‘Dredd’ Writer Says the Sequel Would Explore the Fascist Side of Judging

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Judge Dredd Sequels Darker Politics Dredd Writer Says the Sequel Would Explore the Fascist Side of Judging

The wait is nearly over for the arrival of Dredd, and audiences overseas are already singing the film’s praises. While this reboot of IPC Media’s embodiment of law and order (not to mention capital punishment) is pitting Joseph Dredd against an apartment block full of deviants, the difference between good and evil in the source material isn’t always so clear-cut.

The film’s writer, Alex Garland (28 Days LaterSunshine), recently talked about the direction he’d like to see Dredd 2 (and subsequent sequels) go in the event that Dredd performs well in theaters. Apparently, a much closer look at Judge Dredd’s fascist side might be in store.

So far, the main selling points for Dredd have revolved around its action, violence, and the stunning high-speed visual effects used to…depict that violence. Even the plot of the film seems designed specifically to bring Judge Dredd into a situation where taking out hundreds upon hundreds of criminals is the only course of action. Given that body count, it’s no surprise Garland has shown interest in taking things even more over the top with potential sequels. How a bloodthirsty dinosaur and undead Judges would make sense in the far more grounded world being established in the reboot is anyone’s guess, but it seems that Garland’s plans may not rest solely in spectacle.

In an interview with io9, Garland explained that Dredd touches upon several themes from the comic book relating to the dystopian government the Judges represent. It’s these themes (possibly in addition to zombie Judges) that he hopes to explore further if given the chance:

“If I got a chance to work on the sequel, and if there was a sequel (and there are a lot of variables in that). But, from my point of view, the politics is a lot of what I want to get into. There’s a lot of stuff that’s implied in the first film that you could really explore a lot more of in the second. Dredd is part of a police state, he’s a fascist. The subversives are sometimes the enemy in the comic books – there’s something really interesting about pro-democracy terrorists. Where the bad guys are the people fighting for democracy. Of course they’re not the bad guys, because you should be fighting for democracy. I would like to explore that.”

It’s unlikely that this depth of philosophy will appear in the film, with so much emphasis being placed on entertainment and attitude. But what Garland refers to is the basic fact that can become somewhat lost in all the badass guns and leather – that Judge Dredd is the future equivalent of a police officer, lawyer, and judge. And he is killing people en masse.

Judge Dredd Anderson Trailer Dredd Writer Says the Sequel Would Explore the Fascist Side of Judging

That’s all fine and dandy if the people he’s facing are drug dealers and killers out for his head, but not every situation is that black and white. The assumption that Judges actually know better who deserves to live or die has been a serious question in the comic book over the years, and it’s that “big lie” that star Karl Urban hopes to see explored if the film earns a sequel. Garland seems intent on doing the same, and despite the story taking place in a future of nuclear fallout, he believes it is more than just fiction:

“Because at the heart, what you have [in this] story is a very, very ****ed up urban environment. In which the law and order is struggling to keep a cap on it. It’s over-stretching itself and over reaching it’s own boundaries in order to try and stay ahead of things. And that, to me, doesn’t seem to be very different to a lot of what’s happening in the here and now. I felt that it was perfectly current and the irradiated wasteland beyond the city becomes sci-fi texture rather than the heart of it.”

All these high hopes of following a ‘hero’ who believes that due process isn’t worth the time, and suspicion alone might constitute a crime (if the Judge is having a bad day) depends on Dredd being a success. So those looking forward to a darker, more contemplative treatment will have to wait for the box office reports.

What direction would you like to see the films take, provided they get a green light? Should Garland and Urban continue their deep dive into Dredd’s psyche or stick with mostly action? Sound off in the comments.

Dredd releases in theaters on September 21, 2012.


Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: io9

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  1. Sounds good to me,going more sci-fi and deeper into Dredd’s psyche. Looking forward to Dredd!

    • What about Marlon Shakespeare? For all the non-fanboys Marlon was a Graffiti artist. Dealing with non-violent anti-establishment crime in a culture of unemployment. Protest and Facism how does that work.
      No easy answers.

