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One of the recurring questions in the original Dragon Ball Z manga was if Future Trunks's future could have been restored somehow.

Obviously the story was carefully made to remove the Earth Dragon Balls from the picture, but that would still leaves the New Namek version as an option. "Lucky" since Goku is dead that also removes the possibility for Trunks to know that New Namek exists in the first place.

But then Trunks comes to the present timeline. And everyone in that timeline knows that Namek still exist, with its set of Dragon Balls.

This in turn creates a question: is there any reason Trunks couldn't just get the information about Namek new location from the present timeline, get a spaceship from present day Bulma and get present Piccolo or even Dende to come with him to the future Namek and ask them for help?

Notice that this becomes even weirder if you consider that in Super Trunks has somehow made contact with the Kai but he still hasn't tried using the Namek Dragon Balls to resurrect everyone.

Dragon Ball once implied some weird time limit for resurrection, but that seems to apply only to evil people (because after a while their soul is cleansed and reincarnated).

Is there any other reason I am missing or is this a case of "we don't care, the cursed timeline is an useful plot device so it stays that way"? (which is kinda odd since thanks to Xenoverse 2 even Akira should be aware that "most time patrolers want to keep the happy future timeline going").

Also worth noticing that Team Four Star did reference this in the arbriged version: Bulma tries to find the new Namek but fails. Why she couldn't just ask to the past Z Fighters is still an open question.

Therefore, to summarize: is there any actual reason Future Trunks could not have learnt the position of new Namek from the present timeline Z-Fighters and then used a spaceship from present Bulma to reach the planet (maybe with some of the present timeline characters tagging along to be recognized) and ask the Namekian for help, either to restore the planet or resurrect the people killed by the androids?

2 Answers 2

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For the Cell Saga

Future trunks could've traveled to Namek, using Vegeta's spaceship. Since Trunks was born and raised on Earth implies Vegeta came on Earth, and he could've easily used his spaceship or Bulma could've repaired it if needed since she's depicted as a brilliant person when it comes to technology, to travel to Namek, if Kami wasn't there on Earth for some reason. Trunks could've easily gotten Namek's location from Picollo or others from the present day.

For Zamasu's erasure as well

Z-fighters could gather Super Dragon Balls from their timeline and revive Trunk's universe. As Super Dragon Balls have been shown to revive universes, not sure about Earth's Shenron's power regarding this.

He could've used present-day's Shenron as well, to recreate the same, as reviving the planets and dead is within reach of Shenron's powers.

One more thing is that the concept of timelines isn't straight in Dragon Ball, as changing the past, just creates a new timeline, which doesn't follow the space-time continuum.

I think Future is left as is, just in case new arcs are required (like they created Cell Saga in Z and Goku Black in Super), as having a similar timeline would remove that possibility, like which Goku to shine in that case.

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  • you have one mistake here: Goku get to know new Namek position from King Kai after he discovers a planet similar to Namek. At that point the Namekian get wished on that planed and from there onward the main cast / Goku know where they are. It is plausible that Goku does not know the exact coordinates of the plane but Bulma could probably map those out. It is also credible that since he died in the Future timeline no one has a way to travel to New Namek there and know its position. The point is that that info should be available in the past timeline so Trunks should be able to use it.
    – SPArcheon
    Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 12:08
  • Considering that Goku never resurected King Kai despite being asked to (see Super) it is in character for him to not telling Trunks that he could try to reach New Namek in his timeline but Bulma (his mother ) should be much smarter than Mr. FightFightTrainTransformFight
    – SPArcheon
    Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 12:10
  • As for the Super Trunks timeline, I always assumed that even if that is not canon in any way, the disappearance of the timeline was made so that the fan theory that the videogame Xenoverse Trunks is the Future Trunks after he went away with Mai and Chronoa "spirited away" him would work
    – SPArcheon
    Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 12:14
  • Haha, you're right, also in the past time anything is possible using Dragon Balls, also it is highly possible that the location of New Namek was asked by Picollo or Gohan who actually cared for them, but the focus was mostly on others then, so it might have been missed in the story. And dying of illness (Goku) is a silly reason in Dragon Ball verse, where even death itself is a joke. And don't mind the Super, Mai was seen as a woman (similar to Bulma) in the original Dragon Ball when Goku was a kid, but in Super, she's the same age as Trunks. LOL
    – Zero
    Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 12:19
  • Mai is kinda explained. Kinda.
    – SPArcheon
    Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 12:45
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This interview from volume 4 indicates how the authors view Trunks's timeline. Mainly, they do not view it as possible to revive anyone who dies, since the earth's Dragon Balls are gone, and they view it as a point to make the story more tense:

interview

Would Trunks "Save" His Future?

