IM Global and Rebellion recently announced that development has begun on Judge Dredd: Mega City One, a new television series based on the popular 2000 AD character.
This is the third time a live-action Judge Dredd has been attempted in about 20 years; Sylvester Stallone and Rob Schneider headlined Judge Dredd in 1995, followed by a 2012 attempt titled simply Dredd (or Dredd 3D during its theatrical run), which starred Karl Urban as the titular Judge.
With two remarkably different takes on the character and two beloved action stars having tackled the role before, we of course got to thinking: Who should play Judge Dredd in the forthcoming series?
Well, we have pretty strong opinions on this...!
Karl Urban, who has starred in films like Lord of the Rings and Star Trek, did a major motion picture where he was the lead character and never once took off a helmet that obscured most of his face.
That's...not normal behavior...in Hollywood (as anybody who's ever seen a Marvel superhero movie can tell you).
Urban, though, is a Dredd fan who understood the importance of keeping the helmet on (as opposed to, say, the Stallone version).
It wasn't just a token gesture, either; Urban brought that level of understanding and commitment to every aspect of the role, turning out a memorable performance that hardcore Dredd-heads could love, and bringing the elements of the character that are most appealing to 2000 AD's audience to the cinematic mainstream for the first time.
It's hard to imagine anybody else doing quite as well as he did, so what about...
Yeah -- that guy!
Urban has spent the better part of the last five years making it no secret that he wants to be in any sequel, spinoff, or TV adaptation that might come from Dredd. He has worked closely with 2000AD and become part of the publisher's identity in a lot of ways.
His commitment to this project, in other words, has been there since before there was any credible semblance of a project.
As recently as last year, Urban spoke with fans at conventions, saying that he wanted to reprise his role as Judge Dredd in a Netflix or Hulu-type series.
...Well, here's the chance.
Yeah, he's still at least tacitly involved.
As a longtime fan of Judge Dredd and the actor to most fully personify a comics role this side of Robert Downey, Jr., it would be weird to go forward with a spinoff and not bring Urban back if he was interested.
By "interested," we could mean a lot of things, but his vested interest in the character, the property and even the TV show itself was pretty much confirmed back in May when he was one of the first people to retweet EW's announcement that Judge Dredd: Mega-City One was going to exist at all.
As excited as fans would be to see Urban back in the role, Urban appears to be that Mega-City One exists at all...and that's a good sign that he might put his name on the dotted line.
Taking that Downey comparison a step further, he's also both a handful of years younger and Dredd is a character that likely requires less stunt and visual effects time than Iron Man. So...there's that.
Do we have any other ideas? Well...
Karl-Heinz Urban (born 7 June 1972) is a New Zealand actor. He is known for playing Julius Caesar and Cupid in Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Éomer in the second and third installments of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Vaako in second and third installments of the Riddick film series, Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy in Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness and Star Trek Beyond, and Judge Dreddin Dredd.
He won acclaim for his performances in New Zealand films The Price of Milk and Out of the Blue. He also played the main character John Kennex in the short-lived television series Almost Human. He will play Skurge in the Marvel Studios film Thor: Ragnarok set for a November 3, 2017 release.
...Sorry, we just wanted to have a little fun with you at this point.
Seriously, though, you know waht's worth mentioning in there that we haven't yet? Almost Human.
That show gave Urban an opportunity to explore some of the same territory that good Judge Dredd stories do, but in a wildly different setting, and it likely informed what he might bring back to Dredd if he were to take the gig again all these years later.
...Which, given how much we enjoyed Almost Human, seems like a generally good thing.
You might even say that Urban was so good in the role that he's the only guy who comes to mind when we sit down to cast the part.
...So, what are the odds that we'll actually get Urban back?
The actor hasn't said much. In the time since Dredd 3D, he has been prolific in his talking about the property and open about his desire to take the role.
In the time since Mega-City One was announced? Relative crickets...although it doesn't sound like that means he's out of the running.
"We have had many conversations prior to this, about all sorts of things," producer Brian Jenkins recently said of Urban. "He’s also very busy, a full-time professional actor. So we’re going to have some long and complicated conversations I would imagine, and we’ll see where we go. It’s too early to tell yet, but if we can use him and he’s available to us, then I think that would be absolutely brilliant. There’s always a possibility he will be busy, or that his schedule for other movies won’t allow- Basically, we don’t know at this stage."
The title character Judge Dredd was created by writer John Wagner and artist Carlos Ezquerra in 1977 and has remained a fixture of the weekly 2000 AD comic book anthology magazine for 40 years.
Dredd is known for being the most incorruptible and hardline of all the Judges.
IM Global Television president Mark Stern will serve as executive producer on Judge Dredd: Mega City One.
Stern developed Battlestar Galactica, Helix, and Defiance at Syfy. Stern will be joined as executive producer by IM Global Television CEO Stuart Ford Rebellion owners Jason and Chris Kingsley, who all executive produced 2012's Dredd.
“This is one of those seminal sci-fi properties that seems to only become and more relevant with age,” said Stern in a statement. “Not only is it a rich world with biting social commentary, but it’s also fun as hell! As a fan of the comics and both films, it’s a dream come true to be able to work with Jason and Chris in adapting this for television.”
“We’re very excited to be beginning the journey to get more of Judge Dredd’s Mega-City One on the television screen,” said Jason and Chris Kingsley said. “Thanks to the legions of fans who have kept up pressure on social media, and a lot of background work and enthusiasm, we aim to make a big budget production that will satisfy both our vast comics audience and the even greater general screen-watching public.”
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