Just a week shy of 10 years ago, an inventive little sci-fi flick slipped into theaters called "Pitch Black." The story focuses on a group of interstellar travelers who are marooned on a sun-baked planet after their passenger liner crash lands. The bulk of the story follows on their attempts to escape, but nothing in that movie stands out more than the character of Richard B. Riddick, played by Vin Diesel. Although he's framed as a notorious killer, Riddick won audiences over for his badass attitude and his narrow-yet-just outlook. It's not that he's an evil man; he just recognizes the realities of living in a hard universe.
The character was so popular that writer/director David Twohy conceived a spin-off, "The Chronicles of Riddick," which was meant to be a trilogy. Although it led to an exceptional video game, prequel "Escape from Butcher Bay," the first "Chronicles" failed to excite audiences in the way that "Pitch Black" did. Fans still got a deeper glimpse into the universe however, and they were left wanting when the story never continued. Until now, that is.
Universal has given the go-ahead for a third movie in the series, with Twohy returning to write and direct and Diesel reprising his Riddick role. The players aren't quite ready to start talking plot points, but Variety reports that the tone of the movie will fall closer to "Pitch Black" than "Chronicles," and that the focus will be on Riddick rather than the larger universe he lives in, according to insiders.
Which is... interesting. Anyone who saw "Chronicles" knows that *SPOILER ALERT* it ends with Diesel's Riddick assuming his role as king of the galaxy's most fearsome group of aggressors since the Borg of "Star Trek." It'll be interesting to see how Twohy writes the character out of that particular corner. Perhaps the coming next chapter will be a prequel. Or maybe Riddick will decide that the people he leads are worthless, and so he'll slice & dice them with those badass blades of his.
Frankly, it doesn't matter to me. As a fan of the series, and of the combined talents of Twohy and Diesel, I'm definitely looking forward to exploring Riddick's exploits once again. Last year's "Assault on Dark Athena" video game was little more than a tease; it only served to remind fans that there's still plenty more story to be told for the shiny-eyed killer.
The only potential snag to work around is Diesel's involvement in the next "Fast and Furious" movie, which was confirmed just last week. It looks like this is going to happen though, so prepare yourselves, fellow "Riddick" fans.
Are you a fan of the "Riddick" series? Where in the timeline would you like to see the story fall?