Well, this IS interesting. IM Global and 2000 AD publisher Rebellion have struck a deal to bring a live-action Judge Dredd TV show to life, called Judge Dredd: Mega City One.
Your first response, we’d guess, is ours. “Sure. Okay. Believe it when we see it.” That’s a fair response, especially with Dredd’s torturously slow development cycle. But this is actually a real thing, made by real people. This, for fans who have clamoured for five years for a Dredd sequel, is definitive if unusual progress.
So here’s what we know. IM Global’s President, Mark Stern developed Helix, Battlestar Galactica and Defiance. Stern’s team has genre chops and is comfortable bringing complicated, morally ambiguous work to the screen. Along with Rebellion, which owns Dredd, they’re the best possible choice.
Here’s the premise, according to EW; an ensemble of Judges struggling to deal with the realities of Mega-City 1 life. This chimes in with rumours BUZZ has heard that Dredd would not, in fact, be the lead character. That is the best news in the entire story, for two reasons.
Firstly, Dredd himself isn’t very interesting. Scoff all you want but the world’s angriest chin is a staunch defender of the law and… not terribly much else. He has depth, don’t get us wrong, and there’s a raft of seminal comic stories exploring his human side but when it comes down to it, Dredd has to be an angry man in a helmet who lets people in reluctantly and on his terms. That’s why the, “You ready, rookie?” conversations in the movie work so brilliantly. They’re a pep talk, a lesson and Dredd expressing concern for his partner as well as posturing all at once. And in three words. He’s not remonstrative, he’s not emotional. He can’t be. At least not in public. Which is why a longform story like this needs a cast of characters. Place Dredd in amongst a group of Judges and he’s much more interesting and gives them something to put their backs against.
The second piece of good news is we’re pretty certain the working premise of the show is basically a story called “The Pit”. We haven’t had this confirmed at all but it fits perfectly.
In “The Pit”, Dredd is given the most corrupt, besieged sector house in the city to run. He’s forced to work with his Judges, lead the ones who can be saved back out into the light and take down the ones that can’t. It’s an incredible story, one of the all-time greats and it’s a perfect blueprint for a series like this.
Now the bad news. There’s no network attached. That means that right now this is Schrodinger’s Project. It exists but it doesn’t exist. In a sense it’s a similar position to being optioned. All that means is that a studio has put down money to hold the rights to a property. All this means is a production company is actively developing a series.
So, when it has a network announced (COUGHNetflixCOUGH) or a star or two, that’s when you can break out the champagne. That’s when this is definitely happening as opposed to very probably happening which is where we are now.
Still, it’s excellent news and the perfect format for Dredd. Now, all we need is either a “You ready rookies?” or a, “Let’s be careful out there,” and we’ll be set.
By Alasdair Stuart