ECCC '14: Dredd 2 Next On Alex Garland's Books?

By one of our West Coast corespondents Gavin Lees:

Dredd PanelThis year's Emerald City Comicon featured a number of film screenings at Seattle's historic Cinerama, with some of the stars in attendance.  Saturday night's main event was Dredd 3D, with star Karl Urban, production designer Jock, and 2000AD's Arthur Wyatt, who is currently working on Underbelly, a Dredd comic set in the movie universe.  The three participated in a Q&A prior to the screening and revealed some interesting information about the future of the Dredd movies.

Urban spoke first about how he landed the role.  He was on vacation and received a call inviting him to read for the part of Dredd.  He was excited — as Judge Dredd had been one of the few comics he had read as a teenager — but also skeptical, given how the character had been treated in the previous film.  After reading the script, though, he was convinced that Alex Garland (the movie's writer and producer) had a genuinely respectful take on the character.  He quipped that he would not have gone to the audition if Dredd had taken his helmet off.

He did advocate for some changes, though.  It was his intent that Dredd should say as little as possible in the movie — an assessment that John Wagner, the character's creator, completely agreed with.  Rather than make his job easier, though, this meant that Urban had to portray so much more of the character through his body — a huge challenge when the character's face is essentially just a chin.

Jock's involvement with the film was a happy accident.  When he heard that the film had been greenlit, he painted some art — for fun — to show how he thought the cinematic version of Mega City One should look.  This was picked-up on by several news sites and hailed as official work.  Although Jock feared that the film's producers would be angry about this misinformation, they actually liked the pieces so much that they invited him to come on board as the film's bona fide production designer.

When the questions were turned over to the audience, there was a noticeable theme — everyone wanted more Dredd.

When asked if he would ever consider doing a Thomas Jane style fan movie, Urban said that he would jump at the chance to get back into the costume, but only with the approval from the comics' and the movie's creators.  This naturally led to a question about a second Dredd movie.

Urban reported that conversations had been going on about a sequel. After the somewhat disappointing theatrical performance, the studio had no plans, but now that it has picked up on disc sales and rentals, they are working with the producers, and trying to make it happen.

As for a timeline, Urban said that if there was ever a sequel, it would have to be after Garland had completed work on Ex-Machina (his directorial debut).  But he does have a trilogy planned in his head, and it is likely that the next film will be set in the Cursed Earth.  Urban is excited about that prospect, and was really impressed with the fan trailer for a Crused Earth Dredd movie that he saw.

Another audience member wanted to know whether the Dark Judges would make an appearance.  Jock reported that they were supposed to be a feature of the first film, but they didn't work — it would have been too much to establish that many characters within its scope.  He said it would have to be done for the second film, as they are the go-to characters for expanding Dredd's world.

Before the curtains opened, Jock had time for a quick plug to mention that a book of his production designs and Garland's full script for the film would be coming out in the summer.

Gavin Lees writes for Bleeding Cool Magazine and assorted other publications.  He lives in Seattle.

About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.