Dredd sequels could star Chopper, dinosaurs and the Dark Judges

Alex Garland reveals his plans for a Dredd trilogy, but suggests he won’t be involved.

Olivia Thirlby as Anderson in Dredd, in cinemas from 7 September 2012

Answering fan questions on the 2000 AD Online forumDredd 3D writer/producer Alex Garland (28 Days LaterSunshine), discussed his hopes for a second, and even third, Dredd movie in detail.

“If I was involved in a second movie, it would be about origins and subversion, and Chopper would feature,” revealed Garland. “In fact, I think Chopper would start and end the story.

“Apart from him, my rough plan involves Fargo, Giant, Angel Gang and a version of Satanus. For a trilogy, add Cal and the Dark Judges. And Anderson would be in all three.  But… just to be clear, this is hugely speculative and also unlikely, for any number of reasons.”

For the initiated, Chopper is a graffiti artist/sky surf champion, and one of the few recurring POV characters in the Judge Dredd universe to be a sympathetic lawbreaker and also escape Dredd’s brand of justice. A fan favourite, Chopper graffiti appears in Dredd, suggesting that even during the movie’s production Alex Garland had the character in mind.

Fargo and the Angel Gang popped up in 1995’s Judge Dredd – for their sins – but the mad Chief Judge Cal, stalwart Judge Giant and murderous mutant T-Rex Satanus all point to classic Dredd story arcs, albeit it ones Garland will be grounding in the street-level dirt of his new movie universe.

“My tonal approach to a sequel would be the same,” continued the writer. “But I’d definitely want to open out the story much more within Mega-City One, but also into the Cursed Earth.  And I would want to continue to exploring the character of Dredd.”

Judge Death Judge Dredd
Judge Death facing off against Judge Dredd, by Jock

Asked how he’d envisage the Dark Judges – the extra-dimensional beings from an alternate universe where all life was judged a crime, and the undead Judge Death, Judge Fear, Judge Fire and Judge Mortis attempt to bring their genocidal scale of justice to Mega-City One – Garland added:

“I think I’d try to make them really scary. Not play them for laughs. Just make them totally malevolent and lethal. And use practical effects where possible, except for Fire, which would be an on-set nightmare.

“The existential side to the Dark Judges is that they don’t see a point to life,” he continued. “If my film-trilogy daydream was to play out, I would completely rewrite my original script for the Dark Judges – because it was junk – and start again.  And I’d make them deeply fucking weird and spooky, and sort of philosophical.  And if everyone hates that idea, relax, because it’ll never happen.”

Queried on the actual look of the mega-fiend Judge Death, depicted in the comics as a sort of skeletal wraith figure in a haunted house version of Judge Dredd’s outfit, Garland explained how he’d bring this into his movie universe:

“Very broadly, Death would be in an actual judge’s uniform that get progressively fucked up, rather than starting with a portcullis helmet. But again, if you hate this idea, relax, because it will almost certainly never happen.”

Don’t get too excited, though, as there’s a pretty high profit threshold that Dredd has to cross before anyone would even consider a sequel, and even then it’s not sure thing. Even if it does happen, Alex Garland may not even be involved.

“There are some variables which would rule me out immediately,” he concluded enigmatically.

Dredd 3D is in cinemas from 7 September 2012, and you should definitely read the entire Q&A this is lifted from.