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John Wagner Talks Dredd, Looks Back at Sylvester Stallone Version

by  in Comic News, Movie News Comment

With all the hubub about The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man, another comic-based film has almost been lost in the shuffle: Dredd. Based on the British comic character Judge Dredd, who debuted in 1977 in the anthology 2000 AD, Dredd stars Karl Urban (The Lord of the Rings, Star Trek) as the law enforcement officer who serves as judge, jury and executioner for the criminals that inhabit Mega-City One.

Hero Complex caught up with Judge Dredd co-creator John Wagner and asked him about the origins of the character, what he would have changed and even a few tidbits about not only the upcoming film but also the 1995 version that starred Sylvester Stallone.

“They told the wrong story — it didn’t have that much to do with Dredd the character as we know him,” Wagner said. “I don’t think Stallone was a bad Dredd, though it would have been better and lent him more cred if he hadn’t revealed his face. He was just Dredd in the wrong story. I envy their budget, though. Some of the CGI was very good, and the re-creations of the Angel Gang and the robot. The robot actually came from a Pat Mills story and didn’t belong in Dredd, but it looked good. If the plot had revolved around characters like them the film would have been more successful.”

Wagner went on to praise the new film: “The plot is about Dredd and his world. It’s impossible to cover every aspect of the character and his city – perhaps that was one of the failings of the first film; they tried to do too much and ended up with not a lot. 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 co-star.”

Directed by Pete Travis, Dredd also stars Lena Headey (300, Game of Thrones) and Olivia Thirlby (Juno, No Strings Attached). It opens Sept. 21.