The answer is most likely no. Too much time has passed. Both those who died and those who survived have grown to accept the deaths. This is not a foreign theme to Dragon Ball. Think, for instance, of when Goku tells everyone not to revive him after his death in the Cell Games. Interestingly, he does this partly because he believes his presence attracts trouble to earth. He may be onto something, because Trunks's timeline has minimal problems with Buu, and Zamasu is actually caused by Goku in the present timeline. At any rate, Future Trunks and Future Bulma decide to accept what has happened--all the destruction and the deaths of their friends. They endeavor to move on with life and rebuild from there.

Another very important thing to note is that the time machine serves a function very similar to the Dragon Balls, and thus their wish has already been granted. Namely, a timeline now exists where the Androids were defeated and the dystopian future did not come. They can rest easy knowing there is a timeline where their friends and family are living peacefully. This is enough for them.

Can Trunks "Save" His Future?

There are some key problems in the Future Timeline.

  1. There are no Earth Dragon Balls in the Future Timeline due to Piccolo dying.
  2. It's possible the Namekian Dragon Balls may be unreachable due to infrastructure problems (there's reason to believe spaceship fuel may not be available in high enough quantities). The situation with the Super Dragon Balls is much worse since they're so big, and I do not see any way Trunks could gather them.
  3. Wish limitations on the Namekian and Earth Dragon Balls mean that Trunks probably could not fully revive his world. There is a rule that mass revivals cannot be done if more than a year has passed. Due to Frieza's revival in Dragon Ball Super, however, it seems highly likely that Trunks could still revive individual friends as long as they haven't already been reincarnated or anything like that.
  4. A lack of knowledge is also a problem. Trunks likely doesn't know of the lifted limitations on the Namekian Dragon Balls (since they weren't able to do mass revivals before). He also probably doesn't know where New Namek is. And Trunks also likely does not know about the existence of the Super Dragon Balls (before his time traveling in Dragon Ball Super).

Infrastructure Problems

Infrastructure Problems

In Dragon Ball Super, it is shown that Trunks and his mother struggle to get enough fuel for their time machine, and only make enough for a one way trip. In the present timeline, Bulma has only just invented the fuel for the time machine, but is able to more easily make enough fuel for Trunks to use. Most likely this is due to the androids decimating the infrastructure of the whole world back in the future timeline.

Extrapolating from this, I would think it likely that the remaining infrastructure would not be able to accommodate space voyages. In their blind rampage, the androids may have destroyed all the space ships. Even if not, the fuel would be a problem. Bulma decided to put all their efforts into the time machine, and they barely scraped by with that. Even after the androids are gone, they struggle getting enough fuel, suggesting the infrastructure problem is not solved. They probably do not have the ability to make a spaceship and the fuel it would require. This is an especially daunting task if they do not know where New Namek is.

The Super Dragon Balls are not really an option for Trunks, given how big they are. He could ask the gods to help him, but the Destroyers are unlikely to do so, and the Supreme Kais have not been shown to be able to collect them (as far as I can recall). Post Zamasu (post here refers to the time period after Zamasu begins his plot, where he is active, and before Zeno kills him and everything else), all the gods in the multiverse are dead, including the Destroyers. It seems a safe bet that the angels and Zeno would not help Trunks here due to their neutrality stance and the lack of a personal relationship Trunks has with Whis. So though the Super Dragon Balls are the best shot Trunks has at fixing everything, he doesn't really have any chance of being able to use them. I think we need to rule them out.

Post Zeno, the whole multiverse is destroyed. There's a chance that the Super Dragon Balls are gone too, though they might be indestructible, so who knows (It is stated that Zamasu destroyed the Super Dragon Balls after making his wishes). At that point, the only option Trunks has is to get help from the other timeline. Beerus and Whis might be able to collect the Super Dragon Balls for him, but they don't. Whis instead offers a different solution which puts Trunks back into the Zamasu phase. Though there's no rule stated as far as I'm aware, I doubt the other Dragon Balls would be strong enough to affect a different timeline. I believe we can infer this from the interview from volume 4 (see beginning of this answer), where the authors state that no one who dies in Trunks's timeline (mainly referring to Vegeta and Goku) can be revived.

Help From the Present

Even establishing these problems, there are obvious workarounds for Trunks. For getting a spaceship, he could simply ask for one from his mother in the past, where that's no problem. And with capsule technology, the limited space in his time machine is no problem, so he can easily take them back. He can also ask Goku where New Namek is.

So, Trunks should be set. But only if he can even think to ask. It's actually a bit doubtful as to whether he could conceive of this plan, for reasons explained in the next section.

