If it’s any consolation to fans of the Dredd franchise, particularly of the 2012 Pete Travis film, some of its principal players want to make a sequel happen as much an uphill battle it is right now. Actress Olivia Thirlby, who played rookie judge and psychic Anderson, joined star Karl Urban, who played the title character, in expressing her desire to go back into the world and reprise her role. Speaking with Collider while promoting her FX series Y: The Last Man, Thirbly opened up about what happened in the 2012 film, how she would explore Anderson again, and what it would take to come back.
Urban credited writer Alex Garland as the creative force, calling him the “actual director” behind the film based on the John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra comic. Thirlby also echoed similar praise. “I just also have to take a second and shout out Alex Garland because the Anderson that he wrote was so thoughtful and sensitive and nuanced and empowered and powerful, not because she was trying to be Dredd or be like a man, but because she was exactly herself and that journey of her finding herself and her true strength is what I love so much about that movie and what I felt like, as an actor, it was so meaty to lean into that role,” she said.
In the 2012 film, Anderson and Dredd were trapped at a high rise at Mega City One, controlled by the drug lord Ma-Ma (Lena Headey), doing everything she could to eliminate the judges even to the point of massacring the residents caught in the crossfire. At the end of the film, Anderson hands her badge in, knowing she was being evaluated, presumably resigning her position. “What that gesture is about at the end, she’s bowing out of her ambition,” Thirlby said. “She’s bowing out of a drive that she had to be an A student, to be perfect and to be the one who’s doing it right. I think she’s learned that the world is way too messy for her to have a personal investment in being shiny and important and in control. Whatever that would yield for her in her journey as a person, maybe her journey as a judge, I couldn’t say. That would have to be in the mind of whomever was telling her story onward. But I would like to think that she would continue being a judge.” As far as Anderson’s future and where Thirlby wants to go, “If we’re gonna talk about a sequel to Dredd, we have to also whisper to the gods of the film universe that Alex Garland be part of that.”