Several alternate timelines are shown to exist in the Dragon Ball manga and the Dragon Ball Z as well as the Dragon Ball Super manga and anime series. Shown below are the specific timelines and their specific events. A number beside a character's name indicates which dimension (what timeline) they are from; if there is no number beside the character's name, that means that they are from the dimension (timeline) the description is under. There are a total of 6 timelines, with the main timeline being altered.
Time Machine generated timelines
The alternate timelines were all created and linked due to the use of a Time Machine. Because the Future Android 17 and Future Android 18 killed the Z Fighters and most of the potential heroes of Earth, Future Bulma created a Time Machine to send her son Future Trunks to the past to prevent Goku from dying of a Heart Virus, to warn the Z Fighters about the future android threat, and to find a way to stop the androids in the future world (either a way to deactivate the androids or a way to destroy them, maybe even taking Goku to Future Trunks' timeline).
It should be noted that, in the universe of Dragon Ball, one does not have to directly interfere with a timeline to disrupt it. Simply going back in time causes disruptions to the timeline as various random changes occur. For example, Androids 19 and 20 came first, despite no explanation occurring for why they would exist, and Androids 17 and 18 are also inexplicably stronger than Future Trunks remembers. Therefore, even if a time traveler follows a "look but don't touch" policy, they risk changing history.
Timeline 1 is where the main story takes place, and Future Trunks and Cell arrive there from their respective future. Timeline 2 is the original timeline from where Future Trunks originates. Timeline 3 is where Cell originates from and goes back in time by killing Trunks and stealing his Time Machine; this timeline is briefly seen. Timeline 4 is never seen, but it is the timeline in which the Trunks from Cell's original timeline (3) goes back in time to find a mean to destroy the androids. Timeline 5 has to be where the Trunks that Cell3 said killed Timeline 3's Frieza and King Cold originated from.
In Dragon Ball: Xenoverse, it is explained that Bulma's Time Machine had an unknown flaw in its design that generated time distortions which lead to the creation of alternate timelines, thus some of random changes in these timelines where the direct result of using the Time Machine itself. It is also explained that with help from the Supreme Kai of Time (the God of Creation that governs time), Future Trunks modified the design of his mother's time machine to create new Time Machines that lack this design flaw and do not produce alternate timelines, thus making them safe for use the Time Patrol. It is also explained that due to the Supreme Kai of Time's benevolence she chose not to erase the timelines created from Future Trunks' and Cell's use of the Time Machine, as things turned out for the better and because she understood Trunks' and his mother's reasons were noble and ultimately for the greater good.
Timeline 1: Main
This is the main timeline (called the "true timeline" in Xenoverse 2) in which the Dragon Ball series takes place and ultimately leads to Dragon Ball Super, the end of Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT. It is possible that timeline 4 also leads to a similar arc, one where Goku never died in the first place. There are two time/dimensional travelers who interfere with this timeline: Future Trunks from timeline 2 and Cell from timeline 3.
Cell3's travel to the past and Future Trunks'2 trip to the past create this timeline, which "replaces" timeline 4.
- Cell3 arrives from the future from the Time Machine he stole from Future Trunks3 in an egg form because he could not fit. He hatches and burrows underground to develop.
- Frieza and King Cold invade Earth to get revenge on Goku, and to also destroy the planet. They are killed by Future Trunks2 who appears from the future. Future Trunks2 then meets Goku when he arrives on the planet and gives him the Heart Medicine, from 20 years in the future; he also warns the Z Fighters about the Red Ribbon Androids who will arrive in three years, before returning to his timeline.
- In the next three years, the Z Fighters go into intense training, and Trunks1 is born to Vegeta and Bulma as their first child.
- Dr. Gero (aka Android 20) and Android 19 battle the Z Fighters. Goku, who did not take Trunks' medicine/antidote, becomes sick during his fight with Android 19. Vegeta arrives and takes over, destroying 19, and Goku is taken home and given his medicine. Dr. Gero flees.
- Future Trunks2 arrives back to this timeline and finds the destroyed Android 19, a robot he has never seen before. He begins to realize that this timeline is starting to branch off considerably from his.
- Dr. Gero escapes back to his lab and awakens Android 17 and Android 18 who then proceed to kill him. They go on to activate Android 16.
