Had things gone a little differently, we might have gotten a massive trilogy based on Vin Diesel’s badass Pitch Black character Riddick. Instead, the launch film bombed, so the franchise fell back onto the shelf for nearly a decade. But what could’ve been?
Riddick director David Twohy recently opened up about the original plan for the spacefaring sci-fi franchise, which could’ve rivaled The Lord of the Rings in scope.
But first a bit of history: Vin Diesel’s low-budget 2000 sci-fi flick Pitch Black proved a surprise hit, so the studio greenlit a big-budget sequel to expand the universe, with plans for a full-fledged trilogy if it did well. Dubbed The Chronicles of Riddick, the 2004 film was a mixed bag of good ideas that bombed pretty hard at the box office. After that, the franchise seemed to be pretty much dead.
As we now know, Diesel had other plans. So he teamed up with Twohy, got the rights and struck out to create his own lowish-budget sequel, due out at some point this year, in an ironic homage to the film that started it all.
But what about that trilogy that never happened? Here’s how Twohy described the original plan:
“Had Universal said to us, ‘Let's roll over, let's pick it up right at the end of the last movie’ and funded it, we would have ventured into the Necromonger underverse and we would have had a big The Lord of the Rings-style movie on our hands. But That didn't happen, so cleverly Vin and I got the rights back and produced it ourselves on a smaller scale. That said, it still looks like a big movie. I think the audience will see the tip of the hat to Pitch Black, but they won't feel claustrophobic.”
Honestly, Chronicles seemed almost too “big” for its own good. Pitch Black was great because it was a small, claustrophobic sci-fi flick with personal stakes. Once you blew it up to intergalactic proportions it lost its edge and became just another big-budget wannabe tentpole movie.
Judging by the bits we’ve seen and heard from Riddick, it looks like a return to form as a small-scale, action-packed sci-fi flick.
But imagine what could’ve been if Chronicles had performed a little better. Would you have liked to see a big-budget sequel, or do you prefer the current plan for Riddick?