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Time map2-1-

The four alternate timelines

Several alternate timelines are shown to exist in the Dragon Ball manga and the Dragon Ball Z 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.

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 1: Main

Gohan-blast

Gohan kills Cell in the main timeline

This is the main timeline in which the Dragon Ball series takes place and ultimately leads to the Majin Buu story arc (and finally the Shadow Dragon story arc). 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 regrow himself. 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, and returns to his timeline.
  • The rest of Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT happens.

Timeline 2: Future Trunks

This is the timeline belonging to Future Trunks and depicted in a few chapters of the manga. 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.

FTrunksTime(UD)

Future Trunks' timeline before he travels to the past

  • 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 and the Dragon Balls permanently disappear, because of Piccolo's death. Gohan becomes a Super Saiyan.
  • Over the course of thirteen years Gohan challenges the androids alone but can not defeat them.
  • 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's1 heart condition with him.
  • Trunks goes back in time to timeline 1. 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 timeline 1 to combat the androids, and later Cell3.
New city

The city rebuilt after the destruction of 18 and 17

  • Trunks returns from timeline 1 more powerful as a result of his battles and training while there. 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.
  • This timeline is continued in the PSP game Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai - Another Road.

Timeline 3: Cell

CellGettingOut

Cell just before he escapes Dr. Gero's underground laboratory, in his timeline

This timeline follows the same path as timeline 2, but diverges 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 can be seen as the "original" timeline, as no time traveller arrives to this timeline from a different future. It is also the darkest timeline, as even Future Trunks is deceased. This timeline can be seen as the first "version" of timeline 2.

  • Frieza and King Cold invade Earth and are defeated by Goku. It should be noted, however, that Cell mentioned to Piccolo that Dr. Gero's Super Computer would have copied Future Trunks' data had it not been for the fact that they already have more than enough Saiyan data to infuse Cell with. This would imply that the supercomputer observed Trunks as a baby or teenager. However, the anime flashback shows when Future Trunks killed Frieza and King Cold in the main timeline. Also, in the same discussion, Cell mentions that he was barely able to collect genetic information from Frieza before "He met his end at the hands of Trunks."
  • 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 a course of thirteen years, Gohan challenges the androids alone, but he can not defeat them.
  • 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.
ImperfectkillsFutureTrunks

Cell strangles and kills Trunks in his timeline

  • 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 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 starts to rebuild itself.

Timeline 4: Unseen

No characters from this timeline are ever seen. This is the timeline where Future Trunks3 originally went to from timeline 3, and it is what timeline 1 would have been if only Future Trunks3 had gone back in time, but not Cell3. This timeline can be seen as the first "version" of timeline 1. As timeline 3 is the "original" timeline, timeline 4 is the first alternate timeline ever created by the first time travel ever done.

The events explained in the fourth timeline depend on the assumption that Future Trunks3 came to this timeline and somehow found a mean to deactivate and/or destroy the androids. Before Future Trunks3 went back to timeline 4 to let the Z Fighters know that he saved his future, Cell3 killed him and stole his Time Machine in order to absorb the Android 17 and Android 18 in timeline 1.

  • Frieza and King Cold, invade Earth to get revenge on Goku. They are killed by Future Trunks3 who appears from the future. Future Trunks3 meets Goku when he arrives on the planet and gives him the heart medicine; he also warns the Z Fighters about the Red Ribbon Androids who will arrive in three years, before returning to his future.
  • 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 Trunks3 arrives back to this timeline and finds the destroyed Android 19, a robot he is 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 Androids 17 and 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.
  • The Z Fighters defeat or find a mean to stop the androids in this timeline.
  • Future Trunks3 leaves back to timeline 3 to deactivate the future androids.

Character summary

Character(s) Timeline
1 2 3 4
Frieza and King Cold Killed by Future Trunks2 Killed by Goku Killed by Future Trunks3
Goku See GokuDied from heart virusLikely lived thanks to antidote from Trunks3
Trunks See TrunksSee Future TrunksKilled by CellLikely lived
Other Z FightersSee respective biographiesKilled by androidsLikely lived since Goku lived and the Androids in that timeline did not seek to kill the rest of the Z Fighters, like in the main timeline, and because the Androids were deactivated
Androids 17 and 18Absorbed by Cell3 but eventually freed and reformed; see Android 17 and Android 18Killed by Future Trunks in combatDisabled and destroyed with device based on blueprints obtained by Trunks in timeline 4Likely destroyed by device made based on blueprints
Cell Killed as a fetus by Future Trunks2 and KrillinKilled by Trunks2 in failed ambushKilled by Gohan1 in timeline 1Likely killed by Future Trunks3 and Krillin4 as a fetus like in timeline 1, as the android's blueprints were next to him

See also

References

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