The future of an official Dredd sequel is up in the air, but fans have taken matters into their own hands with a promising film series, Cursed Edge.
It hurts, it really hurts that I didn’t see Dredd in theaters. I feel like part of the herd that made it unsuccessful in the box office, figuring it would be another waste of time, Hollywood cash-in flick. When the DVD finally came out, I figured, why not? Especially since I was able to procure a free Redbox code. What was I thinking?! If you haven’t seen it, and especially if you’re a fan of the character, see it, now. It says a lot that in spite of performing poorly at the box office, Dredd was the number one DVD release of 2012 (Lionsgate publicly declared this in a press release several weeks ago). There’s a reason for that – it’s frikkin’ awesome.
I might be a bit biased because I grew up with Judge Dredd, you know how that goes. At times my family didn’t have a lot of money to throw around, so my brother and I would get Quality Comics reprints of series like Nemesis the Warlock and Judge Dredd at the Dollar General. The original Stallone film also has a place in my heart, but only because I got to see the character on the big screen; otherwise it’s an absolute piece of garbage minus the ABC Warrior appearance. Dredd, however, got it right. So right that I bought the DVD after renting it, and must have told a thousand people about it that week.
Later I learned that two sequels to Dredd were intended, but there have been no official updates on their creation in spite of several suggestions in interviews. I came upon the ‘Make a Dredd Sequel’ Facebook fan page, where it’s been revealed that DVD sales can make a difference. According to the page, an unnamed studio executive has stated that if sales of the DVD stay high, a sequel will be seriously considered.
All of this research eventually led me to a fan project called ‘Judge Dredd: Cursed Edge’, a series set to take off from the film. I was lucky enough to find the director and then the actor playing Judge Turpin in this new series/ pseudo-sequel. After I tracked them down, I had an online discussion with actor Damien Gerard about the project with the go ahead from the director. Playing Judge Turpin, he supplied most of the information here, which is being presented in article format instead of a straight interview. Most of the images here were provided by Damien.
Comic books in the 80s were different in the United Kingdom, and frankly, not very good. 2000AD became the dominant force with its character Judge Dredd. He was, quite simply, the biggest UK comic book character of the 1980s. But until the film Dredd, he really didn’t receive a proper presentation in Hollywood in spite of his popularity both in the UK and worldwide. After the enormous success of Dredd via DVD sales and due to the lack of an official sequel in the works, a team of fans decided to create their own entitled “Judge Dredd: Cursed Edge”, or simply “Cursed Edge”. The original intention was to create a short 15-minute film, but as various plot ideas came together they wanted to create something more epic, a true, professional, fan-made sequel to Dredd. Response was overwhelmingly positive from the beginning, as can be found with the growing numbers of fans on their Facebook page. The team has also been able to work outside of the studio, gathering more interest from the public, including an appearance at the London Comic-Con this past May. Progress has been going smoothly, but recently they decided to create a series of shorter films around the idea of ‘Cursed Edge’ in order to properly realize their vision.
The reasons are simple. The budget restrictions made it somewhat limiting to create a proper full-length, making it more expedient to create shorter films, and further this was how 2000AD was originally published in the UK. It was essentially the first homegrown comic in the country that arced its stories over several issues instead of taking an episodic approach. Rebellion, who owns the IP rights to Dredd, has been in contact with the crew and gave them permission to move forward but restricted their ability to gain funding to protect copyright, meaning that all the funds for this wonderful idea are coming straight out of their own pockets. However, some of the costumes and implements were created using casts of actual screen-used equipment from Dredd, with even a little work from people involved with the film, so the look should be quite close to the original. The team has also been in contact with the makers of the film, who have given some input though they’re not directly involved. You can find fairly regular updates of work on their Facebook page if you’re interested, but check out this trailer first to get an idea of what they’ve been doing. Seems pretty promising overall.
As a Judge Dredd fan, I’m quite excited to see what fans, whose passion and knowledge of a character is often above any director, will do with it. Should the series do well, it will serve two purposes. One, giving the team recognition for their work – always a good thing – and two, possibly elevating the recent reboot of Dredd to the point of an official sequel taking root. Currently, the plan is to create six episodes within the Cursed Edge plot cycle, basing some of the plot and characters off of actual Judge Dredd progs from the 80s. Gerard is playing Judge Turpin, and he hinted that a few other characters would be popping up, but decided to leave the details secret to keep things exciting to anyone familiar with the character and world. I strongly recommend you check out their updates and support this awesome project, it seems to be shaping up to be quite a phenomenon of its own if done right. Maybe then we’ll see DNA Films take action after all and produce the Dredd sequels, including one rumored to involve the Dark Judges. Projects like this can often fall by the wayside, but as far as I can tell, this one should be followed through until the end.