Dragon Ball has been popular since the early 90s and right now it’s in a new golden era. Fans who grew up with Dragon Ball Z look back on it with warm nostalgia and the last few years have seen TV shows, movies and video games that have introduced many new fans to Akira Toriyama’s iconic world.
Now, it seems there’s a chance that Disney might be after a piece of that pie. Instagram artist Yadvender Singh Rana (aka UltraRaw26) posted a cool bit of Dragon Ball art to his feed and commented the following along with it:
“I heard this rumor few days ago that Disney is planning to start a new Dragon Ball live action franchise with hope of replicating the massive success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now this is only a rumor, I don’t know if it’s TRUE or what. I only hope to see super saiyan 4 make an entrance one day on the live action screen.”
Now, as good an artist as Rana is, this is just an unsubstantiated rumor and you should definitely take it with a pinch of salt. However, there are a couple of things to support this, as there’ve been stories swirling around that Disney have been working on a new movie for some time.
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Word is that the Disney Dragon Ball film will have a huge budget and feature an exclusively Asian cast. Aquaman star Ludi Lin is reportedly being eyed for the role of Goku, while Crazy Rich Asians breakout Henry Golding is on the studio’s wishlist to play Vegeta.
But, as we don’t have an official announcement, this could all be wishful thinking. After all, we still don’t know exactly which rights Disney acquired when they merged with Fox. They may have the production rights to make new Dragon Ball movies, or they may only have distribution rights for the existing movies. We know that Fox had production rights at some point as they made the dreadful Dragon Ball Evolution in 2009, but those may have reverted since then.
Let’s assume that Disney does have production rights for a moment, though. If this is the case, then the Mouse House may see Dragon Ball as an IP that could crack China. After all, the failure of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in that region means they may be searching for something to fill the gap in that market.
I reckon a series of big budget live-action Dragon Ball movies using the ‘cinematic universe’ formula of the MCU might be just that, and the cherry on top is that the franchise is also wildly popular across the world. For now, I guess we’ll have to wait and see. I wouldn’t put too much stock in a random rumor online, but Disney pursuing this does make sense to me.