- The Z Fighters are defeated by 17 and 18, but none are killed.
- Future Trunks3' Time Machine from timeline 3 (used by Cell3) is found, along with Cell's shed skin.
- Cell3, now fully grown, starts razing cities and absorbing the people to raise his power.
- Piccolo fuses with Kami and battles against Cell3. Cell tells Piccolo about who he is, why he is here, and how he got to this timeline. Cell escapes after Future Trunks2 and Krillin arrive on the scene to aid Piccolo.
- Piccolo hunts for Cell3 while Future Trunks2 and Krillin go to Gero's underground lab to destroy Present Cell1 while he is still gestating. While there, Future Trunks2 finds blueprints for the androids which he gives to Krillin to take to Bulma.
- To become stronger, Vegeta and Future Trunks2 train in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber.
- Piccolo, unable to find Cell, is confronted by the androids. He decides to attempt to destroy them in order to prevent Cell from absorbing them and becoming stronger.
- During Piccolo's battle against Android 17, Bulma contacts Krillin telling him that she is created an emergency shutdown device based on Gero's blueprints. It has a range of 10 meters so Krillin rushes to intercept her and obtain the control device to deactivate and destroy the androids. Cell3 detects Piccolo's raised ki and deduces that he is battling an android; Cell rushes to the scene to absorb the androids and complete his development.
- Cell3 interrupts Piccolo and 17's fight, quickly dispatching Piccolo and nearly absorbing 17 before Android 16 intervenes. Cell and 16 fight relatively evenly, but in the end Cell manages a surprise attack that allows him to absorb 17 and become Semi-Perfect Cell. Cell proceeds to easily deal critical damage to Android 16 and is going to absorb 18 but is halted temporarily by Tien Shinhan, allowing 16 and 18 to escape. Goku quickly arrives on the scene and rescues Piccolo and Tien before retreating again.
- Vegeta and Future Trunks2 emerge from the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, letting Goku and Gohan enter. Vegeta battles against Cell and is clearly dominant in the fight. While they are fighting Krillin approaches Android 18 with the shutdown device, but is captivated by the beautiful android and destroys the remote. Vegeta quickly becomes arrogant with his power and gives Cell leave to absorb 18 to attain his perfect form.
- Cell finds 18 and finally absorbs her, becoming Perfect Cell; he then goes on to defeat Vegeta and Trunks. Cell decides to hold a tournament, the Cell Games, in ten days to test his new abilities.
- Goku and Gohan emerge from the Hyperbolic Time Chamber. Trunks, Vegeta and Piccolo all use the room before the tournament starts. Goku recruits Dende to serve as the Earth's new guardian and reactivate the Dragon Balls.
- The Cell Games start and Goku fights with Perfect Cell. Goku eventually forfeits the match and chooses his son Gohan fight instead.
- Gohan fights Perfect Cell and, after eventually being provoked into transforming into the Super Saiyan 2 stage, delivers a fierce set of hits to Cell, causing him to regurgitate Android 18 and transform back into his Semi-Perfect state.
- Semi-Perfect Cell attempts to destroy the Earth by self-destruction, but Goku sacrifices himself to teleport Semi-Perfect Cell from the Earth to King Kai's planet. Cell explodes, killing Goku and King Kai. Cell's regenerative organ miraculously remains intact, allowing him to fully heal his entire frame. Cell returns to Earth, stronger than ever and kills Future Trunks2, but is defeated for good by Gohan.
- Future Trunks2 is revived by a wish made to Shenron, Krillin wishes to remove the bombs from Androids 17 and 18 (whom he marries 7 years later), Future Trunks2 returns to his timeline to free his future of the Androids and Cell.
- The rest of the history of Dragon Ball Z and later Dragon Ball Super occur.
- Following the events of the Universe 6 Saga, Future Trunks returns to the past to seek help from the Z Fighters after the Zamasu from the original unaltered flow of timeline 1 (Goku Black), arrives and begins slaughtering countless innocent people and thrusting the world into destruction in Future Trunks' timeline. Future Trunks' unnatural arrival via Time Machine causes the main timeline's future to alter off it's set path, eventually resulting in Zamasu's death at Beerus' hand before he can become Goku Black, but the Zamasu (Goku Black) from the original unaltered flow of Timeline 1 still remains unaffected.
