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Will Karl Urban Return As Judge Dredd?

Karl Urban may be currently starring on Amazon Prime's dark and contemporary take on the superhero genre, The Boys, but he's still getting questions about whether he'll reprise a role he played nearly a decade ago — the comic anti-hero Judge Dredd.

Based on the dystopian comic series Judge Dredd (and no, not the poorly-acted nineties movie of the same name), the 2012 film Dredd saw Urban fighting crime in the gritty Mega-City One, as a futuristic law enforcement agent who has the power to act as judge, jury, and executioner. Despite strong reviews, the movie was a huge box-office flop. It rebounded when it released on home media, topping the charts of DVD, Blue-ray, and digital downloads, according to Collider, and this led to the movie becoming somewhat of a cult classic. However, the fan love for the film still hasn't resulted in a sequel of any kind. That doesn't mean Urban is done with the role, though. He's long been vocal about wanting to play Judge Dredd again, and in August 2020, when ScreenGeek asked him about the possibility of that happening, Urban replied, "I've gone on the record before saying that I would love to come back and be a part of that world and tell more Dredd stories."

But just because Urban is interested, doesn't mean that he will return, or that another live-action Judge Dredd adaptation will even happen. So, how likely is it that Urban will actually play Judge Dredd again?

Is there ever going to be a Dredd sequel?

One would think that Dredd's status as a critical darling and home video success would make it a shoo-in for a sequel. Unfortunately, things are rarely that simple. There have been numerous teases for a follow up since the movie's 2012 release, but thus far, none have come to fruition.

In 2013, Collider reported Urban saying, of a potential Dredd sequel, "It's not off the agenda. Clearly everyone has woken up to the fact that an audience has found this movie and loves it." Fan petitions were created, as reported by DigitalSpy, and there was some significant buzz around the idea. However, by 2015, nothing had happened, and Alex Garland, the writer of Dredd, said, "There isn't, as far as I can tell, going to be a Dredd sequel" (via io9). Despite Garland's comments, in 2016, Urban brought up the possibility of a sequel once more, this time appealing to Netflix and Amazon to greenlight the movie. He even told attendees of the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo that "conversations are happening" with the streamers, per io9.

Then, in 2017, a brand new Judge Dredd project was announced. According to IGN, instead of a feature film sequel to Dredd, this new installment would be a TV series called Judge Dredd: Mega-City One. As of July 2020, according to a report by Radio Times, a script was complete, but the production itself was on hold due to the industry-wide coronavirus shutdowns on film and TV productions.

How likely is it that Karl Urban will play Judge Dredd again?

Now that it seems like there is at least the possibility of a Judge Dredd TV series materializing, the big question is whether or not Urban will actually return. According to the aforementioned Radio Times report, everything is on the table. Jason Kingsley, the CEO of Rebellion — the company that currently owns 2000 AD, the magazine from which Judge Dredd originated — said, "Well if we can get people back, you know, we even joked that it would be quite fun to get Stallone back." 

It's also important to note that Judge Dredd: Mega-City One won't primarily be focused on Judge Dredd. Michael Molcher, who works on 2000 AD, told ScreenGeek that, "We're looking at an ensemble cast, really exploring the world, seeing it from the point of view not of Dredd, but of those who work around him, and the kind of crazy crimes and the general madness that you get in a city of 400 million people confined to a much more smaller space." 

As for Urban's stance on returning for Judge Dredd: Mega-City One, the actor told ScreenGeek that, "I think that the legacy of Judge Dredd is in great hands. And if I get the opportunity to work with those guys, you can bet your bottom dollar I will be there." So, for the time being, it seems that there is interest on both sides. However, as fans of the franchise know all too well, the devil is in the details. We'll have to wait until Judge Dredd: Mega-City One moves along in its production before we know for sure whether Urban will don the Judge's helmet once more.