upon finding these blueprints, Trunks had everything he needed to defeat the Androids in his own future. Trunks immediately went back to his own timeline (Timeline 3) to give these blueprints to future Bulma. Then, future Bulma was able to create the shutdown controller for Android 17 and 18. Trunks used this to defeat the Androids. Imperfect Cell arrives two years later in Age 788
, unable to find the Androids, so he kills Trunks (who did not train with Vegeta in the Room of Spirit and Time) and takes the time machine back to the main timeline, Timeline 1
to Age 763
, 1 year prior to when Trunks had arrived. Note that Cell just pressed a button on the Time Machine and had no idea where he was going. It luckily was just set to Age 763.
Cell’s arrival in the past creates a significant change in history and that change occurred when Trunks sees the photos of his own time machine and Cell’s cocoon (Chapter 358). This was the trigger and for Trunks to make the decision to not leave and train in the Room of Spirit and Time with his father.
In the future, Trunks killed Cell because he trained in the Room of Spirit and Time. He trained because Cell came back in time. Cell came back in time because he killed Trunks in the future. Thus, there is a paradox. To fix this paradox, a timeline must be created where Trunks killed Cell and one where Trunks was killed by Cell.
Thus, Cell’s arrival to the past created a paradox, splitting the main timeline again into Timeline 1
and Timeline 4
. Now there are 4 time rings total.
has always been one of the biggest mysteries in DBZ. Many fans believed that the Daizenshuu 7 made a mistake in this timeline. Cell arrived in Age 763
, 1 year before Trunks first arrived. The Daizenshuu stated that in this timeline, there is a Cell Games without Trunks, but how can that happen? If Cell came from the future, stealing Trunks’ time machine to go to a single timeline, then how can he be in two different timelines? That is, where did this other Cell come from? Even the Chouzenshuu excluded Timeline 4
because it didn’t make sense. There's a way to make this work without contradicting anything in the guidebooks.
Keep it the way it is
After the Cell games in Timeline 1
, Trunks goes back to his future. Since he trained with Vegeta, he was able to kill both the Androids and Imperfect Cell easily with his own power, thus creating a new paradox. The paradox being that if Imperfect Cell is killed by Trunks, then he can't go to the past. Hence, the future timeline is split into Timeline 3 (original)
and Timeline 2
(New Future Timeline). Now there is a total of 5 time rings. (Note that in the expanded DB universe, Chronoa, the Kaioshin of Time, at this time recruits this Future Trunks (purple hair) to become a Time Patroller). Later, this timeline is erased by Zeno.
To summarize, we got 5 timelines before the start of DBS:
- Main Timeline. Cell Games with Trunks. Trunks decides to stay and train in the Room of Spirit and Time.
- New Future Timeline. Trunks kills Android 17, 18, and Cell with his own power.
- Original Timeline. Trunks gives blueprints to future Bulma to make a remote shutdown controller. Trunks uses remote to defeat Android 17 and 18. Cell kills Trunks and takes the time machine.
- Unseen Timeline. Cell Games without Trunks. Trunks leaves with the blueprints he finds from Dr. Gero's basement lab and returns to Timeline 3.
– First Alternate Timeline. A mortal from Universe 12 used the first time machine in history to go to the past.
------------------PART 2 DRAGON BALL SUPER POST-ZAMASU ARC------------------------------
With me so far? Everything I've told you so far is consistent with the facts in the manga, anime, and Chouzenshuu 4. We kept a fourth timeline but we removed Perfect Cell from it fixing Daizenshuu’s 7 mistake.
Now let's begin with Dragon Ball Super. Gowasu opens the time ring box for the first time (Chapter 17, page 9 and Episode 49) and what do we see? We see 4 green time rings and 1 silver ring. That's a total of 5 rings or 5 timelines. This is exactly what we got!
Gowasu further comments that someone has created a new time ring recently since he last opened the box. In the anime, he said a new ring was added just a few years ago.
If it was created a few years
ago, then it couldn’t have been caused by Trunks arriving with the time machine now in the Zamasu arc. This means that the last time ring had to be created from the Cell Saga when Trunks used his time machine for the third time in Age 767, a few years before Age 779 which is when the Zamasu arc started in DBS.
Let’s continue. So after the events of the U6 Tournament, Zamasu learns of Goku from watching GodTube.
He goes to Zuno and learns everything about the Super Dragon Balls. He kills Gowasu, taking the time ring. Then he gathers the Super Dragon Balls and wishes to switch bodies with Goku to become Black. Then kills Goku and his family. Now to escape Beerus, he needed to travel to a timeline where there is no Beerus. Thus, he traveled to Timeline 2
– the Future Trunks timeline.
In Timeline 2
, after Trunks killed Cell. A few years later, Babidi and Dabura arrive. Trunks trains with Shin, achieves SSJ2, and kills Dabura with Shin dying in the process, which also kills Beerus. Thus Timeline 2
did not have a Beerus and Black could carry out the Zero Mortals Plan.
He found Future Zamasu, helped him kill Gowasu, taking another time ring. The two Zamasus gathered the Super Dragon Balls, but since Goku was not alive in this timeline, Future Zamasu instead wished for immortality! It works out to Black’s plan because he needed Zamasu to use his healing powers to get zenkai boosts. From the zenkai boosts, Black learns Goku’s body more and makes it his own. Future Trunks from Timeline 2
eventually escapes back to Timeline 1
. Remember a new timeline still has NOT been created! Trunks warns Goku of Black. They eventually figure out that Zamasu is behind the whole thing so Beerus hakais him. THIS causes a significant change, splitting the main timeline again to Timeline 1
and Timeline 6
with the latter being the timeline from which Zamasu is alive and successfully becomes Black.
