Karl Urban as Judge Dredd: Confirmed

Remember the What is Burn Notice sketch? I feel a little like that with Judge Dredd, and most Americans know less than I do.  "You mean that movie with Stallone and Wesley Snipes?" "No, that was Demolition Man. Judge Dredd was the other one." "Oh, right."


Americans didn't know or care that Judge Dredd was a comic book, and since the US is the bellweather for "box office success," a new Judge Dredd has a stumbling point. Regardless, the geek contingent is pretty excited that Éomer himself, Karl Urban is going to don the helmet.

There is a large country across an ocean from where I type, where I'm sure this is very exciting news.  I'm sure that having Stallone play Dredd was fine, but it might have felt a little like Keanu Reeves playing John Constantine, which I constantly remind myself that they actually did.  Urban, on the other hand, feels like he should be a box office draw, but he simply isn't, with a string of b-movies under his belt, and very little name recognition outside of people who read sites like these, and understand jokes about Richard Taylor.

In case you don't know, and it's very likely you don't, Judge Dredd is an immensely popular comic book character from the UK, from the pages of 2000 A.D. (the fact that he's an anthology character is weird for Americans too, I think.) He was created by writer John Wagner and artist Carlos Ezquerra in 1977.  American comic fans might know John Wagner from A History of Violence, and Ezquerra from Preacher, and multiple team ups with Garth Ennis in other stories.

Despite popular worry, they're not going to stop making movies from comic books, regardless of what happens at the box office for Scott Pilgrim Vs. The Universe. Then again, maybe they should cast Stallone in Dredd again, just to be sure.


  1. " very little name recognition outside of people who read sites like these, and understand jokes about Richard Taylor."

    love it. 

  2. This guy played Julius Ceasar…..In Xena???

  3. I will do Richard Taylor jokes until the sun comes up.

  4. Well urban was obviously rather awesome in Star Trek which was a massive box office hit, he’s also going to be in RED which features an all star cast and is going to be a big hit for comic book fans.

    Judge Dredd is a lot bigger in the USA then I think you are giving credit for – the big runs on the series, especially the stuff from Wagner, were massive influences to American comic book writers that ever took an interest in writing action. The Apocalypse War and Block War stories, found in "Judge Dredd: Case Files 5",  is well worth a read for anyone who has an interest in reading two of the most ass kicking stories ever writen!


  5. @josh  thats why we love you

     I really hope Dredd has a badass English accent as thats how i always read him. When stallone played him it looked right but sounded awful. I imagine him sounding a bit like a younger Bob Hoskins after a rough day.

  6. Influences on writers is not the same as audience recognition. Not even close. Of course comics creators know it, but if this was a post on a Green Lantern casting, it’d have 30 replies by now.

    And again, Urban has little name recognition.

    "Karl Urban"


    "That guy with the long hair from Lord of the Rings."


    "OK, fine, he was Bones McCoy in Star Trek."

    "Which one was that?"

    "The doctor."

    "Oh, right. What’s his name again?"

    "Karl Urban."

    "Has he been in anything else?"

    And so on.

  7. @Josh

    and I will keep laughing. 

  8. "He was in Doom!"

    "Oh, The Rock"

    "No the other guy, the one who looks like a regular guy."

    "Wait, what?"

  9. I had no idea they were making a Judge Dredd movie again.  I vaguely remember the Stallone one.  Right script, right actor, right director, etc., anything could be surprisingly good.  Maybe this will be one of them?

  10. The chief problem with Stallone playing Dredd was taking the helmet off. At that moment it became a Stallone movie – and not a Dredd movie. In the comics even when Dredd was stripped of his position and uniform his face was permanently shown in shadow…

    The second problem is that with the sheer wealth of widescreen sci-fi concepts Judge Dredd is just MADE for movies. But you shouldn’t try to ram ALL of them into ONE movie, as the had a good go at in the 90s… 😉

    I have far more hope for this movie. I think it could be an understated hit. Fingers crossed.

