Here’s how Cell got Frieza’s DNA:
Dr. Gero collected Frieza’s DNA when Frieza came to Earth after his defeat on Namek.
This is never clearly shown, but Dr. Gero’s mosquito bots are able to take DNA from many characters without being noticed, and it’s safe to assume that this happened with Frieza too.
Still, it might be a bit of a plot hole.
So if you want to learn all about how Cell ended up getting Frieza’s DNA, then this article is for you.
Let’s dig into it!
What Is Cell Getting Frieza’s DNA All About?
If you’re a fan of the series and just can’t quite remember this one plot point, then skip down to the section where I clearly explain how Cell ended up with Frieza’s DNA.
If you’re not a big fan and you’re hearing some things you don’t know a lot about, then let me give you some background information.
We’re talking about Dragonball Z, one of the most popular anime of all time.
There’s a manga too, but I’m focusing on the anime version of events.
Cell and Frieza are two of the main antagonists throughout the series.
They torment and terrorize the heroes, and they present seemingly unconquerable obstacles at different points.
But, the two don’t meet (at least not until the afterlife).
They are ultimate villains at very different points in the story, and it turns out that Cell actually contains some of Frieza’s DNA.
It’s part of what makes him so powerful.
Before I take you through that, let me clarify for the uninitiated.
Goku is the main protagonist of the story.
It’s probably also worth noting that Dragonball Z has a pretty convoluted storyline, even though the gist of the show is about super-powered beings fighting each other in epic battles.
That’s probably enough background to move forward, but before I explain the DNA process, let’s learn a little more about Cell and Frieza.
Who Is Cell?
Let’s talk about Cell.
Cell is a creature that was more or less built in a lab by the infamous Dr. Gero.
Dr. Gero is a long-time antagonist who hates Goku, and he designed Cell to be the ultimate fighter.
Cell is an android/concoction/creature thing.
It’s hard to pin it down exactly, but Cell was made using DNA from the most powerful fighters in the universe, including Goku and Frieza.
Cell is able to absorb living creatures to grow stronger, and early in his life, he absorbs thousands of humans to get a little stronger at a time.
He’s actually designed with the ability to absorb Androids 17 and 18 to achieve his ultimate form.
He eventually succeeds in this and becomes far and away the most dangerous opponent in the series up to that point.
So, when we talk about Cell obtaining Frieza’s DNA, it’s important to understand something.
It was actually Dr. Gero who achieved this feat, and I’ll explain those details in full in a bit.
Who Is Frieza?
The other half of this equation involves Frieza.
Who is he, and why is his DNA important?
Frieza is an early antagonist in Dragonball Z.
After the Z fighters are introduced to the truth of aliens and alien fighters, they realize that they must expand their horizons.
Goku and his son, along with Piccolo, end up traveling to a distant planet known as Namek.
While there, they fight a bunch of different enemies, but the leader of the bad guys in this saga is Frieza.
At the time, Frieza is heralded as the strongest fighter in the universe.
He single-handedly destroyed the planet, Vegeta, which is actually where Goku was born.
Frieza is an absolute nightmare, and it’s believed that he is unbeatable in a fight.
During the saga, Goku eventually turns into a Super Saiyan, and with that power, he defeats Frieza.
So, if Dr. Gero wants to make Cell the ultimate warrior, then some Frieza DNA seems like a good thing to have.
How Did Cell Get Freiza’s DNA? (2 Timelines)
That should be enough background information.
Let’s get into the actual sequence of events that culminates in a Frieza-infused Cell.
Fair warning, this involved time travel, so there’s a lot to go through.
The first thing to know is that Frieza ultimately survives the fight with Goku on Namek.
Frieza sustains substantial injuries, but with the help of advanced technology and some cybernetic enhancements, he is back in fighting shape.
If we take Frieza’s word for it, he’s stronger than ever.
Frieza is restored, and he wants revenge.
So, he goes crying to his daddy (King Cold), and they get on a ship and head to Earth.
Their plan is to fight together and kill Goku.
