Dragon Ball, DB Z, DB GT/trunks/cell confusion
QUESTION: In dbz, the cell saga, cell told piccolo that trunks defeated the androids and was about to go back in time to tell the others. Cell went on to say how he killed trunks and all he had to do was press a button on the pre-set time machine to travel back to be able to absorb the androids. 1st question is which trunks did cell kill? (since the trunks that had warned this timeline was still alive and helping out). 2nd is why did the trunks that cell killed in the future have the time machine set for one year before friesa came to earth and just before trunks would even give his first warning? 3rd even if trunks went back to a year before he warned them of the androids coming, wouldn't that have only benefited that timeline's future?
ANSWER: 1. The Trunks that Cell killed and stole the time machine from was a future Trunks from a third known timeline. A timeline further in the future than the one our main future Trunks came from.
Up until that point, only the present and the world that the main future Trunks came from are known of. Cell came from the third. Which is why there ended up being 3 different Cell's. The one from the distant third timeline who is eventually killed by Gohan in the present, the one that future Trunks killed in his timeline in his Imperfect form after defeating the Androids due to strength gained in the Time Chamber in the present, and the one who was destroyed by Trunks and Krillin in the present while still in his larval form two decades before he would have hatched.
2. This question can unfortunately only be answered based on speculation because there are 2 concrete explanations. It just can't be proven which is correct.
Cell said to Piccolo that Trunks found a way to defeat the Androids which necessitated Cell to come to the past. It is extremely improbable that Trunks killed the Androids with his own strength, if he was beaten so easily by Imperfect Cell. So we know that it is highly likely that he used a remote to disable the Androids.
The first possibility, which I think is less likely, is that Bulma somehow found a way to disable the Androids on her own, and Trunks used it to defeat them. And then as he was going to go back in time to defeat the Androids in the present, Cell killed him and stole his time machine.
Second possibility, which I think is how it is, is that Trunks (from the third known timeline) had ALREADY traveled back in time to a potential fourth dimension in the past, and found the blueprints to the Androids in Gero's lab, and then proceeded to take those blueprints to Bulma, which led to the defeat of the Androids in that time with the disabling remote (note that Cell wouldn't have been in that timeline and it transpired exactly as the main story's present timeline would have without Cell ever appearing. The Androids would have simply been stopped by Bulma's remote). So after that, Trunks went back to his home timeline, disabled the Androids with the remote from the past, and then since he knew where Gero's lab was now, he was going to go back in time to a year before Frieza came, and then destroy the unfinished Androids in the main story's present time. That way he would have never made contact with the Z-Warriors and lessened the risk of ruining history by meeting them. If it were not for Cell killing him and stealing his time machine that is.
Furthermore, I believe that is the correct scenario because the other future Trunks even said to Goku that if he knew where Gero's lab was that he would be paying him a visit, and not Goku.
3. I would say the third question was more than answered with the last answer.
I hope this helps you. I understand that along with a few other strength comparisons between certain characters, this topic of timelines with Trunks and Cell is the most confusing and frequently asked question of mine. If ANYTHING seems unclear, feel free to ask a follow-up. It just so happens that Toriyama never gave any sort of answer to these questions in his manga, and of course the anime didn't either, so therefore it can only be assumptions.The discussion of this topic never continued any further after Cell simply told Piccolo that he stole Trunks' time machine. You can be confident however, that this is the very best answer you will find anywhere.
Anyway, thanks for the great question!
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QUESTION: That does make it pretty clear. The confusion about why the 3rd timeline trunks had the time machine set to a year before frieza came was only because piccolo was speculating in his mind that trunks was coming back to tell the z warriors how he had defeated the androids. But i think your assumption of trunks coming to destroy the defenseless androids before any warning is given is our best bet. The only thing left to ask i guess is would trunks from the 2nd timeline still come to give a meaningless warning (aside from goku's heart virus)? Lol, i know this is now asking a question based on your speculation, but just curious. Thank you for the help though so far! Im on "power unknown, android 16 breaks his silence" catchn up on nicktoons. I do know how it plays out via dbz budakai so dont worry about any spoilers.
Glad I was able to help you!
No, I do not think that Trunks would have given a warning solely about Goku's heart virus unless it was necessary to defeat the Androids.
The Trunks from the third timeline, (based on my assumption), opted not to, and instead was planning to destroy the Androids only, except Cell stole his Time Machine. The Trunks from the second timeline would have, as he said himself, done the same thing if he knew where Gero's lab was.
If this unofficial assumption is true, then the future Trunks from timeline 3 was trying to save multiple past timelines, so the Trunks from the second timeline, (the main future Trunks) may or may not have done the same after he killed Imperfect Cell.