Yesterday saw the Dredd panel at the London Film and Comic Con, the centrepiece of which was a full and meaty scene from the film. It was, according to one of our pairs of spying eyes, not a scene in the widely leaked screenplay, but something added in reshoots. The scene apparently took place on the set you see in this image:
And, according to our Little Bleeders Hywel, James and Caspar, it was very well shot and suitably vicious scene, showcasing a particularly nasty ability of Dredd's lawmaker gun. Having read the script, I think I know which later beats this scene was added to set-up.
So, that was the show-stopper, but it's not the headline. That came when Alex Garland, the film's screenwriter, addressed the possibility of sequels during the audience Q&A.
Putting a number on it is always a bit approximate, but Garland said that $50 million box office from Dredd in the US would be enough to get a sequel in motion.
Here's a direct quote courtesy of Little Bleeder Caspar:
We'll see a sequel if the gross is above $50 million in the US. It's a simple financial equation. We're an independent movie… In terms of Dark Judges, I wrote Death into this script, but it didn't feel right for the first film. I thought it felt right but after about 16 drafts and it really didn't work out.
I needed to have set up the city and Dredd first before taking on what is essentially a riff on the Judges. You need to know what the Judges are before you can subvert them.
I wrote a second script which was about Dredd going out to the Cursed Earth. That was rejected for similar reasons.
If they want to make sequels, I've got a story that goes from this one into the origins of Dredd and the city. Then the third one has would have a strange, existential attack from the Dark Judges.
So, if they get to it, the third film would bring in Judge Death and the Dark Judges. Fan bait.
At least that's Garland's current plan, and plans change. As he said, Garland was going to give us Judge Death in the first film for any number of drafts but eventually decided this first film would better served if it focused instead on introducing Dredd and Anderson.
And soon we'll find out just how right he was.
Dredd opens across the UK on September 7th, then in the US two weeks later. Garland noted that they'll have a hard time hitting the $50 million with an R-rating, so if you want to see those sequels, your best shot is to put your money where your mouth is.