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Trivia / Judge Dredd

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For the Karl Urban movie, Dredd.

From the comics:

  • Cowboy BeBop at His Computer: The story Closet got a lot of attention from the British tabloids. Most of them did not do the research, believing it to be a story about Dredd being gay (in reality, he's a Celibate Hero), as opposed to what homosexuality in the 22nd century means for ordinary citizens of Mega City One.
  • Follow the Leader: Garth Ennis and Mark Millar's runs in the 90s upped the violence considerably, consistent with what was going on in American comics at the time.
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  • Fountain of Expies: If a dystopian science fiction work features a police force requiring them to be helmeted, chances are their appearance, and the personality of at least one officer, will be heavily based on Dredd.
  • God Does Not Own This World: Dredd was originally conceived by John Wagner (writer) and Carlos Ezquerra (artist), but copyright and publication rights lie with Rebellion (at present). Plenty of other writers regularly write new material, but an unofficial understanding exists that only John Wagner is allowed to alter the status quo.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Or the back issues, rather—four installments of "The Cursed Earth" epic are missing from The Complete Case Files due to a legal dispute over representations of pretty much every fast food chain that existed at the time. The front page of the volume in question hastily sums them up. Thankfully, as "Cursed Earth" is a very episodic story, losing the chapters doesn't hurt its pacing any. Subverted with the upcoming Director's Cut of "The Cursed Earth", which will include the lost chapters.
  • What Could Have Been: The strip was originally conceived as being set 20 Minutes into the Future. Ezquerra's design turned out to be too futuristic, so the strip was given a setting further into the future.
    • "City of the Damned" was supposed to be a massive 20-30 part epic on par with Apocalypse War, The Day The Law Died, The Judge Child Quest, and Cursed Earth. But shortly after production began, John Wagner got bored with the story (especially after 2000AD lost some of the artwork that made up half of a chapter, forcing it to be hastily redrawn). So it came to an abrupt halt and the entire Judge Child storyline wrapped up as well, due to Wagner wanting to be done with it once and for all.
    • "Oz" was subject to a lot of behind the scenes changes. The original version of the storyline did not feature the Judda Clan storyline whatsoever. The Judda subplot was a planned storyline that was to run after Oz but got incorporated into the arc due to the strip falling behind schedule production-wise. Also, the ending (which sealed the fate of the partnership of Alan Grant and John Wagner) was originally supposed to be Dredd executing Oz. Grant, who was increasingly pushing Dredd to become more villainous as a Take That! to those who rooted for the Judges, wanted Dredd to murder Chopper in cold blood with no repercussion. Wagner vehemontly refused, not only because he wanted to have the character be available for future use, but also because he realized that Grant's direction would kill off the book.
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    • The entire Democracy storyline, was subjected to this. The story that kicked it off (Letter From a Democrat) was originally supposed to be a spoof about radical nudists who take a TV studio hostage in order to preach about the joys of total nudity. 2000AD would not let the story be published, so it was rewritten to be about a desperate housewife who sacrificed her life in a desperate bid to wake her people up towards the fascist dictatorship that was the Judges. Similarly, John Wagner's last contribution to the entire Democracy storyline was "The Devil You Know": where Judge Dredd is targeted by a group of Judges who seek to kill him, since Dredd was the driving force for the referendum on the contination of the Judge system. Wagner explicitly told Garth Ennis (who took over the strip while Wagner started writing for the recently launched Judge Dredd Megazine) he could end the storyline anyway he wanted: Ennis opted for the utter destruction of the Democracy movement via the Judges winning in a low voter turn out referendum. When Wagner returned to the series in 1995, he promptly had the new Chief Judge Volt restore local autonomy to Mega-City 1 and restored local government that worked to run the aspects of the city the Judges were too busy to deal with. Had Wagner not left 2000AD, Wagner would have most likely had the referendum end in favor of the Democracy movement but with the Judges staying on in a shadow government style function.
    • The 1997 Doctor Who Missing Adventures novel "Burning Heart" was originally going to be a crossover but plans were scrapped because of the failure of the film.
    • Some planned Spin Offs included one following a class of cadets from induction day to graduation with one of them discovering they were a Dredd clone and one which involved the adventures of a Long Walk judge. The latter was reformulated into a storyline in the Lawman Of The Future continuity with the Long Walker as the antagonist.
  • The Wiki Rule: The Judge Dredd Wiki, and another Judge Dredd Wiki.

