(Pocket-lint) - We will soon see Judge Dredd return to our screens, through a new TV series.
After years of rumours and speculation, it has been confirmed that Judge Dredd: Mega-City One is in development.
It's something we've been following for a while. 2000 AD owner and publisher Rebellion spoke to us about the possibility of the comic's licences making it to TV regularly over the last year, telling Pocket-lint the company was "strongly moving in that direction".
So, based on conversations we've had with Rebellion and rumoured details from elsewhere, here is what we know about the Judge Dredd TV show and other possible 2000 AD characters making their way to the big or small screen.
Judge Dredd: Mega-City One: What is it?
Ever since Dredd 3D graced our cinema screens in 2012 there have been calls for a sequel. A petition was even created by 2000 AD and Rebellion to bring the rebooted movie version of Judge Dredd back for another outing.
Then last year, it was suggested that while a new film is still being explored, a Dredd TV series was also being discussed, with rumours suggesting interest from Netflix, Amazon and HBO. Original star Karl Urban even said that he'd like to don the helmet again on TV or film.
Those rumours were stoked further during Denver Comic Con in the summer of 2016, when Urban hinted that Dredd 2 was in development. But the Star Trek actor subsequently clarified on Twitter that wasn't quite the case: "Unfortunately a sequel is no closer to happening," he wrote on 22 June. "Options have been discussed but there is no sequel in development."
Dredd update : Unfortunately a sequel is no closer to happening , options have been discussed but there is no sequel in " development " .— Karl Urban (@KarlUrban) June 22, 2016
At the same time, Pocket-lint learned that talks about a Dredd sequel and/or a full Dredd TV series were ongoing. Rebellion co-founder and CEO Jason Kingsley revealed as much during E3 2016. Something he reiterated in February 2017, when we spoke to him again.
On 10 May, Rebellion released a statement confirming Judge Dredd: Mega-City One, a TV series that has started in the early stages of development.
No actors, Urban included, have been attached to the project yet - they will be "announced at a later date". However, producers and executive producers were announced, including Jason and Chris Kingsley from Rebellion, and Mark Stern and Stuart Ford from IM Global Television. The former was responsible for developing the relaunched Battlestar Galactica, Helix and Defiance.
A network or streaming service, such as Netflix or Amazon Video, is expected to run the first season, but is yet to be revealed.
Judge Dredd: Mega-City One: Other 2000 AD shows?
As well as head the development of games like Sniper Elite 4 and Battlezone, Jason Kingsley had approval over many of the props and details during the filming of Dredd 3D, so was a pivotal figure in the film's genesis and creation. He is also among those with final approval over any future use of 2000 AD licences.
When we chatted with him in February 2017, on the eve of the launch of Sniper Elite 4 for Xbox One, PS4 and PC, not only did he talk about plans for a Dredd TV show, he also spoke about other 2000 AD properties and the potential of expanding their reach beyond the comic.
"Nothing has been announced yet but we are very, very keen on doing more with the huge depth of 2000 AD licences that we’ve got," he told us.
"We have to work out how to get more, cool 2000 AD stuff out to the marketplace. And hopefully, later on this year, that will be something we’ll be talking about in a bit more detail."
It was partly tempting to make an announcement during 2000 AD's 40th anniversary celebrations in February, we were told, but was never likely to happen.
"Practically speaking, these things are very hard to time. There are always things bubbling around in the background and if things had happened naturally, at the right time, then we’d have held back an announcement to coincide with the 40th anniversary," said Kingsley.
"It hasn’t been that way though and we didn’t want to force that."
Judge Dredd: Mega-City One: Release date
Although the TV series has now been confirmed, it is still early in development - actors and a broadcast partner haven't even been attached to the project yet. However, we do know why Rebellion is taking its sweet time. It's a very good reason.
The company rightfully insists that, whoever takes on Judge Dredd or any other 2000 AD licence, they show it respect and do it right.
"As a reader of 2000 AD, I want there to be more games, films and TV shows. But these things are quite hard to do right," said Kingsley.
"Quite a lot of people want to work with us on our brands, but if you don’t control it, you’ll get rubbish. I don’t want a bad television series to come out. I don’t want a bad movie to come out. I don’t want a bad game. So we’re being a bit cautious about who we work with and how we get things to the market.
"I do get asked it a lot and there will be 2000 AD fans asking for more, but the simple answer is that we want to be careful. We have to do the brand justice. Just like we did with the Dredd movie with DNA. Those guys did a fantastic job and it was a critically well-acclaimed movie.
"When you’re doing licensed work, you need creativity but it has to be firmly set within the boundaries of what the brand is. For example, with Judge Dredd, we must never see his upper face. That’s part of the brand. If we were going to do something with Rogue Trooper, he has to be blue, because that’s what he is."
Hear hear! We do not want another Stallone Judge Dredd, that's for sure.
Judge Dredd: Mega-City One: Storylines
It's too early to discuss what will happen in the TV series. However, Kingsley previously told us, during E3 2016, why he thought a TV run would be better, perhaps, than a Dredd 2 movie sequel.
"Dredd's world deserves a TV show. Several probably. Several box sets, actually. Six at least," he partly joked.
"You could tell so many stories. There are so many brilliant epics. You could imagine one series of Dredd doing another Cursed Earth run."
One thing's for sure, Rebellion itself is directly involved in production and the storylines chosen, so they will be faithful to 2000 AD. Producer Brian Jenkins even works in the 2000 AD offices full time.
Judge Dredd: Mega-City One: Cast
No actors have been attached to the TV show yet but Kingsley also told us in June last year that, should Judge Dredd come back to our screens, big or small, Urban is still his first choice to be the lead.
"Karl's a great guy, we know him well," he said.
"He's a big 2000 AD fan - a genuine 2000 AD fan. People say they're a 2000 AD fan but you ask them about details and they start to go all twitchy. Karl though is genuine. I think he brought that to the character, his childhood interpretation of it."
Anyone who's seen Dredd 3D will agree. As for the rest of the cast, we'll bring you more as details are released.
Hopefully that won't be too long now.