We almost got a Judge Dredd vs. Judge Death movie

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Is there any comic book movie more authentic to its source material than 2012’s Dredd? Maybe yes, but they probably don’t boast a bodycount in the double digits that featured Karl Urban’s lawman of the future working his way up a skyscraper filled with all manner of degenerate scum. It may have under-performed at the box office, but Dredd has gone on to become an absolute cult classic over the years thanks to its tight action and even tighter pacing that trimmed the fat from its story.

Even with diminishing box office returns, there’s still some hope out there that Dredd could get another chance at big screen immortality. With a rogues gallery that includes such threats as the Sov-City Judges, Mean Machine Angel and PJ Maybe, it’d be a damn shame not to have the Mega-City One law enforcer back.

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But maybe next time, a future Dredd sequel needs to go big. It needs to go even darker. It needs to make use of a villain who believes that all people are guilty of one crime. Life. And the ssssentence is death! I am of course talking about Judge Death, one of the oldest foes in the Dredd Iso-cubes. A judge from a parallel universe, Judge Death is an undead enforcer of a twisted law and responsible for one of the biggest death-counts of all time, as the Necropolis storyline saw over 60 million Mega City One citizens wiped out by Death and his fellow dark judges.

And that makes for one hell of an adversary. In fact, that’s the villain that Judge Dredd almost faced when FOX were looking to adapt Dredd for the big screen. That’s the word according to Judge Dredd co-creater John Wagner, as ScreenGeek’s James Hadden quizzed the fella about the future of Dredd on the big or small screen during the celebrations for the 2000th issue of 2000AD.

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ScreenGeek: What do you think of the possibility of a sequel film?

Wagner: Well, there will be a sequel, I just don’t know when or who’ll do it but it’ll happen.

SG: Do you maybe think it’d work better as a television show?

Wagner: It would work very well as a television show – it just depends on how it’s done. It could work very as a film. I mean – everyone wants to see Judge Death, don’t they?

SG: Yeah, they definitely do.

Wagner: I wouldn’t mind seeing that. 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].

That’s a bit of a bummer. Anyway, there’s a current drive right now to have Judge Dredd survive on the small screen. Specifically, the small screen of Netflix which happens to be home to shows which conventional TV networks don’t want to take a gamble on these days. Wondering what the intro to that series could look like? YouTuber Oliver Hollingdale (via ScreenGeek again) whipped up this experimental and funky idea for a Netflix Dredd series intro:

If you’re as genuinely emotionally invested as I am to seeing Judge Dredd back on any screen, don’t forget to check out the Bring Back Dredd campaign. Over the last couple of years, it has managed to get some serious steam behind it. And a few more signatures wouldn’t hurt. Also, failure to sign carries a minimum stretch of ten years in the Iso-cubes. Creep.

Last Updated: October 4, 2016

Darryn Bonthuys

Word-slinger at Critical Hit. Inventor of the macho Swiss gym chocolate known as Testoblerone. That's...that's about it really.

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