From the film:

  • Box Office Bomb: Budget, $90 million. Box office, $34,693,481 (domestic), $113,493,481 (worldwide). Effectively hamstrung any attempts to establish the Judge Dredd franchise in the U.S. It and In The Mouth of Madness swallowed the writing job of Michael De Luca, who stuck with being an executive at New Line and DreamWorks and Sony until 2010's The Social Network. It was also one of a series of critically-derided screenplays credited to Steven E. de Souza, and he would not get his next one for three years. The film as a whole and its production became an Old Shame for both Sylvester Stallone and the creator of Dredd, John Wagner, who both felt the movie never attained its potential (Wagner felt Stallone was good for the role, but Stallone got a Razzie nom for it).
  • Completely Different Title:
    • Latin America and Brazil: The Judge
    • Italy: Dredd: I Am the Law
    • Portugal: Dredd's Law
    • Taiwan: Chronocop
    • Turkey: Judge
  • Creator Backlash: Sylvester Stallone, as a fan of the comic, wasn't happy with how the film turned out, feeling that much potential was wasted; he agreed in hindsight that the helmet should've stayed on as true to the character, and that it should've tried to focus in on one clear story arc as opposed to haphazardly pulling multiple elements from several Dredd stories. However, some of the dumber ideas (such as the infamous kiss with Hershey) were Stallone's.
    I loved that property when I read it, because it took a genre that I love, what you could term the 'action morality film' and made it a bit more sophisticated. It had political overtones. It showed how if we don't curb the way we run our judicial system, the police may end up running our lives. It dealt with archaic governments; it dealt with cloning and all kinds of things that could happen in the future. It was also bigger than any film I've done in its physical stature and the way it was designed. All the people were dwarfed by the system and the architecture; it shows how insignificant human beings could be in the future. There's a lot of action in the movie and some great acting, too. It just wasn't balls to the wall. But I do look back on Judge Dredd as a real missed opportunity. It seemed that lots of fans had a problem with Dredd removing his helmet, because he never does in the comic books. But for me it is more about wasting such great potential there was in that idea; just think of all the opportunities there were to do interesting stuff with the Cursed Earth scenes. It didn't live up to what it could have been. It probably should have been much more comic, really humorous, and fun. What I learned out of that experience was that we shouldn't have tried to make it Hamlet; it's more Hamlet and Eggs.
  • Disowned Adaptation: John Wagner wasn't happy with how this film turned out, telling Empire in 2012: "the story had nothing to do with Judge Dredd, and Judge Dredd wasn’t really Judge Dredd even though Stallone was perfect for the part." In an interview with Total Film, he said that the film had "tried to do too much" and "told the wrong story".
  • Follow the Leader: This was one of a good number of hyper-stylized comic based films released in the 90's to come out in the wake of Batman (1989).
  • Multiple Languages, Same Voice Actor: In addition to playing Judge Griffin onscreen, Jürgen Prochnow dubbed his character in German.
  • No Stunt Double: Joan Chen and Diane Lane did their fight scene themselves, with the exception of a headbutt that was done by a stuntwoman.
  • Promoted Fanboy: Director Danny Cannon was a huge fan of the comics. He even entered a competition to design a Judge Dredd movie poster.
  • Recursive Adaptation: The film received two comic adaptations, one drawn by Carlos Ezquerra and the other by Ron Smith. In the former case, Dredd was drawn as Stallone, but with the latter, Ron Smith was told by Stallone's agent that if he were to depict Stallone that he would have to pay royalties, leading to the amusing situation of Dredd being drawn to resemble Arnold Schwarzenegger instead. There was also a fortnightly publication titled Judge Dredd: Lawman Of The Future featuring a Lighter and Softer version of Dredd loosely based on the movie as a sort of series of sequels.
  • Saved from Development Hell: There were plans to make this film years earlier, except RoboCop (1987) got made first.
  • Scully Box: Inverted in one scene where it's to make the 5'9" tall Sylvester Stallone tower over the young recruits.
  • Shoot the Money: Despite one of Dredd's most famous traits being that he has never taken off his helmet or shown his face (At least not when he wasn't disguised, injured or bandaged to the point where you can't actually see his face) in the more than 30-year history of the comic, the producers were paying for a big name star so Stallone went helmetless about 20 minutes into the movie and stayed that way.
  • Throw It In: Rob Schneider's impression of Stallone on the ship to the penal colony was improvised.
  • Uncredited Role:
    • James Remar makes an uncredited appearance as the Block Warlord in the opening sequence.
    • Adrienne Barbeau voices the Central Computer, but is also uncredited.
  • Wag the Director: Danny Cannon was apparently not allowed on the set for the post-production reshoots. He later claimed that the crew looked to Stallone for guidance and his job was to just yell "action" and "cut".
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Renny Harlin and Richard Donner were the first choices for director. The Coen Brothers were offered the director's chair but turned it down. They chose to make Fargo instead. Richard Stanley was also asked, as his directorial debut Hardware (1990) was also based on a 2000 AD comic.
    • Arnold Schwarzenegger was interested in playing Dredd. Of course, he probably would have been a poorer choice than Stallone.
    • Joe Pesci was considered for the role of Fergie.
    • Christopher Walken turned down the role of Rico. Michael Ironside was also considered.
    • At first, the villain for this movie was going to be Judge Death, but it was too expensive to create his skeleton body, and Rico had more to do with Dredd's past.
    • Jerry Goldsmith was originally scheduled to score the film, but due to scheduling problems had to drop out. However, as a favor to the producers, he wrote an original score for the film's original teaser trailer that has since been used on a number of other trailers. David Arnold was originally hired to replace him, but was himself replaced by Alan Silvestri because the producers felt he was too closely allied to director Danny Cannon.

From the pinball table: