Nine years ago, the last image of Riddick (Vin Diesel) in the Chronicles of Riddick had the former convict surrounded by Necromongers on bended knee before him as they accept him as their new leader. Not a bad turn of events, or cinematic grace note, for a character that had always existed on the rough side of existence.
Because the film didn’t do tremendously at the box office, it was an ending that writer/director David Twohy and actor Vin Diesel were content with. But the fans were not, and they let the pair know about it … a lot.
“All throughout, we never stopped hearing from the fans that they wanted more Riddick,” Twohy tells Blastr in an exclusive interview at San Diego Comic-Con. “[Vin and I] coming together and talking about [a sequel] was a result of getting pestered by the fans, who didn’t want us to leave it behind even though it looked like the franchise was dead. Vin and I didn’t even talk about continuing the saga for the first two or three years.”
When they did, Twohy says, “I think we both sort of talked each other into it, with what was both possible and desirable. We started thinking about what it would look like, because it was clear it wouldn’t be a studio picture again, so that meant an independent picture, which is less money. With the sense of what [our budget] was, we thought about the kind of story we could do well. In each other’s kitchens we came up with a survival story, left-for-dead story.”
The director shares that Riddick opens some years after Chronicles, right smack in the middle of the character’s latest dire situation. “When we first find him, he’s got a leg broken in three places, with deep lacerations, and he’s crawling for his life just trying to get to water. So he starts the movie in a very vulnerable position.”
[Spoiler alert!] Twohy says we quickly learn that the Riddick’s seemingly sweet setup at the end of Chronicles went south quickly. “As King of the Necromongers, it became so complicated with the assassins after him and the betrayals. He was induced to leave that position as their head because they told him, 'We can deliver you your home world,' but in fact they didn’t, and they stabbed him in the back and left him for dead on a dumping ground of a planet. But in the first third of the movie, he realizes he can use this dumping ground as a proving ground to see if in fact he is the man he used to be. He’s worried he became too complacent as Head of the Necromongers as he partook too much of courtesans and all the perks of that office,” Twohy laughs. “So he says 'Enough of that, and now it’s me versus the planet.' If I survive, I win and can rediscover my animal side. He’s a man who wants to get back to basics.”
From there, Riddick has to survive the harsh environment, creatures all too ready to kill him, two different sets of assassins who land on the planet to take him down and more. Gratefully, Twohy says Riddick gets his groove back quickly.
“He is am amoral character who has a code, which is 'You don’t f*** with me, I won’t f*** with you.' He says, ‘I don’t kill people indiscriminately. If you just leave me alone, you all will be fine, but you can’t seem to leave me alone.’ When the mercenaries show up on the planet, he gives them every chance to turn around and walk away, telling them it’s a bad idea. ‘I don’t care if there are 11 of you and one of me, it’s a bad idea. Just go away, and by the way, leave one ship and go, or you are gonna die here.’ They stay,” the director laughs.
To find out how that turns out, be sure to check out Riddick, which opens Sept. 6, 2013.