Riddick Returns (?)

Followers of this blog know that I have more than a passing interest in the Riddick franchise, so it’s great to see that the third Riddick movie (tentatively titled Dead Man Stalking) seems to be picking up momentum, with io9 featuring some cool concept art earlier this month. Shooting remains more than a year away, so it’s way too early to count chickens (or scalps), but director David Twohy’s overall plan looks like a good one:  fuck space opera, and go back to the Pitch Black basics. For one thing, he can no longer afford the sweeping galactic vistas that characterized second movie (and box office bomb) Chronicles, and for another thing, the Riddick character thrives on a particularly brutal kind of stripped-down minimalism.

The big challenge, of course, is how to do this without dishing up a clone of Pitch Black.  Twohy seems to have opted for a First Blood-type approach in which Riddick ges hunted by mercenaries on a deathtrap of a planet, and naturally turns the tables on them (a longer, meaner version of the first five minutes of Chronicles, perhaps).   Savvy marketer that he is, he’s been pitching the new project as building on Pitch Black the same way that Road Warrior built on Mad Max.  That’s certainly got my attention. . . just as I’m suspecting the home video numbers—and the continued ascension of the Riddick franchise to cult status—has gotten investor attention, and allowed Twohy to get this close to resurrecting one of the most memorable characters to ever hit SF moviedom.  Fingers crossed that Twohy succeeds in dumping Riddick in a whole new world of hurt.

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12 Responses to “Riddick Returns (?)”

  1. Andrew Says:

    I was very thrilled to see that they’re pushing on with the trilogy: the rough plot for this one sounds very cool.

  2. AlexJCavanaugh Says:

    I’m a big fan of the first movie and felt the second one certainly lacked. If Twohy returns to the roots of what made the character so great, then the third movie holds promise. After the second one bombed, I really didn’t expect to see another!

  3. Erik Says:

    So far everything is sounding like it’s on the right path to be an awesome new Riddick flick. Hopefully nothing derails that. There have been plenty of ‘it sounds great on paper’ sci-fi movies that turned into steaming piles.. such as AvP. Speaking of, the new Predators movie coming soon looks promising. I can’t believe it has taken 20 years to get an honest to god new Predator film. Fingers crossed that it lives up to the original 2.

  4. David Williams Says:

    Personally, I really liked the second one, but it was definitely a bridge too far with finding its voice in the market. I respected Chronicles for NOT being a Pitch Black clone . . . for trying to expand the canvas.

    But I really like the direction it sounds like Twohy’s taking this in now . . . if Rodriguez’ Predator is a huge hit (which seems likely), Riddick might be poised to really clean up.

  5. jW Says:

    Pitch Black had the novelty low-budget surprise factor going for it. I don’t know what people expected or wanted Chronicles to be, but apparently it failed to deliver.

    Let’s get real here: Pitch Black wasn’t exactly King Lear…a pretty basic monster in the dark movie where Riddick was a murderer in survival mode for like 99.9% of the film, and he reclaims a portion of his humanity in the last 5 minutes.

    So what in the world were people missing from the sequel? More monsters in the dark? Maybe more intense interpersonal conflict? Riddick turned prison life-coach, forced to kill again because nurse Ratched lobotomized his favorite mentee? All I know is a bad-ass vs army of planet-killing psycho-cultists was good enough for me.

  6. David Williams Says:

    JW: call me a philistine (and many do), but I’d rather watch Pitch Black then King Lear anyday. .. .

    But I think you raise a good point. I’m personally a lot more bullish on Chronicles than most– I thought it was a cool story with some gorgeous set-pieces . . . I honestly kinda think if they’d kept the original Riddick-as-noble-savage set-up rather than delve into the astral/supernatural, the movie might have resonated more with the mainstream. And maybe the core SF audience too.

    Convert now or fall forever….

  7. Erik Says:

    Almost all the complaints I have ever heard boil down to about 3 things. Least important would probably be the naming used was about as generic as can. Furyans, Aerions and Necromongers. By themselves they don’t seem to bad written out there, but when you match them up with characters it’s almost cheap to be honest. “Oooh the elemental that can turn to air.. we’ll name her race Aerions”.

    Part 2 would definitely be the supernatural element. I think most people would say that Pitch Black conveyed a sense of realism in many ways. That all got thrown out the window in the sequel. Now we have elementals, bad guys that can warp around the room, and Riddick’s eyeshine is now just a racial byproduct instead of this great prison story.

    And finally the entire destiny aspect. There is only 1 remaining Furyan and it’s Riddick and he is destined to defeat the lord of the Necromongers. I think the whole prophecy thing turned a lot of people off and raised the cheese factor a bit. Sometimes I think the ending of Chronicles could best be described as Conan in space.

    Don’t get me wrong, I own the DVD and enjoyed the movie immensely. But I can’t necessarily disagree with the complaints either. I think the idea originally floated was to do a prequel showing how Riddick wound up in that cargo hauler as a prisoner. That could have been fantastic and may have gone over better. I am curious though, has anyone seen what David Twohy had planned to happen in the third movie originally if Chronicles had not tanked?

  8. David Williams Says:

    Twohy was pretty ambitious: he had in mind a trilogy, with Pitch Black serving in the prequel/ Hobbit role. . . so four flicks in all.


    I’ve read somewhere that Movie #2 was all about the journey to the Underverse, which Twohy envisioned as a parallel world — possibly of the inflation variety.


    I’m not gonna even try to justify the science of reaching another “bubble” universe, but it probably would have made for a cool flick.

  9. Erik Says:

    Wow.. I couldn’t even make it past the intro paragraph on Chaotic Inflation and I was totally befuddled. Astrophysics is a sure fire way to make the common man feel like a moron. :-)
    What is interesting is that there is a theory out there that states the Big Bang may have initially been caused when our universe bumped into another one causing a massive release of energy. The theory posits that there are a multitude of universes and they undulate like waves.. so theoretically it could happen again, which I would assume would be catastrophic to our universe now that it is populated with billions of stars and planets.

  10. David Williams Says:

    Yes that’s the theory known as the “Big Splat” : ) We’d better hope it doesn’t happen anytime soon. . . .

    An easier way to get your arms around the idea of chaotic inflation is to look at this jpeg:


    imagine endless bubbles sprouting off from one another. Our universe is one of them.

  11. Joni Says:

    This is going to be a long wait and I hope it will be worth it :)

    I just loved the Riddick in Pitch Black although the basic premise of the movie was sort of cheap copy of the Alien. Still, he was a selfish bastard almost all the time and what was almost the best part was that the end was not exactly predictable. I was sure that the woman (I don’t remember her name, ATM) at the end would survive and so on like in so many other movies. So, a nice surprise. Even though it would have been cool to see Riddick continue his escape by himself I’m not sure it would have survived that well in the end as the end of story.

    I think that Vin Diesel attributed Riddick as being “Conan in space” in one of his comments. But still hauling up all that supernatural stuff, Riddick being a Furian etc. was a bit of a let down for me. I didn’t need that for liking Riddick. Just being how he was shown in the first movie would have been even better. Just surviving by being mean and unscrupulous would have shown a strength of character instead of surviving because of his heritage.

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