Without any doubt, the TV show that every single fan of sci-fi and comic book enthusiast wants, is a Judge Dredd series. This year is even 2000AD‘s 40th anniversary, so it’s not as if there’s a shortage of potential story lines. Moreover, Karl Urban proved he was more than capable of playing the part – and he wants to – so, for drokk’s sake, why has it taken so long? Well, you know the reason it took CBS way too long to get Star Trek back on the screen revolved around copyright disputes, simply speaking, something similar existed with Judge Dredd. However, this appears as though it’s being resolved…and the word on the street is…that talks have moved on and well, progress is being made.
First seen in an exclusive by IGN, two pieces of concept art have emerged online in relation to the early stages of the TV show’s development. The first image is titled Democracy March and shows the suspended streets of Mega-City One packed with people, you can even make out the Statue of Liberty towards the top left. The title may well be a reference to the events of America, one of the most political Judge Dredd stories ever told, certainly one of the most popular. Writer John Wagner has said this is his favourite Dredd story and 2000AD editor David Bishop has called this “The best Judge Dredd story ever written.”
The second piece of art, Lowlife Arrival, shows the deepest levels of Mega-City One. The original Low Life comic storyline followed Judges operating in Mega-City One’s slums and those certainly look like Law Masters in the background.
Rumours abound that Urban has been in talks linked to the new TV show and these rumours have been circulating for a while now. However, if these examples of concept art are linked to 2000AD storylines – many of which aren’t about Dredd himself – then it certainly lends credability to producer Jason Kingsley’s promise that the show will create “multi-thread storylines, one of which will be Dredd’s but others which take us into the wider world of Mega-City One.”
Anyone who knows 2000AD will tell you that this is an untapped source of some of the very best sci-fi story writing known to man. Its mind-boggingly creative pool of talent has included Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, John Wagner and Alan Grant. The only thing that’s more staggering is how no one has taken advantage of this, especially given the success of Marvel and DC…and so many other studios buying up the rights to graphic novels and comic books. Only this week, Netflix announced it’s buying the rights to almost everything written by Mark Millar, except Kick-Ass and Kingsman, the cinematic rights for those were snapped up by Universal and 20th Century Fox, respectively. Incidentally, Millar began his career writing for 2000AD.
Back in May, producer Brian Jenkins and Rebellion CEO Jason Kingsley announced the new TV show, which was to be called Judge Dredd: Mega-City One, in a deal struck between IM Global entertainment studio and Rebellion, which publishes 2000AD. Mark Stern, who developed Battlestar Galactica, Helix, and Defiance for Syfy, was said to be attached. Since then however, Stuart Ford, CEO of IM Global Television has been forced out, so it’s not known what affect this will have.
Kingsley says that his “best guess is that [the TV show] is at least two years away”. That would bring us to a 2019 release date at the earliest. He added, “We’re so early in the process that things could happen a bit faster, or much more slowly.”
He also teased that the show “will combine the macabre with the insane and the light-hearted. It’s a big place after all, with 400 million stories to tell”.
Karl Urban recently appeared at Star Trek’s Las Vegas convention and inevitably ended up talking about his possible links to the Judge Dredd: Mega City One show. Once again, getting everyone’s hopes up, he said that “I am in discussions with them about that. I told them that if they write the material and give Dredd something to do and give him a function, I will be there. I would love to.”