  2. anything is better then that weird piece of something we got in the 90′s (i thin it was 90′s, trying to forget it as best i can). from what i hear, this is a crowd pleaser, and not just amongst action fans, but dredd fans to. really looking forward to seeing this :D

    • What the hell are you talking about?

      The ’95 Dredd is great. Right up there with Batman and Robin as quilty pleasure.

      It is just so damn cheesily funny.

      • Speak for yourself, lol.

  3. Haha…so funny “an Urban Enviroment “…yes it truly is now !

  4. I saw Stallone’s Dredd as more of an attempt at satirizing the property, give it a comic tone rather than take it seriously, as this is doing. That attempt failed to gel though I could see it had potential to succeed, perhaps it just didn’t go far enough. With that failed attempt we now get a serious effort to play it straight. My suspicions are that Carl Urban will be what makes this work despite a weak story premise. It certainly doesn’t help that the script was on-line a year ago or that an earlier movie this year kind of took the same premise and delivered a good actioner to compare it to…

    • I guess I should clarify, although ‘Raid: Redemption’ came out last year it didn’t show up on DVD here until just recently.

    • both fall under 2 different sub categories of action (one being martial arts action the other being sci-fi). this remake is one of few that looks to stray away from the original and be something that is more true to the source, i recently read some of the dredd comics and it is a pretty violent series with dredd being the ruthless ‘law man’ he looks to be in the movie.

      you also have to consider that they have to appeal to everyone in order to make as much money possible and that a deep story that throws people in with only the fans understanding it will receive bad feedback from viewers thus costing them. imo the simple approach to the story lets us get a taste of what the character is like (for those that dont know) and what to expect from a sequel (if one is to happen).

      • I have a tendency to feel the same way jwalka but it will draw comparisons much like ‘The Hunger Games’ did to ‘Battle Royal’. Unlike some though I understand Maslow’s archetypes of the unconscious and see how stories can have more than one origin…

  5. Already better than TDKR.

    • That just sounds dumb…Have you seen it yet?

      Common sense is a wonderful gift.

      • Well I’m a Batman fan and a Dredd fan and I preferred “DREDD”. But that’s just my opinion. Many will not like it as much as TDKR. In fact, probably most. But if you did find TDKR underwhelming, then maybe “DREDD” will fill that gap (even with it’s shorter run time and simple plot.)

        • Oops. That was to trilladude.

          • I’ll see it next week for sure. Got busy today and have to spend the weekend catching up. I’m staying away from spoilers till then…

  6. In terms of whether ‘Dredd’ will even get a sequel or not, I would think we won’t actually know until well into next year, it’s likely that short of an absolute gangbusters take at the box-office, which I don’t think will happen (I predict about $90m worldwide total over it’s theatrical run), I personally believe that Reliance, the financiers behind ‘Dredd’, will wait to see how strong it sells on home release next year before committing to any potential sequel.

    If they do indeed decide that a ‘Dredd’ sequel still has real potential as a profitable venture, then I think they’ll greenlight it next summer if DVD and Blu-Ray sales remain strong, with a tight-but-solid budget of about $55m (3-D included), and would hopefully insist on Alex Garland using the Dark Judges storyline for the movie, I personally do not want some film where Dredd questions the system he upholds, but rather is defending both that system and Mega-City One itself from an onslaught by Judge Death and his grisly pals, if you’re going to do another ‘Dredd’ movie, then might as well make the ‘Dredd’ movie everyone wants to see… namely, JUDGE DREDD VS. THE DARK JUDGES, in gloriously gory 3-D, with an R-rating so hard it will crack armor!!!