  11. Seems like a good fit.

  12. Never noticed this before, but what’s up Judge Dredd’s boots?  Are there individual compartments for each of his toes, like finger holes in a glove?  And here I have been wearing boot mittens all my life and never knew it!

  13. I’d rather see an animated version of this, in the style of the old Heavy Metal movie, but good. 

  14. Karl’s Australian isn’t he? His accent slipped quite a few times during Star Trek. Hoping he can maintain an English accent a little better!

  15. @cheezdog – Dredd is thoroughly American.

  16. The best Dredd movie has already been made – Robocop! Great film but almost a total rip off of Dredd an his world.
    Plus I think Karl Urban is a good choice as a relatively unknown.

  17. @SamMorgan Of course, sorry I was thinking of John Constantine.

  18. I can see Karl doing a good job in this role.

  19. "Karl Urban is Judge Dredd.  How cool is that?"

    "Is that the country singer?"

    "No, he was Bones McCoy in Star Trek"


    "The guy that wasn’t Spock or Kirk"

    "Ya, he was pretty good, Why does he have a court show?

  20. So am I the only here that actually liked the Stallone Judge Dredd film? I mean it definitely isn’t a smart or sophisticated film by any means, but as a big dumb violent film its a lot of fun. Maybe Im just a sucker for the cyberpunk visuals, the cheesy one liners, the over the top violence, and never quite understanding what the hell Stallone is yelling about.

    Also, I thought Judge Dredd was SUPPOSED to be American? Yes its published in the UK but Mega City is in the U.S. isnt it?

  21. How is this going to effect his country music career?

  22. @seNoj1 – slow clap. Well played ellipses.

  23. That’ll teach me to wait three hours and then not reading the whole comment thread before posting my awesome joke.

  24. Loser.

  25. Indeed.

    But seriously, who is Judge Dredd?

  26. I’m really very much laughing to myself right now.

  27. @ Sam Morgan Robocop was actually intended to be Judge Dredd the movie but there was a problem with the film rights to the character so eventually the producers just decided to change various details in the script and so it became Robocop. I’m always surprised that comics fans in the US seem to have little time for or knowledge of Dredd and 2000ad in general. A lot of the guys that are heralded as leaders in the genre at the moment cut there teeth on 2000ad, that alone should bring the Uk comics to American comic fans attention. That it doesn’t baffles me.

  28. @DarkKnightDetective

    Yup, Dredd is American. Or at least wjat passes as American in this future timeline. In that Post Apocalyptic world most of North America is a Nuclear wasteland. The Megacities, in which Dredd resides in Megacity One, are built on what remains of the larger US cities. America as we know it has mostly gone, with only a nod to the US Eagle on the Judges’ armour as a sign of what once was. The Judges keep peace in the chaos that remains.

    There are some British judges, across the Atlantic in ‘Brit-Cit’, but the main Dredd stories all take place on US soil.

  29. I want Judge Death.

  30. I’d like to point out Judge Dredd has the American flag on his belt buckle. Take a look, folks.

    I’m pumped as hell for this movie, Karl Urban isn’t my first choice but he’s a solid one, and from interviews sounds like he’s a fan who’s happy to keep the helmet on.

    (Read Judge Dredd’s adventures weekly in 2000AD and monthly in the Judge Dredd Megazine).

  31. "There is a large country across an ocean…" 

    Uh, have you seen New Zealand on a map? We’re not that big.

    @cheezdog: Karl’s a Kiwi, not an Aussie.  

  32. Besides, big name star usually doesn’t equal good scifi. Karl may not have made big movies but he’s solid.

  33. @DarkKnightDetective I like the Stallone movie. I know it is bad but I like it unabashedly and actually quite a lot.

     I’ve been waiting on news for this movie. I’m thrilled they are making another and I think Karl Urban is an interesting, kinda unexpected, choice. The more I think on it, the more I like it. And I kinda feel people do know who he is, maybe not by name but I know lots of people who recognized "New McCoy" in the RED prevue. 

  34. Only if there was a character like Clint Eastwood who could be Judge Dredd