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Dredd Was Almost a Judge Death Movie

Dredd vs. Death by Greg Staples.
Dredd vs. Death by Greg Staples.

While fans of Pete Travis and Alex Garland’s 2012 Dredd movie are still wondering whether there’ll ever be a sequel to the instant cult-classic adaptation, it turns turns out the original movie was almost very different—and instead starred one of 2000 A.D.’s stranger Judges.


Speaking to Screen Geek at a celebratory event marking 2000 A.D.’s 2000th comic issue over the weekend Dredd’s co-creator, John Wagner said that one of the first scripts for what would become Dredd was actually a movie about Judge Death, the leader of the undead Dark Judges on Deadworld (an apt name, really), the alternate 2000 A.D. reality where being alive is a crime punishable by... well, death:

Wagner: [Dredd] would work very well as a television show – it just depends on how it’s done. It could work very as a film. I mean – everyone wants to see Judge Death, don’t they?

SG: Yeah, they definitely do.

Wagner: I wouldn’t mind seeing that. That was actually the first script that Alex Garland did was a Judge Death script but Fox, who they were dealing with at the time, turned it down. They wanted more nuts and bolts before they went into the [metaphysical].


Apparently, Fox thought the undead Judge was a bit too weird to start a potential franchise on, so it was reworked until we eventually got the Dredd-starring movie we ended up with. Who knows, in the far-flung future whenever Dredd 2: The Dreddening ever happens, Judge Death could show up then?

James is a News Editor at io9. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!

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Judge Fear was always my favorite because he set up the best line in any JD comic EVER!

Judge Fear would open the grate on his helmet and tell his victims, including Judges, to “Gaze into the face of Fear!” whereupon they would scream and die with a horrified rictus. However, when he faced Judge Dredd, here’s how it went.

Judge Fear: Gaze into the face of Fear!

Judge Dredd: Gaze into the fist of Dredd! {followed immediately by Dredd punching his fist entirely through the head of Judge Fear.}

Best Dredd moment, IMHO.