After that, they’ll be the strongest in the universe again, and they can do whatever they want.
This is where things get convoluted.
#1 The Original Timeline
As the story goes, Freiza and King Cold arrive on Earth.
They fight with Goku, and they lose.
It turns out that even together, and with Frieza’s enhancements, they can’t handle a Super Saiyan.
Everything seems great, but then mysterious androids appear.
They’re incredibly strong, but Goku is still there to save the day.
He gets ready to fight the androids, and then he dies of a heart condition.
With Goku gone, no one is strong enough to defeat the androids, and they take over the world.
Goku’s son, Gohan, is still pretty strong, and he tries to resist the androids.
They fight several times, but Gohan is never able to defeat them.
Along the way, Vegeta and Bulma have a kid named Trunks.
Vegeta dies fighting the androids when Trunks is a baby, but Trunks is able to grow up.
Gohan trains Trunks to fight, and together, they take on the androids.
They end up losing, and Gohan dies.
Desperate to save the world, Trunks turns to his mother’s genius.
She builds a time machine, and Trunks goes back in time to try to save Goku from his heart condition.
#2 The Altered Timeline
We just went through a lot, but we’re not done yet.
Trunks goes back in time, and he arrives around the same time as Frieza and King Cold.
Goku is still perfectly healthy, but since Trunks has knowledge from the future, he meets with Frieza and Cold and promptly kills them both.
He then has a quick match with Goku to test his strength, and it’s pretty clear that Goku is a better fighter than Trunks.
Trunks explains that he is from the future and gives medication to Goku that will save him from the heart condition.
He then makes a plan to go back to his own time and then return to the past at the moment that the Androids first arrive.
So, we skip ahead a bit, and the Z fighters are gathering to take on the androids.
Trunks shows up, and they meet an android Dr. Gero.
A battle takes place, and Trunks explains that things are already different.
Originally, there was no Gero. There were only two androids, 17 and 18.
After the fight with Gero, it’s revealed that he had secretly collected DNA from all of the most powerful fighters he could find.
He built little mosquito robots to carry out the task, and he had DNA from Goku, Gohan, Vegeta, Frieza, Piccolo, and a number of other fighters.
It turns out that he got the DNA from most of them when Frieza showed up on Earth.
No one noticed the bots, but they were there, and they got the required DNA.
That DNA was then used to construct Cell, and that concludes our little journey through the Dragonball Z universe.
Is Cell Getting Frieza’s DNA a Plot Hole?
Arguably, yes. This is a plot whole.
It’s an inevitable problem that tends to show up with any time travel story.
Since time travel isn’t a real thing that works in a logical universe, you get logical breakdowns whenever time travel is used as a plot point.
Basically, causality falters.
Let’s go through the points.
In the original timeline, Goku kills Frieza.
Then he has a heart attack.
The androids take over the world.
Gohan trains Trunks.
Together they fight the androids.
Trunks goes back in time.
While the world is distracted, Cell secretly finds and absorbs a ton of humans.
Eventually, he grows stronger, and he is able to go back in time himself.
That same Cell is the one that eventually fights the Z fighters in the past, and he is said to have Frieza’s DNA.
Here’s the problem.
Frieza’s DNA was captured by the bots when Trunks went back in time.
There’s a disconnect.
The Cell we see throughout the story is from Trunks’s timeline, yet he has DNA from the altered timeline.
It doesn’t really work.
Arguably, you could say that the bots could have grabbed Freiza’s DNA when he came to Earth in the original timeline.
That can hold up to scrutiny, but it’s never clarified.
More importantly, in the altered timeline, it’s clear that Dr. Gero got DNA from a lot of the main fighters during the event when Trunks first showed up in the past.
Needless to say, it’s complicated at best and arguably a major plot hole.
Then again, it’s Dragonball Z.
We’re not here for the meticulously crafted plot lines.
We’re here for awesome anime fights, and Cell delivers on that front in spades.
Plot hole or not, it’s canon that Cell has Frieza’s DNA (it’s why he can breathe in space), and supposedly that DNA was collected from Frieza on Earth.