Beerus thought that using hakai on present Zamasu would eliminate all versions of that Zamasu in other timelines but he was wrong. It only made matters worse by creating a new timeline and time ring, giving us a total of 6 time rings, 5 green and 1 silver.
Then, when Zeno sama erases the entire Timeline 2
(Future Trunks’ timeline), one of the time rings disappears from the box as shown in the manga, Chapter 26. So now there’s 5 time rings total. So if the timeline is erased, how can Goku still travel back to it to pick up future Zeno? Even though the natural way to travel (the time ring) to the timeline is gone, it is still possible to use a time machine to travel to the specific location of Future Zeno since the settings of the time machine were already tuned to a specific frequency that corresponded to the erased timeline. This was explained by Pilaf.
But we aren’t done yet! In the end, Trunks and Mai decide that they want to travel back to the future before Dabura and Zamasu. Whis and Beerus give them permission to do so. This splits the future timeline into Timeline 2
and Timeline 7
which the former is erased and the latter has two pairs of Trunks and Mai. Whis travels to this timeline to wake up future Beerus early and warn him of Zamasu. Zamasu is sealed by Beerus permanently.
This is Toei's latest chart explaining the timelines after the Zamasu arc:
-------------------PART 3 WHAT IF SCENARIOS and EXPANDED DB VERSE---------------
This chart only shows the anime version of events but without the manga, we would get a time paradox. Zamasu becomes evil after losing to Goku -> Goku fights Zamasu because Trunks -> Trunks travels back in time because of Black -> Black is created by Zamasu after he becomes evil. This creates a never ending loop! We don’t know the start point. In the manga, we know that even without Goku, it is GodTube that is the start point.
Now for the fun part – theory. There is an expanded DB verse that is beyond just anime and manga. It includes Dragon Ball Online (DBO), movies, OVAs, Xenoverse, Dragon Ball Heroes (DBH), and other video games. Apart from DBO, most of these are considered to not be “canon”. Now a lot of people do not like to use the word, “canon”. Rather, it’s better to look at “continuity”. That is, is there a way to fit the above possible stories without contradiction? The Daizenshuu 6 has tried to place the movies in the timeline.
There are only two timelines available for us to use for these other stories – Timeline 4
(Unseen) and Timeline 5
(First Alternate Timeline). The latter is a blank slate which means we can make it whatever we desire. I will try to see with logic, if it is thus possible to fit in the expanded DB verse using these two timelines.
So to now summarize based on the above chart from Toei: (italics are theories or fanfiction)
Timeline 1 (light blue)
– Main Timeline, the one we watch on tv; Created when Beerus hakai’d Zamasu. Goku is alive. Universe 7 wins the Tournament of Power. You know this story already.
Expanded DB verse (theory):
Timeline 2 (green)
– Future Trunks Timeline, erased by Zeno. Created when Trunks kills Imperfect Cell in the future. Trunks kills Android 17, 18, Cell, and Dabura. Shin is killed by Babidi causing Beerus to die. Black invades this world, kills Gowasu and recruits Future Zamasu. Goku and Vegeta from Timeline 1
fight Black and Zamasu. Eventually, Infinite Zamasu happens and Zeno to erases the timeline.
Expanded DB verse (theory):
– Original Timeline, Future Trunks uses shutdown remote controller to destroy Android 17 and 18. Imperfect Cell kills Trunks and takes the time machine. There are no strong fighters left on Earth. Buu is not revived due to lack of sufficient energy.
– Unseen Timeline. Trunks arrives a second time and takes the blueprints from Dr. Gero’s basement lab to his own timeline, Timeline 3
, never training in the Room of Spirit and Time. Cell Games may or may not occur. Created when Trunks first travels back in time to give Goku the heart medicine. Events of the Buu saga, Battle of Gods, Revival of F, and Zamasu arc occur as in Timeline 6
Expanded DB verse (theory):
– First alternate timeline. This timeline was created by the actions of an unknown mortal from Universe 12 from Timeline 3
using the very first time machine in history. This time machine was later confiscated by the Universe 12's kaioshin. Black and Zamasu found this time machine in Timeline 2
after killing the kaioshin and planned to use it to follow Goku and co. as Infinite Zamasu. We don't know anything about this timeline, so it's free for our imagination.
Expanded DB verse (theory):
Timeline 6 (dark blue)
– Former main timeline, Zamasu switches with Goku’s body to become Black, kills Gowasu and Goku, and takes the time ring to Timeline 2
. Created when Cell travels back in time which causes Trunks to see the photos of his time machine and Cell’s cocoon, prompting him to stay and train.
Timeline 7 (brown)
– New Future Trunks Timeline. Created when Trunks and Mai travel from Timeline 1
to before Dabura. Whis from Timeline 1
wakes up Beerus early and warns him of Zamasu. Zamasu is sealed permanently. There is no Black in this timeline. There are two pairs of Trunks and Mai. Dabura is defeated, Shin lives and hence, Beerus lives. Paragus and Broly still live in Planet Banpa but since Freeza is not alive, there is no reason for them to come to Earth.
Expanded DB Verse Theory:
Questions you’re probably asking: