Judge Dredd Creator John Wagner Explains Why New Movie Should Work

Karl Urban in Dredd
(Image credit: Lionsgate)

Danny Cannon’s Judge Dredd, with Sylvester Stallone as a futuristic weapon of justice, falls into that category of graphic-novel adaptations that stumbled on the journey from page to screen. (Two words: Rob. Schneider.) The film took liberties with John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra's gritty character, and the film… well, it didn’t work. Hollywood’s getting a do-over when it comes to Judge Dredd, however, and Wagner opened up to the L.A. Times on why this new version, simply called Dredd, should be better.

“Perhaps that was one of the failings of the first film; they tried to do too much and ended up with not a lot,” Wagner says. “Dredd homes in on the essential job of judging – instant justice in a violent future city. I like the actors, they’re well cast and they handled their parts well. Olivia Thirlby is perfect as Anderson, the young psi judge. She gives the character a touching vulnerability. Karl Urban will not remove his helmet and will not kiss his costar.”

Wagner has nice things to say about Stallone as Dredd (though the revealing-the-face thing is a real bone of contention). He also says that he admires the budget that Cannon had back in 1995, though the money often was spent on characters ad robots that weren’t part of Dredd’s world.

Pete Travis (Vantage Point, Endgame) helms this new iteration of Judge Dredd, and he appears to have the blessing of the long-running Dredd creative team. Without question, this is a character and a world that could use a revision, though we’ll have to wait until Sept. 21 to see what they’ve come with.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.