Who Is Broly? The Dragon Ball Super Saiyan’s Complicated History, Explained

By Douglas Helm | Updated

The heroes of Dragon Ball have fought a wide array of antagonists, but it isn’t often that they have to face off against another member of the Saiyan race. That’s part of what makes Broly such an imposing and powerful foe. But who is Broly exactly, and why are there multiple versions of his character?

Fans of the franchise will know that Dragon Ball Super is a direct sequel to the Dragon Ball Z series, with all of the events in the latter series being canon. However, there is an exception to this in the case of Broly, as creator Akira Toriyama reintroduced him in a 2018 movie that changed his original origins and reworked his character from the trilogy of Broly movies from the 1990s. Before diving into the reworked version of the character, let’s start with the version from the 1990s trilogy.

Old Broly- Dragon Ball Z

Broly in Dragon Ball Z

Broly previously served as a Dragon Ball Z antagonist in the films Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan (1993), Broly – Second Coming (1994), and Bio-Broly (1994). In the first film, Broly is revealed to be a Legendary Super Saiyan, which is a rare Saiyan transformation that is said to only appear once every thousand years. As a baby born on the planet Vegeta, he was ordered to be executed by King Vegeta due to his power levels having the potential to threaten his rule.

While he was left to die with his father, Paragus, he was able to escape Planet Vegeta when it was destroyed by Frieza. He also developed a subconscious hatred for Goku during that time, as the two of them were born on the same day, and Goku’s crying may have acted as a sort of PTSD trigger that reminded Broly of the traumatic events that occurred that day. Goku eventually defeats Broly in the film, but he is able to escape before returning in the Dragon Ball Z film Broly – Second Coming.

In Dragonball Z: Broly – Second Coming, the Sayian antagonist is seemingly defeated after Goku, Gohan, and Goten blast him into the Sun. However, he ends up returning in Bio-Broly as a clone. While he was supposed to eventually appear in a fourth movie, that film was reworked to feature Janemba as the villain, and Broly wouldn’t return until Dragon Ball Super: Broly.

New Broly- Dragon Ball Super

Broly in Dragon Ball Super

In Dragon Ball Super: Broly, Broly is reintroduced as a powerful Saiyan who is exiled to the planet Vampa by King Vegeta, who is afraid and jealous of Broly’s power. Due to Broly’s isolation, he is portrayed as naive and gentle, which is opposite to the typical Saiyan attitude. However, if Broly is provoked by stress or anger, he has difficulty controlling his power, and he enters a sort of berserker state where he loses his control and sanity.

Unlike Broly’s previous appearances in Dragon Ball Z, Broly becomes a supporting character and friend to Goku after Goku offers to help him control his powers.

Dragon Ball Super: Broly also portrays Broly as having an abusive upbringing at the hands of his father, Paragus, who uses a shock collar to control him. Broly is raised as a vengeful weapon to take down King Vegeta, but the Frieza Force eventually takes him to Earth after the Planet Vegeta is destroyed. He is instead sicced on Vegeta to get revenge on the Royal Vegeta bloodline.

Broly has always been portrayed as one of the most powerful antagonists in the franchise, and this doesn’t change in Dragon Ball Super: Broly as he is able to defeat Goku and Vegeta in their Super Saiyan Blue forms and Frieza in his Golden Frieza form. In order to win, Vegeta and Goku have to use the Fusion Dance and become Gogeta.

Even after becoming Gogeta, they have to go Super Saiyan Blue and get assistance from the Frieza Force members Cheelai and Lemo, who use the Dragon Balls to summon Shenron and wish Broly back to the planet Vampa. Unlike Broly’s previous appearances in Dragon Ball Z, Broly becomes a supporting character and friend to Goku after Goku offers to help him control his powers.

The most recent appearance of Broly was in the Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero film, where he is seen training with Whis to control his anger and power.

So, the Dragon Ball Super version of Broly is now the canon one. That doesn’t mean the previous trilogy of films isn’t worth watching, but they are no longer part of the main continuity of the story. Still, he’s undoubtedly one of the coolest characters in the series, regardless of what version you’re watching.