The New Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero Transformations Explained

"Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero" has finally made its way into North American theaters, serving as a followup to "Dragon Ball Super: Broly," released in 2018. The film takes an unexpected route, focusing on characters that have taken a backseat in recent years in the "Dragon Ball Super" anime and manga. Specifically, it's Piccolo and Gohan who get their time to shine. "Super Hero" features the return of one of the oldest "Dragon Ball" evil organizations, The Red Ribbon Army, and two new and deadly superhero androids. 

With Goku and Vegeta off-world, Piccolo and Gohan need to rise to the occasion to defeat the Red Ribbon Army (again). 

The only problem for the duo is that they've not grown much in power since their "Dragon Ball Z" days. Gohan specifically had always been touted as the one to carry the mantle of his father as the strongest, with characters saying multiple times over the years that he has the potential to surpass even Goku in strength. Unfortunately, the time skip in the "Dragon Ball Super" anime showed Gohan becoming complacent with his power, choosing to be a family man and pursue an education and a job. 

"Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero" seeks to make amends with the two Z fighters pushed to the wayside. Piccolo and Gohan both receive powerups, and to celebrate the long overdue power upgrades for the fan favorites, we're breaking down how they got them and what it means for the future of "Dragon Ball Super."

Spoilers follow for "Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero"

Orange Piccolo

The first character to get their upgrade is Piccolo, who is at the heart of "Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero." The Namekian spends his days during the "Dragon Ball: Super" timeline, training himself and Gohan's daughter, Pan. When the Red Ribbon Army returns, complete with new androids that easily best him in battle, Piccolo realizes he needs to get stronger. Having trained all he can, Piccolo's solution is to find the Dragon Balls and use them to unlock his innate potential. 

Getting the Dragon Balls is easy enough, thanks to Bulma and the Capsule Corporation, who gather them daily for Bulma to use however she pleases. It's a short and humorous moment in the film, with Piccolo asking Shenron to help him unlock his true potential. Shenron then grants Piccolo his wish, and it isn't until a climactic battle with the superhero androids Gamma 1 and 2 that Piccolo shows off his new form: Orange Piccolo. 

Orange Piccolo is bulkier and, you guessed it, an orange version of Piccolo. This newly added strength allows him to defeat one of the two Gamma androids easily and even helps him hold his own against the real threat of the film at the end. This is the most powerful Piccolo has ever been and provides a much-needed upgrade for the Z fighter.

Gohan Beast

Gohan's potential has always been the talk of the "Dragon Ball" fandom. At one point in the "Dragon Ball Z" story, Gohan took center stage and grew in power at a young age, nearly surpassing his father. However, Goku eventually took away the story's focus, and in turn, Gohan was left to collect dust and not grow in power. In "Super Hero, " Piccolo becomes frustrated with Gohan's complacency and tries to push him to grow stronger throughout the film.

Piccolo plays to Gohan's emotions, staging a kidnapping of Gohan's daughter Pan for him to join the fight against the Red Ribbon army. However, what ends up motivating Gohan, in the end, is Piccolo on the brink of death in battle. Gohan's love and respect for his real father (sorry, Goku, you're literally never around for your son) unlocks the potential in Gohan, giving him an entirely new form separate from Goku or Vegeta's "Super Saiyan God" forms. 

Nicknamed "Gohan Beast," this new form sees Gohan as something like a wild beast awakened within him, giving him red eyes and light gray hair. The transformation comes from a state of pure rage and quickly sees Gohan defeat the final antagonist of "Super Hero." Speaking of the final antagonist, it's an old fan-favorite "Dragon Ball Z" villain that no one saw coming.

Cell Max

Throughout "Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero," there is the looming threat of the Red Ribbon Army's resurrection of the Android known as Cell, the creation of Dr. Gero. Cell nearly defeated all of the Z fighters until he met his end at the hands of Gohan. In "Super Hero," Dr. Gero's grandson, Dr. Hedo, begins work on rebuilding Cell even stronger than before. Unfortunately, before finding a way to control this new Cell, it is awakened earlier than anticipated and takes on an entirely new form: Cell Max. 

If Cell was a sophisticated and ever-evolving Android, Cell Max is a mindless beast that resembles Cell only in its appearance. This giant, roided-out Cell serves as the surprise final opponent in "Super Hero," He nearly wipes out all the Z fighters left on earth until Gohan transforms into Gohan Beast. Cell Max comes across as animalistic and crazed, and while he cannot regenerate like the Cell featured in "Dragon Ball Z," he can take a lot more punishment. 

After Gohan and Piccolo barely destroy Cell Max with their new forms, they express their doubts about whether Goku or Vegeta could have defeated the newly resurrected Cell. It's a dangerous new form that Gohan and Piccolo destroyed before achieving its deadly potential.

Dragon Ball Super moving forward

"Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero" is an entertaining film that seems to serve one singular purpose: to give fan favorites Gohan and Piccolo some much-needed strength. The two characters have been on the sidelines for most of the conflicts featured in "Dragon Ball Super," only ever providing backup due to their lack of strength compared to Goku or Vegeta. Thanks to the conflict in "Super Hero," Piccolo and Gohan have the power to rival Goku's and will no doubt play a more prominent role going forward.

While both characters receive new transformations, Gohan still has not yet reached the ceiling of his power level. "Super Hero" lets viewers know that this is as strong as Piccolo will get (which is still pretty strong), but that this new primal form Gohan has unlocked is still not the end for the son of Goku. It will be interesting to see where Gohan goes from here and how he and Piccolo will use these new forms in the next big conflict.