    Don’t get me wrong, I would love nothing more than for ‘Dredd’ to become a trilogy, but I just don’t think it’s going to do well enough to justify three films (for various reasons), but I think both a decent box-office take and strong home release format sales will get at least ONE sequel made, and as interesting as the Origins/Cursed Earth storyline that Alex Garland would like to do would undoubtedly be, I never found the Cursed Earth stories in the comic to be that interesting, to be honest, and I would much prefer they stick to Mega-City One, keep it as lean and tight as the current film (most of the film being in a localized setting), and have the Dark Judges as utterly malevolent and totally lethal creatures of pure horrifying evil intent on wiping out every trace of life in the Big Meg, hopefully with Dredd becoming the hero of the people and Anderson making the ultimate sacrifice, now THAT would be a sequel to line up for, and no mistake…

    • … actually, I’d change one thing there (upon further reflection), Dredd should NOT become a hero of the people, he’s a fascist and an authoritarian, enforcing a draconian judicial system in a totalitarian police state, and that’s what he should remain at the film’s end, with his utter belief and conviction in the system he upholds unshaken and unwavering, and despite helping to save Mega-City One and it’s citizens from annihilation by the Dark Judges, the people still boo him as he arrests them for celebrating too loudly or for littering the street with confetti… now THAT’S the old Dreddy we know and love, and he shouldn’t change, not one bit!

    • I’m not sure “DREDD” will get a sequel either. To tell a more interesting story with more of MC1 they are gonna need a much bigger budget. (at least to realize things like Zombies, the wealthy side of MC1, Dark judges, big set pieces etc…). I think this mainly relies on the USA market, and to be honest, after 35 years the US just doesn’t seem to get Judge Dredd.

      And I don’t mean the US don’t understand it. They just haven’t warmed to it.

      • They could do a sequel based almost entirely in M.C.-1 on a relatively modest budget, mainly because the city in the new film is not the same city as seen in the comics; the latter is much more stylized,
        fantastical, and downright bizarre, whereas the former is a gritty, grotty hole that looks more like one of our own modern inner cities a couple of decades down the line.

        And Alex Garland has said that were they to make the Dark Judges movie, the creatures themselves would be practical and prosthetic effects not CGI, also, it depends what you mean by “big set pieces”, that’s a highly relative term, and with a budget of $55m (as mentioned above), production once again taking place in South Africa (which is one of the cheapest places to shoot in, thereby making the budget go a lot further), and keeping the film a tight and focused affair (maybe confining most of the film to a single city sector), I think you could pull off a truly fantastic ‘Dredd’ sequel that featured his nemesis in all his/their hideous glory…

        • Yeah, I’m with keeping the potential Dark Judges-featuring ‘Dredd’ sequel to a single city sector of Mega City One; imagine ‘The Mist’ meets ‘RoboCop’… scary creatures in a futuristic environment with a hard-as-nails cop taking them on in an R-rated bloodbath of a movie, in 3-D, just name the time and place, I’m there already!

  7. Dredd 3d was awesome!! Would love to see a sequel of its caliber again anyday! Plus the 2000AD Stories are aplenty.. Cant wait. :)

  8. Also.. The 3D effects were the best i have ever seen! If ever there was a movie to catch in 3D, this is it!

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    • I really hate it when these ads make it to comment boards…..

      • I quit working and now make £0.00 – £0.01…..how? Go to lifedownthepanbecauseiworkonlineandmakenomoneysotheycutoffmyelectricityandinternet.com

  10. Dredd WAS awesome.

    Hope there’s Lenny Zero film on the horizon…

  11. I really enjoyed Dredd. It was a raw, violent, action fest. Hopefully the film will make enough to warrant a sequel. They definatly captured the comic better than the 95 film with Sly. Hollyweird finally got one right!

  12. I think everybody gets what Dredd is, and they enjoy it knowing it’s wrong in the back of their minds. Maybe two or three guys in the theater think it’s a good approach that the cops should adopt, but I don’t want to know about them.
    If I were concerned with making a sequel, I’d have to face that the type of State Dredd represents is much more concerned with looking and sounding correct via buzz words and sophistry than through the overwhelming power of truth. It’s lost all regard for its duty to the good of the citizens, and must strive to conceal that, however cartoonishly, through the exercise of power and terror tactics. There really isn’t a lot of depth there.
    To me the city is the actual star of the comics. It exists because of the above neglect and Dredd is merely a symptom of it, or a personification. One serious virus in such an oasis of radioactive waste, and that would be all. Maintaing order, such as it is, in that kind of situation with a “how did we get here” theme would make a much better story than some supposed inner conflict of a Judge.

