Created 25 years ago, Dragon Ball has become one of the most successful mass media franchises in the world, evolving from a simple fantasy adventure into a visually distinctive series that spans the entire universe and beyond. Some of the most iconic villains in anime are a part of Dragon Ball universe, including (and perhaps most surprisingly) the powerhouse non-canon villain, Broly.
Ahead the release of Dragon Ball Super: Broly, CBR and a number of other press outlets got the chance to sit down with the cast of the film, including Broly voice actor Vic Mignogna. After playing the super-sized Sayan across multiple movies and games, a surprisingly contradictory and compelling incarnation of the character is being introduced in the feature film, and no one is more excited about that than Mignogna.
The actor has a deep relationship with the character, having voiced him in three previous non-canon films and a host of video games. Initially meant as a purely physical threat, Broly has become a massive fan favorite while also generating a great deal of controversy within the fanbase. The character become the subject of intense debate among those who couldn't stand the simplistic brawler due to his lack of depth, even as others singled him out as one of the most memorable and intimidating villains in the franchise. Well aware with the baggage attached to the character, Mignogna jumped at the chance to reinvent the role for the new film.
"Back when the first Broly movie came out, I was cast to play the role. And then I played it for three movies and thirteen video games," Mignogna recalled. "When I heard there was a new one coming out, I certainly kept my fingers crossed. I thought, 'Don’t let me have played this character for fifteen years and then take him away. Don’t let someone else play him.'
"If I could have changed anything about him, it would have been for him to come to the prime universe and become canon," the actor continued. "So when I heard it was coming out, I was so excited, and at the same time so hopeful that I’d be able to do it again."
One of the defining aspects of Broly tends to be his more simplistic aspects as the previous narratives featuring the character were never interested in exploring the humanity at his core. In a franchise full of people dedicated to fighting, Broly took this conceit to such an extreme that he never had the ability to speak more then a few words per appearance. But with the new incarnation of the character exploring what drives Broly instead of the fights he ends up in, Mignogna has been given a new chance to explore the character. He's also pretty sure he knows why it works better. "It’s Akira Toriyama’s version of Broly, so it’s a different Broly, and I have to say it’s a better Broly. I knew the original really well, and he didn’t have much backstory. He didn't have much development, there really wasn’t that much background to him."
"I think that was the main thing me and fans of Broly would have liked to change, to know more about him and why does he do what he does, something with a bit more substance than, ‘Oh there was a baby crying next to him and he freaked out.' When I finally got to see this movie and realized I was going to get the chance to play the character again, I was so thrilled. This is something I’ve been hoping [for] over a decade a half. The fans who didn’t love him, or didn’t think there was much substance to him, are going to love him. And the fans who always loved Broly are going to love him even more now."
"Anybody can yell. You can put anyone into a box and go, ‘Yell louder! Scream louder, longer! Yell! Bigger!’ That’s not the most challenging thing. But to get the chance to act a backstory, to get the chance to actually speak and communicate a history and an emotion to a character who didn’t have it before. That’s an incredible thrill as an actor. That was my favorite part. That’s when I realized this Broly has a lot more dimensions and background than he ever did before.
"’m quite certain that’s what the audience is going to take away from the movie," Mignogna continued. "That they actually feel for this guy. He’s not just this fighting machine. He’s not just this muscle bound oaf that just wants to kill everybody and destroy planets. It’s so beautiful because Dragon Ball is known for fights and competition, and there’s certainly plenty of that in this movie. It’s dynamic, it’s action-packed -- but you also get some of the deeper character development."
Directed by Tatsuya Nagamine, Dragon Ball Super: Broly hits theaters on Jan. 16.