Another week, another bit of news involving Vin Diesel and unexpected franchise sequels and spinoffs. This time around though, it’s for another of Diesel’s franchises that may not be breaking down those box office records like Fast & Furious, but which certainly has its fair share of fans. I should know, I’m one of them.
I am of course talking about the Riddick franchise, which started life in 2000 with cult favourite small scale sci-fi creature feature Pitch Black before going full mythological with 2004’s Chronicles of Riddick. It also had an animated sequel in Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury as well as two video games in The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay and The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena. For a long time that seemed like the end of the cinematic adventures of Richard B. Riddick, the badass mass-murderer with the shiny eyes that you can’t help but love, but through Diesel’s pure will power and determination, the franchise was resurrected in 2013’s Riddick. While the film was a decent addition to the series – although it had its issues, it only made $98 million off a $38 million budget (factor in advertising costs and it just about made a profit), which meant that this time the series was truly dead.
Or not, as the social media savvy Diesel revealed on Instagram over the weekend that not only is he and series writer/director David Twohy working on a new movie sequel titled Furia, but that a new TV series spinoff titled Merc City is also in development. Merc City appears to be focusing on the colourful mercenaries and bounty hunters seen in the Riddick universe, most prominently featured in the last film. I’m just hoping that this means that Katee Sackhoff, who played the badass merc Dahl – but got seriously undermined by some insulting third act writing – will be returning to sci-fi TV for the first time since Battlestar Galactica.
One interesting thing about the upcoming movie is that the title may be referring Riddick’s home planet, however that has always been spelled “Furya”. Did Diesel just forget how to spell in his excitement, or is there some other meaning? If it is referring to Riddick’s world, it may hint at ties back to Chronicles of Riddick ambitious supernatural narrative, which was pretty much abandoned for the last film. It was revealed there – and especially in the superior director’s cut – that Furya is now a dead world, but that it was previously inhabited by a warrior race whom the Necromongers wiped out.
Before ditching that storyline, Riddick had become ruler of the Necromongers and was about to lead an armada into some kind of sci-fi afterlife called the Underverse. There was also the mystery of a dead Furyan named Shirah who appeared to Riddick in visions and also showed him how to unlock some kind of supernatural energy-dispersal ability which was never seen again. Maybe those strands will get picked up again now?
Whatever the plan, with Diesel’s dance card being pretty full for the near future thanks to a whole lot of Fast & Furious, it’s probably going to be a while before he and Twohy will take us on another outer space adventure.
Last Updated: November 23, 2015