Lack of Knowledge

At the point in the story where we first meet Future Trunks, nobody knows about the lifted limitations on the Namekian Dragon Balls. This is not revealed until after the Buu saga. Thus, Goku and Future Trunks would both be limited to thinking that these Dragon Balls cannot restore everyone killed by the androids.

If we move to Dragon Ball Super, Trunks still has no reason to inquire about the Namekian Dragon Balls. Thus, someone from the present would have to suggest it. It's very plausible they'd just not even think about it, and thus not mention it. Particularly as they and the story tone often don't seem to take Future Trunks's problems as seriously as he does:

Goku messes up

(This is more of a Dragon Ball Super thing than Dragon Ball Z thing)

And given that even more years have passed, there's a great chance that it's impossible to revive everyone due to the limitations on the Dragon Balls, as explained in the next section.

Limitations on the Dragon Balls

Not really a source, but I was using this to verify two rules I remembered. https://screenrant.com/dragon-ball-shenron-wish-rules-change-explained/

I think it's true that it's been stated that people cannot be revived if too much time has passed (one year). Given that Frieza was still revived even though more time than that has passed, it probably has to do with souls being purified in the afterlife or something. In Frieza's case, his stubbornness prevented him from being purified. Given that this limitation rule is stated as a general rule, and not directed solely towards evil characters, I think it likely that ordinary people's souls are also purified and reincarnated, thus making them unavailable for revival. If this is the case, then Trunks cannot revive his world at the point in the story where he is introduced or any point afterwards since too much time has passed.

Just going solely off my memory of the series, I'm not entirely confident on those previous points on that limitation, simply because I don't remember it being stated in canon (the linked article states "In a conversation with King Kai in the Frieza saga, Kami claims that the Dragon Balls can only perform mass resurrections when the subjects have been deceased for under a year, drawing another red line under Shenron's abilities."). What I'm quite confident on, however, is the limitation on being unable to revive someone who died of natural causes. I recall King Kai contemplating this while considering resurrecting the Grand Elder Guru, so this is definitely a rule. Thus, at the very least, resurrecting Goku would be impossible since he died of natural causes (a disease).

Conclusions

Post Zeno, the only shot Trunks has is the Super Dragon Balls. But even in the other cases, it's doubtful the Namekian Dragon Balls would be enough, given the one year limitation on mass revivals. Trunks could potentially revive individual friends and family members one by one (excluding Goku), but a mass revival couldn't happen without the Super Dragon Balls.

Since Trunks has no hope of collecting the Super Dragon Balls in his timeline, going to the present timeline would be his best chance. He could ask Beerus and Champa to help him, but they are unlikely to do so, especially since Whis already gave him a solution which the gods thought was already too generous and too much time tampering.

Probably the best chance Trunks had for a mass revival was to have participated in the Tournament of Power in the present timeline and taken the wish granted to the winner. In that case, he probably could have even fully resurrected the multiverse in the timeline Zeno destroyed (as long as it is really true that the Super Dragon Balls have no limits).

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  • Back in Dragon Ball we are shown that Uncle Gohan still lives in the afterlife as a spirit, despite the fact that quite a lot of time has passed after the incident that got him killed. Goku is never reincarnated after his death in the Cell saga and based on Gohan age during the Bu saga many years have passed. You may argue that this is an honor reserved to good fighters that helped in the past, but even in that case they should be able to resurrect Goku & most of the Z fighters without issues.
    – SPArcheon
    Commented Aug 11, 2023 at 7:56
  • So, the alleged time issue should not be a problem (I think the only actual time Shenron mentions something like that is when Kid Goku first climbs Karin's tower, afterward it never really comes up again). It is also worth noticing that during Bu saga when everyone dies... they all end up in the same place. I also don't get what you mean by "nobody knows about the lifted limitations on the Namekian Dragon Balls"... What limitations? The "one time resurrection" thing? That is the reason Goku becomes SSJ on Namek - he thoug Krilin couldn't come back. What happened next....?
    – SPArcheon
    Commented Aug 11, 2023 at 7:59
  • @SPArcheon The Namekian Dragon Balls were originally not able to do mass resurrections of people who died under similar circumstances (all killed by Buu, for example). As far as I'm aware, Goku and everyone else didn't know this limitation was lifted until the Buu Saga, when it became necessary to use them due to the Earth Dragon Balls being destroyed along with the planet. Thus, at the original time of Future Trunks's arrival in Dragon Ball Z, they would not have suggested using the Namekian Dragon Balls to him for the purposes of reviving everyone killed by the androids. Commented Aug 12, 2023 at 14:34
  • I only remember that detail because I forgot it. anime.stackexchange.com/questions/38349/… Commented Aug 12, 2023 at 16:43

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