Rumors: 'Dredd' & 'Prometheus' Sci-Fi Sequels Stalled in Development
Prometheus, we have a problem. Though the news stories about both of these projects are separate, they're coincidentally worth discussing together with the same issue - they're both R-rated sci-fi movies from 2012, which anyone in Hollywood will tell you is a very hard sell. While we heard in February from Prometheus star Noomi Rapace that a sequel was still in active development, there's a story on another site today about how the project is in big trouble, and the studio is "freaking out". Additionally, a producer on the Karl Urban Dredd last year mentioned in a Reddit AMA recently that there isn't much hope for a sequel at this point.
I'm a very big fan of Dredd, and most of the sci-fi films from 2012, even Prometheus despite story problems. I'd love to see them make a sequel and continue the story with another one, answering more questions, but apparently that's exactly the trouble. Our friends at Bloody-Disgusting have posted a scoop today about Prometheus stating that the studio is "freaking out" about developing the sequel, mostly because writer Damon Lindelof left. Their story reveals details about how Fox apparently hired Lindelof as a bigger name to "clean up" the script since they "didn't trust screenwriter Jon Spaihts enough". They explain where it's at:
"Lindelof transformed Prometheus into a 'trilogy', thus stripping the first film's conclusion of any meaning and setting Ridley and Fox up for disaster. This disaster was perpetuated when Lindelof announced he wouldn't be penning the sequel. So, in short, the guy who convinced the filmmakers to make a trilogy, left them in the dust…
Sources close to the sequel have told Bloody Disgusting that the studio and Scott are literally 'freaking out' over how to continue the story of Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace), and are taking pitches from basically anyone who can crack the story*. While a sequel is nearly inevitable, it definitely puts it in flux, and in a state of jeopardy."
They made sure to add that, "We expect everyone surrounding the project to deny this story. That's standard procedure. Don't believe 'em." Which is why all of this is just a rumor, and anything could happen. They could find a new writer tomorrow, get an idea, and cover this all up by the end of the week. Same thing with Dredd - production could come together, the studio could find some money or independent financiers, and we could get a sequel in a few years. Speaking of Dredd, why is it in trouble? Well, it just didn't perform that well at the box office - barely earning ~$35 million globally on a $50 million (really?) budget. That, combined with other mediocre R-rated sci-fi/thriller performers, means it's struggling to get going as well.
Thanks to a tip via Live for Films, producer Adi Shankar mentioned a few key quotes during his Reddit Ask-Me-Anything session. One of the first questions he was asked: "I loved Dredd. Will it have a sequel?" His answer: "Probably not. But I am working on a Dredd short in the vein of #DirtyLaundry … you're actually the first person to know about this." He goes on to answer / explain a few details during the AMA:
Thank you. If DREDD becomes a cult hit it will be awesome. Last September was a terrible month … DREDD bombed and then LOOPER became a massive hit a week later!
Nothing against LOOPER! I think Rian Johnson is a genius and I think Joseph Gordon Levitt will become his generation's Matt Damon. Ram Bergman, the movie's real producer, is one of the nicest guys in Hollywood. I would tell you how I really felt about the movie's financier James D. Stern but I think I'd get into trouble … However, most importantly I loved watching Looper.
"I saw it in theaters because I heard it was gritty and violent." I wish more movie goers said that.
I agree with you on the deserving a trilogy part … well at least I'm working on a Dredd short …
it's because the movie totally bombed & R-rated movies are a tough sell to begin with.
the problem is a scifi project is intrinsically more expensive that a walking & talking movie … Veronica Mars only raised $2mil … which is a lot of money but not nearly enough to make a good sci-fi movie.
For his full comments and the discussions, visit Reddit. Any other time someone would ask him about a sequel, he would just answer with "I'm making a Dredd short film." So it sounds like, at the moment, no Dredd sequel, but definitely a Dredd short film ("in the vein of #DirtyLaundry" - Thomas Jane's short which you can watch here). This is unfortunate news to hear for both projects, because I really wanted to see sequels from both of these. But, again, as every exec in Hollywood will tell you, "R-rated movies are a tough sell to begin with." It's hard to get audiences into the theater, and even if you do, they may hate the movie.
We don't expect to hear updates or clarification on any of this, but unfortunately it sounds like both of these sci-fi sequels are off the table for now, unless something happens. It's very like Fox is trying to find someone who can develop a take on a Prometheus sequel, and when/if that happens, they'll probably move forward.
Update! There's more on Prometheus that we felt was worth adding, since it comes straight from one of the people called out - Damon Lindelof. The writer/producer/showrunner engaged in a conversation with SlashFilm today about the exact article above, and wrote them a nice email explaining the entire situation, at least from his perspective. "I did not map out a trilogy and then walk when the going got tough. Anyone who says otherwise doesn't know me and doesn't know the truth." He explains why he left before the sequel:
"After the movie came out and discussions began about a possible sequel, I was already neck deep in writing and producing TOMORROWLAND with Brad Bird. I have found, unfortunately, that if I take on too many projects at one time, there is a higher probability of those projects sucking. And contrary to popular belief, I do not want anything I work on to suck. I really don't. I care about these stories deeply — not just as a writer, but as a fan. It might not always feel that way to the audience, but I swear to God it is true. It also so happens that Ridley was about to embark on directing his next movie, THE COUNSELOR, and had another one, CHILD 44 lined up right behind it. The conclusion was obvious — In the best interest of the franchise, it was best to take myself out of the running before I had to suffer the embarrassment of potentially not even being offered it."
For the rest from Lindelof, including about production and early work on the first Prometheus script with Spaihts, see SlashFilm. "More importantly, the idea that there aren't many, MANY writers out there capable of taking the reins is sort of ridiculous," he says. "As to whether Ridley and Fox are 'freaking out' about me not working on a sequel, well that's news to me. I retain awesome relationships with both." Indeed, so be it.