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Fan-Casting The JUDGE DREDD: MEGA-CITY ONE TV Show

Fan-Casting The JUDGE DREDD: MEGA-CITY ONE TV Show

With the future’s toughest lawman coming to TV in Judge Dredd: Mega-City One, fans everywhere are beyond psyched for hardcore live-action judgement. However, since the show is in its early stages, no specific announcements have been made yet, that’s not stopped Judge Dredd fans from suggesting, speculating, and begging in hopes of seeing their favorite actors bring the comic to life.

Naturally, we couldn’t resist joining in. Here are our picks for the actors we’d most like to see blasting their way through post-apocalyptic urban America.

Starting with…

KARL URBAN AS JUDGE DREDD

Obvious? Sure. But after Urban’s impressive turn in the 2012 Dredd movie, it’s hard to imagine any other actor under the helmet. He’s got the grimness, the gravitas, the willingness to keep his face hidden—unlike some people (*cough*Stallone*cough*)—and, perhaps most importantly, the ability to make the absurd seem plausible. Mega-City One is a bizarre place where an orangutan can be mayor and rearranging your face for maximum hideousness is the hottest trend.  We need a lead actor who can encourage viewers to embrace the weirdness while he shoots perps in the face, and Karl Urban is it.

GILLIAN JACOBS AS JUDGE ANDERSON

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One of the Justice Department’s most powerful psychics and a sharp, irreverent foil to Judge Dredd, Judge Cassandra Anderson can be a tricky character to get right. You need someone who can come across as extremely skilled yet ready to crack a joke at the most inappropriate times, and who can project the vibe that her nonchalance stems at least partially from a coping mechanism masking some real trauma. Hence Gillian Jacobs, best known as Community‘s Britta Perry.

Provided she’s working from a strong script, Jacobs could convincingly stage a hostile takeover of the criminal brain while battling the worst scum of the undercity and dropping slick one-liners.

MING-NA WEN AS (CHIEF) JUDGE HERSHEY

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Mega-City One might be a fascist dystopian hellscape, but it’s an equal-opportunity fascist dystopian hellscape. There should be Judges of color wandering the Hall of Justice—and what better place to start than at the top?

Chief Judge Barbara Hershey, current head of the Justice Department, is an underrated but pretty awesome character. She started out as Dredd’s subordinate and worked her way up the ranks until she was in charge of Mega-City One’s entire legal system. Achieving that kind of seniority takes ambition, pragmatism, and the psychological fortitude to solve ethically impossible decisions in the midst of disaster. If you’re looking for an actress to pull all that off, look no further than Ming-Na Wen.

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Her time in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. proves that she can play a character who knows doing the right thing often entails doing something horrifically wrong first, and that she can lend believability to even the most outlandish scenarios. Plus, she’s classy as hell.

THE VILLAINS

Even the most dedicated Judge is nothing without criminals to fight. Luckily, Mega-City One is full of them.

CLARK GREGG AS MAYOR AMBROSE/PJ MAYBE

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Byron Ambrose is Mega-City One’s most popular mayor in living memory. He does charity work in his spare time. The citizens adore him. Oh, and he’s secretly a serial killer. He’s actually a guy called PJ Maybe, who started murdering people at the age of 13 and never really stopped. PJ grew up to kill the real Mayor Ambrose and steal his identity, becoming the most effective political leader the city’s ever had in the process.

As any serial-killing mayoral candidate will tell you, the most important weapon is a trustworthy facade. If you come off as sketchy or psychopathic, you can say goodbye to the public vote (further proof that Judge Dredd world is fictional, to be honest). Clark Gregg has the perfect face for this:

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A guy like that could say that the horrific screams coming from his basement were just the plumbing, and you’d believe him. Bonus: viewers who know him as Agent Coulson will get even more of a jolt the first time they see his collection of murder paraphernalia.

ARMIE HAMMER AS JUDGE CAL

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Judge Cal is a totally fictional megalomaniac who, during his brief time in charge of the Justice Department, fires Judges for insufficient butt-kissing, executes innocent citizens because he’s bored, and depletes government resources by building a mile-high wall around Mega-City One. Again, totally fictional. That would never happen in real life!

Cal may be evil, but he’s also meant to be classically handsome, so we need an actor who does the whole square-jawed/imposing thing and isn’t afraid to get weird.

As he demonstrated in the comedic shoot-out Free Fire, Armie Hammer is more than ready to be ridiculous. His deadpan delivery and physical reactions were on point, and he was holding his own against Michael Smiley and Sharlto Copley’s character acting, which is no small feat. Based on that, there’s a good chance he could make it work as the worst–but most entertaining–Chief Judge of Mega-City One.

MARK HAMILL AS JUDGE DEATH

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Say it with me, Judge Dredd fans: THE CRIME ISSSS LIFE! Judge Death is maybe the comic’s best-known villain, so he’s got to be done right. The leader of the Dark Judges, law enforcers from an alternate dimension where life itself is a crime, Judge Death intermittently pops into Mega-City One to wreak havoc on as many people as possible.

Getting a walking corpse on screen isn’t that hard these days—Find an actor some prosthetics and you’re good to go. But you have to nail the voice, and when it comes to doing voices for creepy evildoers, Mark Hamill is the ultimate. In Batman: The Animated Series, he did the Joker laugh against which all other Joker laughs are measured; bringing that same talent to Judge Dredd: Mega-City One as Judge Death would create another terrifying villain to haunt a new generation’s nightmares.

Who else do you want to see judging the guilty or breaking the law in Mega-City One? Let us know in the comments!

Images: 2000AD; Tumblr/Technoir, The Diary of Laura Palmer; Giphy/A24; Flickr/Sergei, Gage Skidmore; Rebellion Developments

Did you know that Adam Savage once went to SDCC as Judge Dredd? Check it out here:

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