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?