Karl Urban has made our hearts grow three sizes in recent months, reassuring Dredd fans he and others were “working very very hard” to try and get a sequel to the surprisingly badass 2012 flick. Dredd has certainly developed a devoted following, especially since its home video release, but it was nevertheless a disappointment at the box office, earning only $35 million worldwide, against a budget of $50 million. In a new interview, producer Dredd producer Adi Shankar is here to rain on our parade, suggesting that Urban’s statements were blown out of proportion.
I mean, you can tell Shankar doesn’t want to shoot down hopeful Dredd fans, but in spite of Urban’s enthusiasm, another Dredd sequel is nowhere near a sure thing at this point. Among other problems, Shankar says, “There’s no fucking script.” That would be a serious impediment to things. Now, the “talks” that were rumored to be happening were said to involve Dredd screenwriter Alex Garland, and his statements in the past have made it clear that Garland would definitely love to make more Dredd movies, but excitement only gets you so far in show business, which is, let’s face it, still a business.
Shankar points out that Dredd was essentially an indie movie, and as such it had a different distributor in pretty much every country in which it was released. That’s just one element of many that makes a Dredd sequel a tricky prospect, since “they all have to sign off” on any prospective sequel. So we’re not talking about getting one deal; we’re talking about making a lot of deals.
Nevertheless, Shankar doesn’t suggest a Dredd sequel is outside the realm of possibility, just that fans might want to mitigate their expectations, because there are still a lot of hurdles to clear if Dredd 2 is going to happen. Urban’s more optimistic comments undoubtedly stem from his own passion about Dredd 2, and I’m betting there’s probably a bit of “fake it till you make it” happening there as well. As for Garland, he was talking about his long-term Dredd plans even before the first movie was out. He already had the sequel mapped out, so while there might not be a script, the screenwriter definitely isn’t lacking for ideas. Back in August 2012 he told 2000 A.D. Online:
If I was involved in a second movie, it would be about origins and subversion, and Chopper would feature. In fact, I think Chopper would start and end the story. Apart from him, my rough plan involves Fargo, Giant, Angel Gang, and a version of Satanus. For a trilogy, add Cal and the Dark Judges. And Anderson would be in all three. But… just to be clear, this is hugely speculative and also unlikely, for any number of reasons… There are some variables which would rule me out [of any sequel] immediately.
I think I’d try to make [the Dark Judges] really scary. Not play them for laughs. Just make them totally malevolent and lethal. And use practical effects where possible, except for Fire, which would be an on-set nightmare.
The existential side to the Dark Judges is that they don’t see a point to life. If my film-trilogy daydream was to play out, I would completely rewrite my original script for the Dark Judges — because it was junk — and start again.
If there is a sequel, I’m imagining spending about half the movie in the Cursed Earth, and I would try to come up with some new faces as well as some old ones… I quite like the idea of Satanus. But much more mutated.
But by the way, just so it has been said, I actually think that maybe the best way forward for Dredd is television. American TV has completely rewritten the rule book where filmed drama is concerned. Game of Thrones/The Wire/Breaking Bad… An equivalent version of Dredd would be fucking great. Imagine the epics…
One more encouraging thing Shaknar says during the interview is that the big screen isn’t the only possible medium for more Dredd. With Netflix and Amazon leading the charge among non-traditional content providers, there are a lot of potential homes for a Dredd TV series. Given how development-happy Syfy has been of late, maybe Urban and Shankar should give them a call. “There are so many avenues to go with this,” says Shankar.