- Future Trunks, Goku, and Vegeta travel to the future several times to confront Goku Black and Future Zamasu. They are forced to retreat on two occasions to formulate a better plan of attack.
- The Peaceful World Saga occurs several years later.
- The events of Dragon Ball GT happen in Age 789 through Age 790 and ends in Age 889.
- The events depicted in the "Xeno" period of time occur.
Timeline 2: Future Trunks
This is the timeline belonging to Future Trunks and depicted in a few chapters of the manga. This is the timeline in which any version of Future Trunks did not visit the present timeline. The first part of this timeline, common to timeline 3, is also depicted in the TV special Dragon Ball Z: The History of Trunks. In this one, Future Trunks goes back in time to the main timeline (1) and returns with enough power to kill both the Androids and Future Cell. This timeline can be seen as the "improved" version of timeline 3, which was the "first version" of the timeline for Future Trunks3. Thanks to Cell3's trip to the past in timeline 3, this timeline and timeline 1 were created. In order to defeat Cell3 in timeline 1, Future Trunks trained in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber and increased his power. Thanks to his new power, he was able to destroy the Cell from timeline 2 when he came back. In Dragon Ball: Xenoverse, it is implied that before Trunks' use of his mother's time machine, there was only a single timeline: the nightmarish Future Trunks and his mother lived in, but his use of the Time Machine lead to the first time distortion in the history of the universe which lead to the creation of alternate timelines. In this timeline, there were no "time travelers" except for one, Zamasu6 from the original timeline (known in this timeline as "Goku Black".)
This is the darkest timeline, as every single universe from Future Trunks' timeline was destroyed along with his own, with the only survivors being Future Trunks, Future Mai and Future Zen-Oh, with Trunks and Mai travelling to another timeline to live with their other counterparts. There is nothing except an empty void there now, but it still can be reached through the means of time travel.
- Frieza and King Cold invade Earth and are defeated by Goku.
- Trunks is born, Goku dies from Heart Virus.
- Dr. Gero activates Android 17 and Android 18. They kill him and then proceed to kill all of the other Z Fighters except for Gohan. The Dragon Balls permanently disappear, after Piccolo's death.
- Gohan becomes a Super Saiyan.
- Over the course of 13 years Gohan challenges the androids alone but never wins.
- Gohan trains Trunks, but after losing an arm is later killed by the androids. Trunks attempts to avenge Gohan but is badly beaten.
- Bulma builds a Time Machine to send Trunks to the past with the hopes of finding a way to destroy the androids. Trunks takes medicine to cure Goku's1 heart condition with him.
- Trunks goes back in time to timeline1. He returns after killing Frieza1, giving Goku the medicine, and warning the Z Fighters about the androids.
- Trunks goes back in time again to help the Z Fighters in timeline1 to combat the androids, and later Cell3.
- Trunks returns from timeline1 more powerful as a result of his battles and training. He quickly finds and kills Androids 17 and 18 with little effort.
- Trunks kills the newly emerged Cell2, knowing about Cell's plan to kill him and go back in time (see timeline 3).
- Earth slowly rebuilds its cities as peace comes to its inhabitants.
- An unknown amount of time after Future Cell and the Future Androids are destroyed, Future Supreme Kai arrives and begins to train Future Trunks, causing Trunks to grow not only into a Super Saiyan 2, but grow considerably in power and gain a new sword.
- Sometime after the fall of the Androids and Cell, Future Dabura and Future Babidi arrive with the hopes of reviving Future Majin Buu. Future Trunks intervenes and engages Dabura in combat and easily overpowers Dabura as a Super Saiyan, and kills both Babidi and Dabura in one giant blast, effectively eliminating Majin Buu's revival.
- Eight to nine years pass, after the fall of the Androids and Cell, Zamasu from the original unaltered Timeline 1 (who has now become Goku Black), uses the Time Ring to come to Timeline 2 and then begins his Zero Mortals Plan after killing Gowasu2 and allying with Zamasu2.
- Goku Black and Future Zamasu then use the Super Dragon Balls to make Future Zamasu immortal and then a year later for the Super Dragon Balls to be destroyed.
