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Judge Dredd Mega-City One TV Show in development

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EW can exclusively reveal that independent entertainment studio IM Global and independent U.K. games developer and publisher Rebellion have struck a deal to turn the iconic comic book character into a TV show called Judge Dredd: Mega City One. The show is set in a future where the East Coast of the U.S. has become a crowded and crime-ridden megalopolis. It will be an ensemble drama about a team of Judges — futuristic cops invested with the power to be judge, jury, and executioner — as they deal with the challenges the future-shocked 22nd century throws at them. Early development has begun on the show, and talent will be announced at a later date.


The character of Dredd — who is known for his incorruptibility, harsh attitude towards law-breaking “perps,” and upper face-concealing helmet — was created by writer John Wagner and artist Carlos Ezquerra in 1977 and first appeared in the British science fiction anthology comic 2000 AD, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Judge Dredd has twice been adapted for the big screen. Sylvester Stallone played the titular character in 1995’s Judge Dredd, while Karl Urban portrayed the role in 2012’s Dredd. Although the latter was a box office disappointment, the Alex Garland-scripted film has garnered a substantial cult following of fans thanks in large part to its faithful representation of the original material.


Attached as executive producers of the new show are IM Global Television president Mark Stern, who developed Battlestar Galactica, Helix, and Defiance at Syfy; IM Global Television CEO Stuart Ford; and the owners of Rebellion, Jason and Chris Kingsley, who along with Ford were also executive producers of the 2012 Dredd film.


“This is one of those seminal sci-fi properties that seems to only become and more relevant with age,” said Stern in a statement. “Not only is it a rich world with biting social commentary, but it’s also fun as hell! As a fan of the comics and both films, it’s a dream come true to be able to work with Jason and Chris in adapting this for television.”


“We’re very excited to be beginning the journey to get more of Judge Dredd’s Mega-City One on the television screen,” said Jason and Chris Kingsley said. “Thanks to the legions of fans who have kept up pressure on social media, and a lot of background work and enthusiasm, we aim to make a big budget production that will satisfy both our vast comics audience and the even greater general screen-watching public.”




While Judge Dredd will get top billing, the series is due to explore a broader canvas, Kingsley adds, bringing the city and its sprawling cast of characters to life. “We want to capture the atmosphere of Dredd, we want all the crazy fashions and the kneepads. We’re not going for comedy but there will be moments of light and dark, just like in the comics.”


In the longer term, Rebellion has ambitions to develop screen adaptations of other 2000AD stories, as well as video game properties including Sniper Elite and titles from their science fiction imprints Abaddon and Solaris.



So given a hypothetical unlimited budget tomorrow, who else would Kingsley get on the starting blocks for a 2000AD-based TV series? “Good question, and one that we’ve discussed at length. It’s a classic pub conversation!” he says. “So … well, Rogue Trooper, obviously, and Strontium Dog, and definitely Absalom”.

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The city of the future is moving ever closer.

As revealed by 2000 AD and Judge Dredd owners Rebellion at San Diego Comic-Con Saturday afternoon, preparation for the television series Judge Dredd: Mega-City One is progressing apace, with the news that the pilot script and plot for the show’s first two years have been completed — and a name familiar to Dredd fans is attached to both.

Rob Williams, who has written the character for 2000 AD for years — including working on such important stories as “Trifecta,” “Titan” and the “Enceladus” cycle — is the creative lead for the pilot for the show, which focuses on the authoritarian police force in the overcrowded giant city that encompasses the majority of the East Coast of the United States. He also worked with a group of writers on the plot for the show’s first couple of seasons. Despite the title, Dredd will not be the sole focus on the show, which will instead be an ensemble drama.

Judge Dredd: Mega-City One was announced in May 2017, created in partnership between IM Global Television — headed up by former Syfy executive Mark Stern, who developed Battlestar Galactica and Defiance for the network — and Rebellion Productions, a newly created division of the company that owns the Dredd property. Rebellion creative director and CEO Jason Kingsley will act as executive producer on the show, with Brian Jenkins as series producer.

