By Rick Marshall
Richard B. Riddick returns to theaters Sept. 6 in Riddick, more than a decade after Vin Diesel's tough-as-nails antihero first won over audiences in Pitch Black. The new movie finds him battling a planet full of dangerous creatures yet again – though there are a few human predators in the mix this time, too.
Just in case you don't have enough reasons to be excited about Riddick's return already, here are ten things you should know…
1. If Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder...
It's been 13 years since the release of the first film, Pitch Black, which introduced audiences to Richard B. Riddick. That film's surprise success pushed a sequel into production relatively quickly, and The Chronicles of Riddick followed soon after in 2004. That means it's been almost a decade since the last live-action movie featuring Diesel as Riddick.
2. Riddick Returns To His Roots
All signs point to the new film being closer to the tone of Pitch Black than to the previous film, The Chronicles of Riddick – something that Diesel and writer/director David Twohy have been touting since the project went into development. Not only does it sport an “R” rating, but the film's story returns Riddick to an environment where he can do what he does best: killing.
3. There's An Expanded Universe
While it's the third live-action film in the franchise, Riddick is actually the sixth chapter in The Chronicles of Riddick saga. The first chapter was told in the 2004 video game The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay, followed by The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena and Pitch Black. The 2004 animated movie The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury bridged the gap to the next live-action film, The Chronicles of Riddick.
4. Typecast Actors Need Not Apply
The film's wide-ranging cast features a former Broadway star and a former professional wrestler. Glee actor Nolan Gerard Funk, who starred in the recent Broadway revival of Bye Bye Birdie, plays one of the mercenaries in the film. He's joined by Dave Batista, a six-time champion of World Wrestling Entertainment and a mixed martial arts fighter, who plays another mercenary on Riddick's trail.
5. It's Called Teamwork
Diesel has teamed with his Pitch Black director and co-writer Twohy for all of the films in the franchise, including the animated Dark Fury, for which he penned the story. That's no small feat, given how rarely an actor/director team remains consistent over the course of a franchise.
6. No Baggage, No Problem
Reports suggest that the only returning member of the cast from The Chronicles of Riddick is Karl Urban, who played a powerful, scheming warrior of the Necromonger cult in the previous film. However, at least one supporting character will have an indirect tie to the very first film, Pitch Black.
7. Hollywood Makes Strange Bedfellows
The success of the recent Fast and the Furious films made Riddick possible, with Diesel parlaying his role in the former franchise into another film in the latter Chronicles of Riddick franchise. Both franchises fall under Universal Pictures' banner, and the studio agreed to provide assistance with Riddick due to Diesel's participation in the Fast and the Furious films.
8. It Puts The “Fatal” In Femme Fatale
Also appearing in the film is former Battlestar Galactica actress Katee Sackhoff, who plays a sniper for one of the mercenary teams hunting Riddick. According to Sackhoff, her character in Riddick is the toughest, deadliest character she's ever played – which should intrigue anyone familiar with her Galactica character, Starbuck.
9. Let The Games Begin (Again)
Diesel has insisted that along with adding another chapter to the Chronicles of Riddick saga, Riddick will also open the door for more games in the franchise's universe. The two previous games, Escape From Butcher Bay and Assault on Dark Athena, earned rave reviews from critics and featured an impressive voice cast that included Ron Perlman, Lance Henriksen, and other modern icons of sci-fi and horror.
10. The Story Isn't Over
During our visit to the set of Riddick, Diesel and Twohy revealed their plans for two more films that would bring Riddick's saga to its conclusion. One of the films would involve Riddick making a return trip to his homeworld, Furya.
Now, go get your Riddick tickets.