- Black then invades the Earth and kills most of the population, calling it "justice." Having previously destroyed numerous other planets prior, along with the Supreme Kais. Future Trunks engages the new threat but is easily overpowered and beaten, despite his greatly increased strength.
- Due to the death of the Supreme Kais, the Gods of Destruction of each universe has also died, and their attendants became inactive.
- Future Bulma Suggests going back in time to get the Z Fighters and having them come into the future to assist and begins gathering fuel for a complete trip through time.
- 18 months later Bulma has enough fuel for a one way trip. However Black appears and attacks, with Future Trunks unable to sense his ki. Future Bulma tells Future Trunks to take what is left of the fuel and go. Black murders Future Bulma with a point blank range Ki Blast and Future Trunks flees to Future Mai and the time machine. Black attacks again and Future Trunks is once again overwhelmed. Future Mai attempts to help Future Trunks but is easily knocked unconscious (originally presumed to be killed) by Black. Enraged Future Trunks powers up to Super Saiyan and attacks and is able to catch Black off guard and deal some damage but even though not able to hold his own, eventually beaten but manages to escape with a Masenko.
- Future Trunks gets away and uses the time machine to go back into the past. Black enraged tries to locate him and his Time Ring activates and takes him to timeline 1 where he comes face to face with Future Trunks and the Z-Fighters.
- After a battle with Goku and damaging the time machine, Black's Time Ring brings him back to this timeline where Black moves to attacking the base of the resistance formed by the Earthlings, who struggle to defend it from him.
- Future Trunks returns to this timeline along with Goku and Vegeta and they begin to fight against Black.
- Black overwhelms Vegeta and Goku with his Super Saiyan Rosé form and is later aided by Future Zamasu (Zamasu2).
- Black fights Goku while Future Zamasu fights Future Trunks. The two incarnations of Zamasu succeed in defeating the Saiyan trio, which forces them to escape to Timeline 1.
- The Saiyan trio eventually return to Timeline 2 (this time with Bulma accompanying them), where they are defeated again. But due to the corrupt duo's words, Future Trunks grew angry and tapped into his power, gaining a new transformation. In this form, Future Trunks fought the pair by himself as Goku, Vegeta and Bulma return to Timeline 1 to figure out a plan.
- Goku (having learned the Evil Containment Wave), Vegeta (trained in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber) and Bulma return to Timeline 2 for a rematch, with the resolve to seal the corrupt duo in an urn. Goku Black immediately destroys the time machine, which Bulma resolves to fix. Vegeta is now able to push back Goku Black thanks to his increased strength.
- Goku holds off Future Zamasu for a while until Goku Black strengthens his ki sword into a scythe. Which causes copies of him to appear. Vegeta and Goku struggle to hold them off while Future Trunks learns the Evil Containment Wave from Bulma's cell phone (a video of Piccolo's instructions).
- Future Trunks uses the Evil Containment Wave on Future Zamasu but due to Goku forgetting the seal for the jar Future Zamasu escapes. Goku Black sensing Future Zamasu is in trouble he teleports to him, followed by Goku and Vegeta.
- Goku Black and Future Zamasu decide not to take any more risks and fuse with the Potara Earrings and Fusion Zamasu emerges, calling himself the Supreme God.
- Fusion Zamasu unleashes a devastating assualt against Future Trunks and Vegeta but is pushed by by their double Galick Gun. Fusion Zamasu strikes them down and turns to Goku who unleashes an all-out God Kamehameha.
- Goku pushed Fusion Zamasu back for a while making him lose his ring of light. Fusion Zamasu partly loses his immortality due to the fusion. He regenerates with a purple half.
- Goku is pushed back and everyone is down for the count. Goku suggest that he and Vegeta also use fusion and fuse into Vegito who transforms into Super Saiyan Blue.
- Vegito fights Fusion Zamasu on equal terms but the fusion didn't last long enough (normally 1 hour for non-kaioshins). Right before Fusion Zamasu launches his final attack Future Trunks intervenes after reforging his sword.
- During the fight Future Trunks is able to draw power from everyone around him into his sword (this time with godly energy) and strikes at Fusion Zamasu cutting him in half.
- Fusion Zamasu becomes bodiless and attempts to merge with the universe, annihilating everyone on Earth other than Future Trunks, Future Mai, and those who traveled to the future to help them.