  13. I’m for one of 2 directions with a sequel, with the first being the most logical:

    1. Judge Death, with or without the rest of the Dark Judges. Plenty of action for both Dredd AND Anderson in that kind of storyline, with no punches pulled, and of course, it could end in a similar fashion to the original Judge Death story. And who’s to say that Death doesn’t come to MC1 of his own volition, but gets sucked through via some sort of experiment gone wrong by some perp?

    2. Angel gang. Especially Mean Machine. While they’d inject a note of humor, there are tons of dark ways writers can go with this classic group of miscreants.

  14. I’m watching the 95 “Judge Dredd” on channel five right now. Obviously they’re playing it because “DREDD” is in the cinemas at the mo.

  15. Action is going to be a by product no matter what route is chosen. I would to see what makes dredd tick on film. I loved the movie but I felt like I didn’t know anything about dredd. I say take the plunge into the characters psyche .

  16. I would like to Dredd back in an off-world story or an Apocalpse War-like story though the 4 Dark Judges could; given the necessary, carefully written story could be a smash with ordiences and even bring a Anderson back to the screen for a second time.

    • I’d love to see the Dark Judges. Make it a real horror to pull in the slasher crowd on date night.

  17. I could potentially see Judge Death in the setting that this film created, but I think he would have to be re-imagined a bit. Instead of a supernatural being from another dimension he could be a mutant who has is tormented by his own existence and the fact that he is ostracized for being the way he was born, hence his mindset that “the crime is life, the punishment is death!” He could perhaps be the leader of an underground movement of mutants rebelling against the police-state of Mega City One, making them a sort of pro-democracy movement. And I could see him wearing a bloodied uniform he takes from a judge he kills, with the name of that judge scratched out and the word DEATH written on the badge in its place.

  18. You know I’m actually looking forward to the next 2 sequels. The 2nd one might have robots and a human villain judge as antagonists. The 3rd one will be interesting about Anderson in the coma and if she woke up, the whole world would be infected with this virus created by Judge Death. Dredd may not be a match for Death, but we will see what happens. Mutants will most likely be in the 3rd movie as Death is some sort of mutant alien.

  19. I will hope to see the sequel of Dredd more like District 9, which has both very cool visual effects and very thoughtful plots.

  20. dredd more than a helmet needs a Hitler’s mouse-stash ..fascist in any aspect

  21. Watched the new Dredd film last night and really enjoyed it, I hope they make more. I thought they really captured the feel of Mega City one from the comics, and this Dredd worked for me. I guess the purist in me expected perhaps just a smidgeon more ‘Dreddness’, for example in the car chase at the start when a citizen gets knocked down by the fleeing perps, I was just waiting for Dredd to book him into an isocube for jwalking (rather calling for a medic), but that aside I would happily watch a sequel – and they have so many stories to choose from.

  22. I think they should really explore the Judge Dredd: America story arc. It’s very conflicted and I think it could resonate with the audience – an audience, whom are fairly younger or die hard fans who are pondering questions about democracy with the worlds current events. I don’t think they should try to sway the crowd too much, in that in some films I notice they are taking nods at current events too much, but it should be tried to a certain extent. Instead of making a comment of contemporary culture, they should try to condense it down to the bare timeless philosophical question and have Dredd in his context battle with that. In the old film, they did touch on cultural aspects of the Mega Cities, like the Long Walk through the desert. Also, in the Stallone version, I really did respect the Postmodern William Gibson-like world they constructed. These are more personal questions and nerdy ones at that, but what about “class struggle” or “how does an economy in a post nuclear world work”? (trade, bartering, or is the whole system regressive and borderline Soviet but with the perception of mobility and materialism to invoke a sense of hope and order?) Yet, I’m not buggin.

  23. This article just said it is fine and dandy to kill drug dealers. Fascist article. Note that judges are criminals in our real world as well. It is not a crime to use self defense against a judge.