Dragon Ball Z: Light of Hope Author Interview

dragon ball z light of hope android 18

Dragon Ball Z: Light of Hope has arrived with a bang, receiving over 100,000 views in 24 hours. Want to learn what we have in mind for the series?

Here are some interviews to give you a better idea of our goals.

Robot Underdog is interviewed on Film Combat Syndicate, where they talk about the inspiration for the project.

And I am interviewed on Dragon-Ball-Z.net, the contents of which are copied here.


Derek is the screenplay writer of Dragon Ball Z: The Light of Hope, created by Robot Underdog. The project is a new live-action Dragon Ball Z web series centered on Gohan, Trunks and the Androids taking place in the dystopian future of an alternate Dragon Ball timeline.

Taking time away from writing the screenplay Derek has been kind enough to answer a few questions about the upcoming DBZ fan film.

How did you get involved with the Dragon Ball Z: The Light of Hope project?

I met the producers of Robot Underdog in Los Angeles as a consultant on their live action DBZ project. Then about half a year later they emailed and asked if I wanted to be involved as the head writer. I found out later that a fan of The Dao of Dragon Ball had recommended me to be the writer.

I felt it would be a great opportunity to bring Dragon Ball Z to life in the way fans have always wanted, and a chance to challenge myself.

I was hesitant at first, but then I thought, “What would Goku do?” So I said yes.

What can we expect from the project you’re working on with Robot Underdog?

Dragon Ball fans can expect a live action series that is true to the spirit and integrity of Akira Toriyama’s masterpiece. Unlike a certain Hollywood adaptation, I’ve written the episodes in a way that incorporates the genuine personalities and feelings of Bulma, Gohan, Trunks, and the Androids.

There’s a healthy amount of transformation, both physically and spiritually, that occurs across each of their story arcs amid the fighting. There’s a nice blend of action and drama, with occasional Dragon Ball style jokes to lighten the mood. It takes what you know and love about Dragon Ball and makes it real.

As a fan of Dragon Ball, I wrote this series to create something that fans will enjoy watching for years to come.

trunks laughing dragon ball z light of hope

Rewriting Dragon Ball to be a live action must be a difficult job, what have been the main challenges you’ve faced so far?

For me it isn’t about recreating the anime, it’s about telling a universal story in the Dragon Ball setting with the Dragon Ball characters in a Dragon Ball way.

Akira Toriyama doesn’t explain his characters, he shows their actions and leaves it up to the audience to interpret. That makes the characters easy to write so long as you understand the roles each character plays and the emotional connections between them. I know these characters well, so it was a simple question of, “How would Android 17 react to being kicked in the face by Trunks?” And then it flows.

I finished writing all of the episodes in one shot over a couple of weeks, and while it was an effort, it came naturally. I meditate every day, and each time I sat down I received inspiration that entered my mind and later traveled through my hands onto the page. Or as I was falling asleep it would pop into my head, I’d jump out of bed and write down a few lines. The script was written quickly because I was inspired.

The hardest part was learning how to format a screenplay, as that was a new adventure. But it only took a day or two.

What’s it like working with the awesome Robot Underdog team?

They’re in Los Angeles and I’m in New York, so we did everything over the Internet. I’d love to be on set for filming, but right now that’s not an option. Whenever they need help writing some lines for a follow up piece, such as the script for a trailer, they send me a message and I get back to work. I enjoy seeing the episodes progress from concept to completion.

Have you got plans for writing any more live action fan films?

No plans for more. There are a surprising amount of live action DBZ fan films being made across the world. I’ve been contacted by others to help out in the past, which I did to varying degrees, but I felt that Robot Underdog’s had the most potential, so I said yes to writing the entire script from scratch.

What do you think the future of Dragon Ball is?

Dragon Ball is an evergreen series that continues to entertain people across the world and make money, whether it’s through films, comics, video games, or toys. I predict it will be around for a long time.

Now if only Akira Toriyama would create a new one!

Funding: If you’d like to see this project come to life, please contribute your Genki to our IndieGogo campaign. Every dollar makes a difference. Thank you.



8 responses to “Dragon Ball Z: Light of Hope Author Interview”

  1. Why Go Nine When You Can Goten says:

    I don’t know she seems too terminator to be Krillins wife?