- Future Zen-Oh erases Fusion Zamasu and everything else from existence.
- In the present, Whis says that since he is capable of time travel he will simply go back in time to a point before Goku Black attacks Earth and warn them of Zamasu and simply have Future Beerus eliminate Zamasu and Goku Black when he arrives. Future Trunks and Future Mai will go to live in this new timeline (Timeline 6), where everyone they know is still alive, including their counterparts. Future Zen-Oh is transported through the Time Machine to the present to live with his present counterpart, marking Age 797 as the year that ended the history of Timeline 2, which is now an endless void without anything inhabiting or existing within it.
Timeline 3: Cell
This timeline follows a similar path to timeline 1 and timeline 2, it notably changes on Future Trunks' second return from the past as in this timeline, Future Trunks returned with the android blueprints from timeline 4, not the massive power increase from timeline 1. The androids were destroyed, but Trunks was not powerful enough to combat Cell. Cell killed Future Trunks and used his Time Machine to go back in time to find the androids, creating timelines 1 and 2.
This is one of the darkest timelines, as even Trunks is deceased, also, Majin Buu of that timeline was still sealed, so it is possible that he was released and likely brought chaos in this timeline's universe with nobody to try and stop him.
- Frieza and King Cold invade Earth and are defeated by Trunks5.
- Trunks is born, Goku dies from heart disease.
- Dr. Gero activates Android 17 and Android 18. They kill him and then proceed to kill all of the other Z Fighters except for Gohan. Gohan becomes a Super Saiyan.
- Over the course of 13 years Gohan challenges the androids alone but never wins.
- Gohan trains Trunks, but is eventually killed by the androids. Trunks attempts to avenge Gohan but is badly beaten.
- Bulma builds a Time Machine to send Trunks to the past with the hopes of finding a way to destroy the androids. Trunks takes medicine to cure Goku's4 heart condition with him.
- Trunks goes back in time to timeline 4 (which is created because of this trip). He returns after killing Frieza4, giving Goku4 the medicine, and warning the Z Fighters4 about the Red Ribbon Androids.
- Trunks goes back in time again to help the Z Fighters4 in timeline 4 to combat the androids.
- Trunks returns from the past and destroys the androids after using their emergency stop circuit.
- Cell emerges and, realizing the androids are gone, decides to use Trunks' Time Machine to go back in time and find the androids in the past. Cell ambushes and kills Trunks, gets the Time Machine and goes to Age 7631. This eventually creates timeline 1 and 2. In timeline 1, Cell is ultimately destroyed by Super Saiyan 2 Gohan1 with a Father-Son Kamehameha.
- Even though Trunks died in this timeline, both Cell and the androids are gone, so Earth presumably starts to rebuild itself.
- Since Trunks3 is gone, Majin Buu3 still existed, and was likely revived by Babidi and Dabura with nobody else to stop them, but Buu presumably killed them and proceeded to wreak havoc accross the Earth and the entire universe, thus this timeline's universe was likely destroyed by Buu without anyone to stop his rampage.
Timeline 4: Unseen
This timeline had the same flowstream as Timeline 1 until during the Androids Saga when the Z-fighters manage to defeat the Androids because Cell from another timeline never came to interfere. Meaning that this was a timeline only altered by Trunks from timeline 3.
- Trunks would later return to his timeline to destroy the Androids with the Remote Device.
- Goku, Gohan, Vegeta, and Future Trunks never trained in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber.
- Krillin likely never married, because Android 18 was shut down by the device and destroyed, he presumably continued fighting.
Timeline 5: Unknown
Nothing is known about this timeline, other than that an incarnation of Trunks existed in it.
The Trunks who existed in this timeline visited Timeline 3 (Cell's timeline) in order to defeat Future Frieza and Future King Cold. He presumably never returned to Timeline 3 after heading back to Timeline 5 and the Z Fighters there were killed by that timeline's Androids, or he may have returned only to die alongside them fighting the Androids.
Timeline 6: Main (Unaltered)
- In the original unaltered flow of time of the Main Timeline, at some point after the tournament with Universe 6, Goku fights Zamasu6 and defeats him, which enhances Zamasu's hatred for mortals.
