If Mute director Duncan Jones was going to tackle a comic book movie, he’d love it to based on a character from cult British comic 2000 AD. The comic began in the late 1970s, with a focus on science-fiction and action stories. 2000 AD quickly became known for its lurid artwork and dark sense of humor, and over the years it built up an array of great characters, including Rogue Trooper, Strontium Dog, Halo Jones and, of course, Judge Dredd.
2000 AD also served as a breeding ground for talented writers, with Garth Ennis, Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman and many others passing through its halls. While the comic is beloved in Britain, it remains relatively obscure overseas, which may explain why there have been relatively few live-action adaptations of its characters.
In a new interview with JoBlo to promote his Netflix thriller Mute, Jones stated if he were to adapt any comic, he’d love to take on a character from 2000 AD. He also talked about not seeking out comic book movies, though he briefly considered Guardians of the Galaxy:
But I talked to Marvel about that a little bit and I was like. "Mm. This is kind of interesting." I knew nothing about GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY and ... "This is kind of interesting. Maybe I could do something with this?" But I didn't engage, I think, passionately enough or immediately enough at the time, and I kind of had other things that I was looking at. So I didn't go ahead with it, but I think if there was something like that, maybe.
The dark world of 2000 AD is something he’d love a chance to adapt, however:
But I kinda feel like where my heart lies, if I were gonna go in the comic book direction, it would be in the British stuff just because I am British. So 2000 AD where Judge Dredd came from, has an amazing cast of characters. And I think if I were ever gonna do a comic book character, it would probably be one of those.
DREDD was great, but there are like Slaine, and Rogue Trooper, and all of these amazing British characters that are over here, people don't know about. So if I can find a way to get the budget to do one of those, which is difficult because they're not known about… Those would be amazing movies, it's just because they're not known about. How do we make that work? But we'll see. I would rather focus on trying to do a 2000 AD character.
With Moon, Source Code and now Mute, Jones has shown he has a talent for dark, character-based science-fiction movies, so it’s hard to imagine a filmmaker better suited to 2000 AD. Jones does make a point about the obscurity of some of the comics' characters, which would be a barrier to a studio taking on chance on someone like Slaine. Judge Dredd is easily the most well-known 2000 AD creation, yet both movies based on his character - from 1995 and 2012 respectively - failed at the box office.
In the meantime, a television series called Judge Dredd: Mega-City One is currently in development. Plot details are scarce, but the show will apparently explore the sprawling, overcrowded city of the post-apocalyptic future, with Dredd appearing once in a while. The strength of the 2000 AD comic is that it could explore different genres – from action to satire to drama – so hopefully the forthcoming series will take the same route.
- Mute (2018) release date: Feb 23, 2018