“It’s been really exciting to be working with Rob on the pilot,” Jenkins said in a statement. “We have a really talented team here at Rebellion Productions and I’m really proud of them. Jason and I have been busy looking at locations and laying out season one as we gear up, to move forward into pre-production.”

Kingsley added, “I’ve read the pilot script by Rob and the team, and got that same thrill I did when I first discovered Judge Dredd. As we drive this project forward I’m always surprised by how much effort goes on behind-the-scenes to bring something like Mega-City One to the screen. I’m very pleased with how the whole project is coming together and looking forward to more exciting announcements in the coming months.”






Democracy and lowlifes.

The first, 'Democracy March', shows the suspended streets packed with people amidst the Mega-City skyline (including the Statue of Liberty). The title may well be a reference to the events of "America", one of the Judge Dredd comic series' most well-loved storylines, which tackled some incredibly heavy themes, and saw a major change in Dredd's depiction.


'Democracy March' concept art (click to enlarge).

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 imposing headlights might well show them turning up to do the same.


'Lowlife Arrival' concept art (click to enlarge).

If those connections to the original comics (many of which aren't about Dredd himself) are indeed true, it lends credence 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.”

Both pieces were completed last year, indicating that the show has been in development for quite some time.

While it remains unattached to a network, the team behind Judge Dredd: Mega-City One is in talks with Dredd movie lead Karl Urban to reprise his role - a choice that would likely prove very popular.

Exploring Mega-City One and bringing back Karl Urban are two of the 9 things we want from a Dredd TV show - here's hoping they nail the rest, too.


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I've been run over by far too many hype trains to get truly excited, but I'm looking forward to this. There's been talk between the two movies as to what is the proper tone for Dredd, truth is there never was a consistent tone for Dredd. It's been running almost as long as 2000ad has, and they got bored and they tried new things and it could be a wildly different kind of story from one week to a next. Usually it's about meeting an entirely new group of citizens, learning  how they live and more often that not how they die. If they can stay true to that and keep the ideas flowing, it'll be something great. The only concern I have is seeing the state of the Preacher series, a show that struggles to depict the version of America that already exists. 

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I would love to see them "spice up" a version of what megacity crime looks like in the future. Seems like they usually take current trends and apply flashy and fun technology to them like in Altered Carbon (which I liked btw). I think this show will have some good opportunities to discuss the future of law enforcement and get folks thinking. 

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[ALL] Karl Urban thinks Netflix should make a Dredd TV ...



So much of the appeal for me, is that Dredd is often the antagonist to far more engaging characters. There's the revolutionary America (her name, taken from the no longer extant country) or Chopper and the other sky surfers, doing what they have to to obtain enough freedom to make life bearable. 




But for the actually villainous, I really want to see them bring in PJ Maybe, a seeming idiot, but mostly savant who leads a decades long crime spree since childhood. Always being just out of reach of the Justice Department, like a bug that can't be squashed. He plays with every trick in the book, robots, hacking, face changing, you name it. 

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On 8/5/2018 at 7:44 AM, FireDownBelow said:

I had no idea this was in the works. I'm excited. I never read the comic but I enjoyed both of the movies, though for different reasons and dystopias fascinate me.


The future of law enforcement? Oh boy. That's a loaded topic.


I haven't read the comics either, but maybe now IS a good time to address the way the Judges handle things in the context of recent events. 

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On 8/5/2018 at 1:44 PM, FireDownBelow said:

I had no idea this was in the works. I'm excited. I never read the comic but I enjoyed both of the movies, though for different reasons and dystopias fascinate me.


The future of law enforcement? Oh boy. That's a loaded topic.


This covers a lot of those issues, and I'm pretty sure it's a primer for the US and new audiences in general. It touches on a few worrying things, like Dredd appearing as a noble oppressor and the Punisher logo turning up actual law enforcement vehicles. 



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