Gary Collinson rounds up today's Dredd panel from the London Film and Comic Con 2012, which included brand new footage, along with talk of sequels and Dark Judges...
After a 'preview' on Friday evening, the first day proper of this year's London Film and Comic Con drew to a close on Saturday with a world exclusive Dredd panel attended by star Karl Urban, screenwriter Alex Garland, producer Allon Reich and comic book artist Jock. In addition to the usual promotional chatter, the panel also offered up a never-before-seen clip from the film, along with a brief Q&A that allowed Garland to discuss his plans for further instalments, should this reboot prove successful.
Things kicked off with each member of the panel reflecting on the 1995 Sylvester Stallone version, with Urban stating that he appreciated some elements of the movie and that it provided him with the opportunity to see what worked and what didn’t. Next up came further confirmation that Dredd’s helmet remains firmly affixed to his head throughout the entire reboot, with Urban’s claims that he’d not have taken the role otherwise meeting with a round of applause from the audience.
After some generic questions, we moved onto the footage; taking place near the start of the film, the scene in question was filmed as part of last December’s reshoots and serves as an introduction to the character of Judge Dredd and his methods. Having chased down a criminal into a shopping mall, Dredd finds himself in a stand-off with the perp who has taken a woman hostage. If he let’s the hostage go, the sentence is life without the possibility of parole… if he doesn’t comply, then it’s death. Obviously it ends with the latter, as Dredd dispatches a ‘hot shot’ from his lawmaker, the round implanting itself in the perp’s face and frying his head from the inside out. The scene in question wasn’t too shabby, and if it’s any indication of the rest of the film, then Jock’s statement that Dredd is “tough, brutal, violent and exciting” may actually ring true.
Following the footage there was a brief opportunity for audience questions – the most interesting of which from a fan perspective concerned the possibility of a sequel, and the introduction of the Dark Judges. Garland stated that his first crack at a script actually included Judge Death, but he felt it would be too soon, and that Dredd needed to be established first. He said that a sequel would be possible if Dredd grossed over $50m in the States, before revealing he had plans for two further instalments – the second movie would see Dredd visiting the Cursed Earth and exploring the history of Mega City One, paving the way for the arrival of the Dark Judges in the third.
And that was about it... not bad, but nothing exceptional either. However, I have to say that all involved seemed passionate not only about the film but also the character of Judge Dredd himself, and that must surely bode well for Dredd when it arrives this September.
Gary Collinson is a writer and lecturer from the North East of England. He is the editor-in-chief of FlickeringMyth.com and the author of Holy Franchise, Batman! Bringing the Caped Crusader to the Screen.