Dredd 2, the hoped-for sequel to 2012's Dredd, won't be moving forward despite a prolonged development phase. But just because Dredd 2 isn't happening as a film, it doesn't mean fans won't get another opportunity to see Judge Dredd's story continue.
Dredd was adapted from the 2000 AD comic strip Judge Dredd by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra. Starring Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, and Lena Headey, the film followed Judge Dredd (Urban) and his new partner, Cassandra Anderson (Thirlby), as they took on drug cartel boss Ma-Ma (Headey) inside of a locked-down tower block after attempting to stop her from spreading the sale of a new, addictive drug calls Slo-Mo. The film stayed true to Judge Dredd's roots, the depiction of the futuristic judges, and made good use of technological advances to depict the effects of Slo-Mo and the overwhelming dystopian setting of Mega-City One.
At first glance, Dredd has the right stuff for a sequel: a solid cast, a great screenwriter in Alex Garland, a rich story and fictional setting, and a fanbase that would support it. Let's break down why Dredd 2 didn't happen in spite of having all the right stuff.
Dredd Bombed At The Box Office
Perhaps the most obvious reason Dredd 2 never happened is that it bombed at the box office. Dredd had an estimated $35 million budget, a pretty tight budget considering the scale of the movie all told. Per Box Office Mojo, Dredd's opening weekend was grim, barely making $6 million at the theater. Dredd ended its theatrical run with a domestic gross of around $13 million and a worldwide total of $35.6 million. Conventional Hollywood accounting suggests a movie must double its budget to account for marketing and become profitable, and Dredd fell short.
Dredd 2 Was In Development For A Time
Despite the poor performance in theaters, it looked like Dredd 2 could happen at some point. Urban said Dredd 2 "conversations" were happening back in February 2014, with Dredd producer Adi Shankar following up in May 2014 with confirmation but that there was no sequel script. Shankar was able to talk a good game about how straightforward a process it would be to get Dredd 2 made but securing the basics - a director, a screenwriter, scouting locations, scheduling time to film - never seemed to be a priority for those involved. By June 2016, Dredd 2 was officially "not in development", according to Shankar.
A Judge Dredd TV Series Could Revive The Franchise
Dredd 2 may not be happening but it looks like Urban's wish for Dredd to become a TV series will, in fact, be happening. In May 2017, it was announced a Judge Dredd live-action TV series was in the works. Titled Judge Dredd: Mega-City One, the series will make the dystopian, post-apocalyptic Mega-City One the backdrop for its story. It will follow a group of judges as they go about their duties, rather than focus on one specific judge as the films have done. Urban was in talks to return for the series in 2017 and was still voicing enthusiasm for joining the live-action series in 2018. In July of that year, it was confirmed a Mega-City One pilot script had been written. Despite Mega-City One securing a 2019 premiere date, it's unclear what stage of development the series is at as of July 2019. It also doesn't look like Urban has been secured to reprise his role as Dredd.