- Zamasu kills Gowasu and steals his Time Ring. He then uses the Super Dragon Balls to switch bodies with Goku and becomes Goku Black.
- Black then kills Goku (in Zamasu's body), Goten and Chi-Chi, and eventually travels to Timeline 2 for initiating his Zero Humans Plan (which leads to a series of events and results in the alteration of this time stream and creates an altered time stream).
- These events are in the original version of Timeline 1, and are erased from having ever happened there - creating another timeline when Beerus annihilates Zamasu, because when a god kills another god, the timeline is affected.
Timeline 7: Second Future Trunks
- Created and split off from the original future trunks timeline by Beerus when he destroyed Zamasu in the main timeline.
- Whis1 arrives in this timeline and tells Beerus7 to deal with Zamasu7 before he can rebel, stopping the Zero Mortals Plan from ever being implemented.
- Trunks2 and Mai2 arrive to live here, since their original world no longer exists. This leads to two Trunks and two Mais existing side by side in this timeline, though they do not have a problem with this.
|Frieza and King Cold||Killed by Trunks2||Killed by Goku2||Killed by Trunks5||Unknown|
|Goku||See Goku||Killed by Goku Black||Died from heart virus||Likely lived thanks to antidote from Trunks3|
|Trunks||See Trunks||Likely killed by Goku Black||See Future Trunks||Killed by Cell||Unknown, noted as being absent in the Cell Games|
|Other Z Fighters||See respective biographies||Likely killed by Goku Black||Killed by the Androids||Unknown|
|Androids 17 and 18||Absorbed by Cell3 but eventually freed and reformed; see Android 17 and Android 18||Likely killed by Goku Black||Killed by Trunks2 in combat||Disabled and destroyed with device based on blueprints obtained by Trunks in timeline 4||Unknown, likely defeated by the Z Fighters using shutdown device or absorbed by Cell to become perfect.|
|Cell||Killed as a fetus by Trunks2 and Krillin||Killed by Trunks2 in failed ambush||Killed by Gohan1 in timeline 1; see Cell||Unknown|
|Babidi and Dabura||Killed by Majin Buu1||Killed by Trunks2||Likely killed by Majin Buu 3||Unknown, likely killed by Majin Buu|
|Supreme Kai||See Supreme Kai||Unknown||Killed by Dabura2||Unknown|
|Kibito||See Kibito||Unknown||Killed by Dabura2||Unknown|
|Old Kai||See Old Kai||Unknown||Died when Dabura2 spit on the Z Sword||Unknown|
|Beerus||See Beerus||Unknown||Died when Supreme Kai2 died||Unknown||Zamasu||Killed by Beerus1||Killed by Zen-Oh2||Unknown|
|Universe 6 Supreme Kai||See Universe 6 Supreme Kai||Unknown||Killed by Goku Black||Unknown|
|Champa||See Champa||Unknown||Died when Universe 6 Supreme Kai died||Unknown|
|Gowasu||See Gowasu||Killed by Zamasu||Killed by Goku Black||Unknown|
|Supreme Kais||See Supreme Kais||Unknown||Killed by Goku Black||Unknown|
|Gods of Destruction||See Gods of Destruction||Unknown||Died when the Supreme Kais died||Unknown|
|Zen-Oh||See Zen-Oh||Unknown||See Future Zen-Oh||Unknown|
- Cell3 traveled back in time to Age 763, according to him, because that was the year that was programmed on the machine. But if Future Trunks3 story is similar to Future Trunks2 story, he was about to use the machine to tell the Z Fighters from timeline 4 that he had defeated the androids in his universe. However, there is no reason for Future Trunks3 to go to Age 763 to do that; nobody knew him at that time, since his first trip was to Age 764. (This might only be explained by the inaccuracy of the time machine.)
- It is explained by Gowasu that a green Time Ring appears when an alternate timeline is created. With five green Time Rings being shown aside from the main silver Time Ring for their own timeline, it is known that there are six different timelines.
- The first alternate timeline was created by a time machine utilized by a mortal from an advanced civilization in Universe 12.
- In Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, it is stated that the events of The Tree of Might, Lord Slug, Cooler's Revenge, The Return of Cooler, Broly - The Legendary Super Saiyan, Broly - Second Coming and Fusion Reborn all occur in a separate timeline from the main one