John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra’s Judge Dredd comic (which began back in 1977) is a serious neo-noir series that revolves around a futuristic cop with the demeanor of Dirty Harry. The 1995 film adaptation definitely went the more hammy route, casting Sylvester Stallone in the lead role and partnering him up with Rob Schneider.

Lionsgate is rebooting the Judge Dredd franchise with the intention of delivering a now standard, but still fitting, darker and grittier take on the character – Dredd, a 3D feature that Wagner is serving as creative consultant on.

The studio has finally settled on a September 21, 2012 U.S. theatrical release date for the film, which stars Karl Urban as the highly-efficient Judge Dredd (whose face will never be fully revealed, like in the original comic), Olivia Thirlby as psychic rookie judge Cassandra Anderson, and Lena Headey as the vicious gang leader Madeline “Ma-Ma” Madrigal.

Here is the official synopsis for Lionsgate’s Dredd:

DREDD takes us to the wild streets of Mega City One, the lone oasis of quasi-civilization on Cursed Earth. Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) is the most feared of elite Street Judges, with the power to enforce the law, sentence offenders and execute them on the spot – if necessary. The endlessly inventive mind of writer Alex Garland and the frenetic vision of director Peter Travis bring DREDD to life as a futuristic neo-noir action film that returns the celebrated character to the dark, visceral incarnation from John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra’s revered comic strip.

Urban as Judge Dredd.

Urban certainly has solid action movie credentials (Lord of the RingsStar Trek) and is poised to deliver a convincing turn as the show-no-mercy Judge Dredd in this new comic book flick. Likewise, Headey is a fan-favorite for her previous role on The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which should help attract the interest of sci-fi fans who would be down with a grim futuristic action flick, but are only really familiar with the title character (for better or for worse) because of the 1995 Stallone vehicle.

Dredd screenwriter Alex Garland boasts a pretty strong resume (see: 28 Days Later, Sunshine, Never Let Me Go) and reads as being an excellent candidate to bring the Mega City One anti-hero back to life in appropriately serious and non-campy form. Director Pete Travis was previously responsible for helming competent, if unremarkable, action-thrillers like Vantage Point and Endgame, but his involvement with this project seems like a good thing.

To reiterate: Dredd is scheduled to arrive in 2D and 3D theaters in the U.S. on September 21st, 2012.

Source: Lionsgate (via Variety)