Fans of 2012’s Dredd haven’t yet given up on their quest to get a sequel greenlit for the gritty, dystopian actioner, despite the original’s lackluster box office returns. The noise “Dredd-heads” have been making, including an international Day of Dredd, has been significant enough to draw reactions from stars Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby, both of whom urged fans to keep on fighting. Now, executive producer Adi Shankar has taken a break from making bootleg riffs on other properties to provide an update on the situation.
Giving viewers a crash course in movie financing, Shankar explains the road to Dredd 2 would be paved with some huge obstacles. What it really boils down to is convincing distributors around the world to get on board (despite the fact that they lost money on the first movie) by slashing the budget, recruiting a big name director who can fill seats (sorry Pete Travis) and getting an A-list actor on board alongside Urban.
With all those prerequisites, it doesn’t sound like Shankar is holding out much hope for a Dredd sequel, but fans will undoubtedly agree to such terms so long as it results in Urban donning the Judge’s iconic helmet one more time. The $45 million budget of the first film allowed for some remarkably cool visuals (the pic was originally marketed as Dredd 3D), but Shankar’s own animated fan tribute, Judge Dredd: Superfiend, demonstrated that there’s really no need to spend that much money to explore the Dredd-verse further.
Getting a big director, though, is a little trickier. As Shankar himself admits, most Hollywood pros aren’t in the business of making sequels to other directors’ movies. Whether Travis taking the reins again would totally kill distributors’ confidence in the project, though, is a big question mark.
Shankar also jokes about getting The Rock to save Dredd, but it’s true that there are some major roles that could be filled by bankable celebrities in a Dredd 2. Writer Alex Garland stated that he planned to include Chopper in the sequel and Judge Death in a third film (though the bigger villain would almost certainly step up for a sequel now that so much is riding on it), and any number of big-name stars could take on one of those roles, like The Rock, Vin Diesel or Ron Perlman.
Whatever happens, there’s still a healthy appetite for Dredd 2. Distributors or maybe a contender like Netflix will certainly notice that, so the one thing that will keep chances of a sequel at least quantifiable is if the fans keep campaigning – which they seem more than happy to do.