The Netflix Sci-Fi Action Thriller Fans Still Want To See Continue

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Published

Sci-fi thriller continues

In 2012, the sci-fi action film, Dredd, brought to life the iconic character from the 2000 AD comic strip, Judge Dredd. Starring Karl Urban as the stoic law enforcer, the film took audiences to Mega-City One, a dystopian metropolis plagued by crime. While the movie was loved by fans, it was unable to make back its budget in theaters, crushing all hopes for a sequel—but that doesn’t mean the fans have stopped asking.

The journey of Dredd began with writer Alex Garland in 2006. Development was officially announced in December 2008, with DNA Films producing the movie. Karl Urban took on the challenge of portraying Judge Dredd, committing to intense physical training and performing his own motorcycle stunts.

Karl Urban in a Netflix thriller

The script aimed to portray a day-in-the-life narrative in Mega-City One. To ensure authenticity, Garland collaborated with John Wagner, the creator of Judge Dredd, to help adapt the comic book character for the big screen.

The film’s visual elements were carefully designed, with Dredd appearing lean and fast, emphasizing functionality over bulkiness. The iconic helmet remained on throughout the film, to maintain the character’s enigmatic presence. The movie aimed to remain true to the source material down to the last detail, including the “Lawgiver” weapon and “Lawmaster” motorcycle, which were adapted faithfully.

Lena Headey in Dredd

Dredd premiered at the San Diego Comic-Con International in 2012 and received positive attention for its visuals and faithful adaptation.

Following its successful debut, Dredd hit theaters in the UK on September 7, 2012, followed by a worldwide release on September 21. While critical reception was positive, the box office performance was modest, earning just over $41 million on an estimated budget of $30–45 million.

Scenes from the movie Dredd

Critics praised Karl Urban’s performance as Judge Dredd, highlighting his ability to convey a character without showing his face. Olivia Thirlby’s portrayal of the psychic rookie Anderson was also well-received. The film’s visual effects, especially the Slo-Mo sequences, earned widespread acclaim for their beauty and innovation.

Despite positive reviews, some U.S. critics found the film lacking in originality and humor. However, the overall consensus acknowledged the film’s success in capturing the gritty spirit of the source material. Judge Dredd creator John Wagner commended the film for its true representation of the character.

Olivia Thirlby in Dredd

Despite the lackluster box office numbers, Dredd gained cult status following its home release. For the past 12 years, fans have been rallying for a sequel, leading to a fan petition endorsed by 2000 AD, which accumulated over 80,000 signatures. In 2013, a comic book continuation titled Dredd: Underbelly was released, teasing further stories in Mega-City One.

While executive producer Adi Shankar initially deemed a sequel unlikely, Karl Urban and fans remained hopeful. Urban expressed interest in continuing the story on streaming services like Netflix or Amazon Prime. In 2017, a television series named Judge Dredd: Mega-City One was announced, but it was placed on hold due to the pandemic.

Karl Urban as Judge Dredd in Dredd
Karl Urban as Judge Dredd in Dredd

Since then we’ve heard that the Dredd sequel series is back in development with Karl Urban involved. It’ll have to go through a long process, where anything could go wrong before it actually ends up on screen.

Fans of Dredd will keep trying and when there’s a will, there’s a way. It’s likely this isn’t the end of Judge Dredd and Mega-City One’s iconic law enforcer will likely be a force to reckon with again sometime soon. In the meantime, you can watch the original film on Netflix.