    • DerekPadula says:

      I’m not commenting on her acting choice, but remember that this is the alternate ‘future’ timeline, where the Artificial Humans are different from the regular timeline. She had a different life with different experiences, and ruthlessly murdered Krillin.

      • Why Go Nine When You Can Goten says:

        Do you call it the light of hope because of the light given off by a super saiyan?

        • DerekPadula says:

          That is one of the reasons. It’s a multi-layered title which will hopefully be profound once you’ve seen all 3 episodes.

          • Why Go Nine When You Can Goten says:

            Interesting everything concerning Dragonball is multi-layered but these episodes probably wont be out for quite some time i gather? By the way battle of gods was a big disappointment for me and i think Fox had something to do with it after all they funded Evolution as well? I think Fox tried to westernize the show to such an extent that the whole thing went to pieces?

          • DerekPadula says:

            Yeah, it will be a while. We’re still trying to gather the funds for the 1st episode on our IndieGogo page. But the scripts are done!

            There’s no way to know how involved Fox was with Battle of Gods, unfortunately. I enjoy everything Akira Toriyama does, and liked it a lot. Doesn’t even cross my mind on whether or not it could be “better.” I appreciate it for what it is.

          • Why Go Nine When You Can Goten says:

            In other words your saying that you support the product chain instead of the heart of dbz am i right? You see Battle of Gods violates many things that classic dbz stands for example their is no way Gohan would ever get drunk, secondly Goku wouldn’t destroy King Kais planet just to spar with someone and last of all Goku wouldn’t be ashamed to have his friends lend him energy to defeat a planet destroying foe. By the way the God battle made it seem like everyone should go play baseball and let Vegeta do all the fighting from now on. I mean seriously they portrayed SSJ3 Goku and Mystic Gohan as completely powerless fighters. I also find it very strange that screw-attack came out with their Superman death battle at the same time? What is this some campaign by the far right to belittle the Z Fighters because they taught too many good eastern style morals to the children living in America? After all the east has many good morals that would be of great benefit to western culture. Good morals like:

            Giving ones life to protect family and friends.

            Training to be the best you can be physically, mentally and spiritually.

            Striving to be pure hearted like Son Goku is.

            Doing what is right even when faced with insurmountable odds.

            Refusing to give into temptation like Trunks did when King Cold offered him the galaxy.

            Goku also taught children that power is nothing without love, mercy and courage.

            You see dbz is a way of life and the eternal characters shouldn’t be used just to fill the pockets of any elitist with the funds to buy up the copyright. In fact i don’t know why all the dragonball fans can’t get together, buy all the copyrights and turn dbz into a free public treasure that will instill good morals for generations to come?

  2. Marianne says:

    @Why Go Nine When You Can Goten

    Battle of Gods occurred five years after Chapter 518 of the original Dragon Ball Z comic book. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr. Akira Toriyama, a script writer of the movie, changes some of the characters’ personalities (e.g. drunk Gohan, Goku destroying a planet)

    The movie was even funded by the Japanese government’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI). http://www.kanzenshuu.com/movie/battle-of-gods/

    For every new saga, Toriyama-sensei’s villain are stronger and stingier (e.g. Bill>Buu>Cell>Frieza>Vegeta). Thus, for every saga, the Z fighters would need to upgrade their fighting skills (SSJ God>SSJ3>Mystic Gohan)

    I do agree when you mentioned how the East provides excellent morals to the West; that’s an excellent point.

    Despite the show being restricted to copyright and all, Dragonball is already instilling its “good morals” in this generation. Remember the comic book started way back in 1984. The anime continued its popularity worldwide during the 90s. Many current manga artists chose their career and cited Dragon Ball as their primary inspiration to writing shonen manga. Dragon Ball merchandise continued to evolve as we enter the 21st century (video games, DVDs, companion books, encyclopedias, soundtracks, Dragon Ball Evolution [2009]). During 2009 to 2011, Toei Animation broadcasted Dragon Ball Kai. Don’t forget the DBZ: Light of Hope adaptation by Robot Underdog.

    Though not declared as a “public treasure”, the show is very alive because of word-of-mouth, the promoters along with their promotional materials, merchandise, as well as a large fan base.

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