Arriving in theaters later this year, Lionsgate's Dredd re-adapts the "Judge Dredd" comic from the pages of "2000 A.D." with Karl Urban donning the iconic helmet, starring alongside Olivia Thirlby as Judge Anderson. Today, The L.A. Times spoke with John Wagner who, in 1977, created the character alongside artist Carlos Ezquerra.
"'Dredd' homes in on the essential job of judging," says Wagner of the new film's plot. "Instant justice in a violent future city... 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."
The previous take on the property hit theaters in 1995 and featured Sylvester Stallone in the lead. That version was neither a critical nor box office success, but Wagner promises that the upcoming film won't make the same mistakes.
"My views haven’t changed," he explains, "though apart from my initial viewing I haven’t seen the film since it came out. They told the wrong story. It didn’t have that much to do with Dredd the character as we know him. 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."
Optimistic about the cast of the new version, Wagner says that Dredd will stay true to his creation.
"I like the actors," he says. "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 costar."
Dredd hits theaters in 2D and 3D on September 21st.