It’s been more than a year and a half since we first reported that a new movie featuring Riddick, the badass monster-slaying criminal with excellent night vision first played by Vin Diesel in the 2000 sci-fi/horror hit Pitch Black, was going ahead with Diesel once more starring and David Twohy, the writer and director of Pitch Black and its big-budget 2004 sequel The Chronicles of Riddick, back on scripting and directing duties (you can read about that HERE). The movie will be titled simply Riddick and will reportedly be smaller in scale than Chronicles and feature the character doing what he does best: kicking all kinds of ass while saying very little.
The Chronicles of Riddick was intended to be the start of a new trilogy for the character as he ventured into the realm of dark fantasy as opposed to the B-movie creature feature style of Pitch Black, but Universal Pictures put any plans for future sequels on hold when the movie only grossed back $57 million of its reported $110 million budget. Undeterred by this development Twohy and Diesel have persisted in bringing a new Riddick movie to the big screen over the years; in that time Diesel has found success with the Fast and the Furious franchise and Twohy has directed A Perfect Getaway.
Meanwhile, the Riddick character has stayed visible through a series of successful video games and both Pitch Black and Chronicles have sold extremely well on DVD and are played on cable television every so often. The character also appeared in a 2004 direct-to-video animated feature called Dark Fury, which provided a link between Pitch Black and Chronicles and was directed by Aeon Flux creator Peter Chung.
Riddick is being financed independently and just recently the film began casting for the crucial supporting roles. Anne McCarthy, the casting director on the first two Riddick movies among many others, will be overseeing the casting once again. At the moment they’re working on casting four roles: Boss Johns, who according to a spoiler-laden script review over at Moviehole is the father of the cold-blooded bounty hunter who met a violent end played by Cole Hauser in Pitch Black; Santana, Johns’ vicious, machete-wielding subordinate; Dahl, a sexy female Merc (mercenary); and Krone, described as a “smug commander.”
The plot of Riddick will find the titular criminal once more on the run from mercenaries who want the hefty reward his hide will bring who once again ends up on a planet teeming with unfriendly alien beasts. The beginning of the story will likely tie into the ending of Chronicles and feature cameos from characters who have appeared in the previous films.
I’ve always loved Pitch Black, and despite its glaring flaws in story and execution The Chronicles of Riddick is a movie I can watch any time. I can see what Twohy and Diesel were trying to do with Chronicles, it’s just that they failed in striking a balance between the brutal action that Pitch Black had plenty of and the more grandiose fantasy elements they were trying to bring to Riddick’s story. Still it’s a good flick with more ambition and originality than most genre blockbusters and the ending of Chronicles floored me from the first movie I saw it in theaters. I immediately wanted a sequel and even though Riddick will not follow through with the grander plans Twohy and Diesel originally had for the character it sounds like it will be a fantastic sc-fi/horror/action hybrid. I can’t wait to see it.