Rebellion, the video game developer behind the Sniper Elite series and the 2010 Aliens versus Predator video game, who also own 2000 AD and Judge Dredd announced in May that they were developing a TV serial of the cult comic book titled Judge Dredd: Mega-City One. Speaking on the 2000 AD Thrillcast producer Brian Jenkins, and executive producer Jason Kingsley announced that the TV serial, being very early in its development is still a couple of years away from release, is planned to be a big budget, character-focused production, filmed in the UK and to be distributed by IM Global. During a sometimes chaotic discussion Rebellion co-founder Kingsley and producer Jenkins stated that concept art and early drafts of the episodes are in development that will pull from decades of 2000 AD comics as well as introduce new elements created specifically for the show.
Amidst the banter Kingsley and Jenkins acknowledged that the 1995 movie Judge Dredd starring Sylvester Stallone while being "campy" was aesthetically closer to the look and lore of the comic book source material, the 2012 movie Dredd successfully recreated the tone and atmosphere of the characters, especially with Karl Urban's portrayal of Judge Dredd. Speaking of the Australian born actor both Kingsley and Jenkins stated that while they are hopeful that Urban will reprise the role of Mega-City One's most famous Judge, although they expect scheduling conflicts may make the possibility unlikely. Reportedly due to feature an ensemble cast the show is expected to be released in 2019/2020.
Due to its underwhelming performance at the box office, it is unsurprising that Rebellion has moved away from developing a sequel to the 2012 movie, yet while their enthusiasm and reverence for the Judge Dredd property cannot be denied, is a small screen adaptation of the world of Mega-City One really a good idea? Consider the nature of the source material, which is graphically violent, socially satirical but also quite often frankly insane, which is a fine line that even the comic book struggles to navigate. Will such a property adapted to the small screen appeal to a wide enough audience and become profitable enough to warrant a renewal for a second season? Or, is it more likely that the show will be considered too abstract (like Hannibal), will underperform and fail to deliver (a la Gotham), or just become another procedural police show.
Subjectively looking at the Mega City and Judge Dredd property and at Rebellion it does seem somewhat surprising that the company is not playing towards its strengths and adapting the property as an AAA video game title. Such a title set within a vast online open-world Mega-City One, in which players co-operatively maintain order and dispense the law as Judges, battling against violent gangs, demonic entities and sentient vegetables could become a possible GTA V and Destiny beater, and could even allow favored star Urban to reprise his role with minimal scheduling issues via voice-over work. Rebellion could use their already well-established development and publishing teams together with their premier intellectual property to create and deliver, without physical restriction a leading long-term AAA video game title.
Regardless it seems Rebellion are pushing forward with their Judge Dredd: Mega-City One series and only time will tell as to whether the characters third live-action incarnation proves favorable with audiences or whether, as with previous adaptations fails to live up to the charm and character of the iconic comic book original.
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