2012’s Dredd starred Star Trek: Beyond‘s Karl Urban as the merciless Judge Dredd, an attempt to reboot a dormant franchise which fizzled at the box office despite a decidedly positive response from fans and critics. In the years since, there have been rumblings that “conversations” for a sequel were happening, and while Urban and producer Adi Shankar want to see a Dredd 2 movie forward, Shankar stated as recently as this past June that a sequel is officially not in development.
Dredd‘s cult following has only grown since the movie became available on home video and via streaming outlets, with an enterprising fan even creating a video which imagined what the title credits could look like if the show surfaced on Netflix. This idea is in line with what Urban would like to see; and while it’s not impossible, diehard fans shouldn’t hold their breath.
In 2014, Shankar produced a six-part animated spinoff-ish series in which Dredd takes on the Dark Judges, led by the character’s traditional arch-nemesis Judge Death. According to Judge Dredd’s co-creator John Wagner, a Judge Death storyline was in Alex Garland’s original script. As Wagner told Screen Geek:
“That was actually the first script that Alex Garland did was a Judge Death script but Fox, who they were dealing with at the time, turned it down. They wanted more nuts and bolts before they went into the [metaphysical].”
In the original comic 2000 A.D., the Dark Judges were a parallel-dimension version of the ruthless dispensers of justice in Mega City One. Judge Death was a twisted, murderous psychopath who eventually invaded Dredd’s world and clashed with him repeatedly. Diving headlong into this aspect of the source material’s universe may have been too confusing for uninitiated audiences — they needed a grounded, faithful re-introduction to Dredd.
And they got it, according to most fans — even Wagner seems to think so, and he sounds optimistic about the chance for a Dredd 2, saying: “Well, there will be a sequel, I just don’t know when or who’ll do it but it’ll happen.” Wagner also stated that it could work as a television show, but seems to be holding out for a movie.
It might not be fair to re-ignite fan desire for a sequel, but if any reboot in the past few years deserves a second chance, it’s Dredd. Urban remains highly critical of the way the film’s marketing was handled, and it remains one of the best comic book adaptations which failed to find an audience. In the end, whether or not we see a Dredd 2 really might be up to the fans. If nothing else, Wagner’s comment gives them more ammunition to that effect.
Stay tuned for more updates on Dredd as they become available.