Could we be getting a DREDD prequel?

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We all know the sad story: In 2012 Karl Urban, screenwriter Alex Garland and director Peter Travis finally brought us the Judge Dredd movie fans had been asking for for years, one that washed the taste of Sylvester Stallone and Rob Schneider’s cheesy flatulence out of our mouths… and then, like, 20 of us went to see it.

Yes, Dredd 3D had some legs on DVD/Blu Ray, and scored mostly great reviews, but studios only seemed to care about those box office dollars. And so it was that the chances of a Dredd sequel looked slimmer than an Olsen twin on a detox. But nobody said anything about a prequel.

Backed by countless message board rants, online petitions, fan rallies at conventions and more, Urban has been championing the effort to get another movie greenlit. He’s previously mentioned that there has been some talks with Lionsgate, but just what those talks were about and how serious they were, was not clear. While we still can’t answer the how part of that mystery, we may know what direction the conversations were headed in: Backwards into the past.

Speaking at the Chicago Comic-Con (via Movieweb), Urban revealed that if another movie does get made, it will probably be a prequel:

“Why yes, there is a definite possibility. But, it is more likely that we will do the Origins story with Dredd trekking through the cursed earth to find the first Chief Judge Fargo.”

“Origins” refers to a 23-part story arc – the longest of any Judge Dredd storyline – that ran in the 2000AD comic, and which features lots of flashbacks set 70 years before the Dredd’s first adventure that fill in all the backstory of how the Judges rose to power.

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In those comics, Fargo was the very first Judge, and from whom Dredd and his brother Rico were cloned. Like Urban says, this story sees Dredd leaving the confines of Mega-City One and going out into the wastelands to track down the stasis pod holding Fargo’s body, which is in the possession of the New Mutant Army.

You may remember the cloning plot point from the 1995 Stallone movie where Max Von Sydow played Fargo and Armand Assante played Rico. That is if you didn’t blank out the entire memory of the movie, which is a perfectly valid response.

Back when Dredd 3D first released, screenwriter Garland actually spoke to Empire about possible future plans which gel quite well with this latest sentiment:

“I think you could do a second film which is all about the city and the law and where it comes from, and Judge Fargo and the pro-democracy terrorists, and Dredd’s struggle with the state that he’s part of. And then in a third story you could bring in this crazy existential force that attacks the city in the form of the Dark Judges. They weren’t right for the first film, but they might be right for the third, and it all depends on the journey you take in the second narrative.”

In reporting this latest development, Empire also speculates that one of the reasons for the prequel push could be that Lionsgate felt that the first movie didn’t pull a big enough audience, because people were unfamiliar with who/what Judge Dredd is. An origin story based on one of the characters most prized storylines could help draw in the newcomers as well as get the fanboys pumped, and so set the franchise up for something really big down the line.

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That certainly makes a lot of sense, and studios like Lionsgate are definitely not in the habit of turning their noses up at the chance to make more money. The question now is just whether or not they think they it’s worth the risk.

Last Updated: September 9, 2014

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions – but very little sleep – I’ve been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

  • Origins would be great for a movie, though I’d prefer they stayed in MegaCity One. Still, the Wasteland is not a bad idea and maybe we can expect cameos from Missionary Man and Mean Machine?

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