Riddick 4 Is 'Closer Than You Think,' According To Vin Diesel

The Riddick franchise is a lot like its main character: rough around the edges, complex, hard to pin down and, most importantly, a survivor. Case in point, star Vin Diesel's recent Instagram post where he continues to bang the drum for a supposedly forthcoming new installment in the series after an already 8-year gap and counting:

Incredible meeting today, thanks team you know who you are... Let's just say Furia maybe closer than you think. #Riddick

After decent returns compared to a moderate budget on 2013's "Riddick," not to mention strong home video sales, Universal began talks with Diesel and series director David Twohy in 2014 for a fourth go around, to be titled "Riddick 4: Furya." Aiming for an R-rating like the first and third installments, "Furya" promises to take the title rogue on a trip down memory lane as he finally returns to his home planet alongside Katee Sackhoff's mercenary Dahl. A spin-off TV series titled "Merc City" is also in the works, but there's been little update beyond Diesel's little social media teases. 

A Furious History

The first Riddick film, "Pitch Black," proved a sleeper hit in 2000, and along with "The Fast and the Furious" helped propel Diesel to stardom. But something about the character's "man without a country" backstory appealed to Diesel, and he and Twohy conspired to turn Riddick's journey into a sci-fi epic in the same mythologically rich vein as "Lord of the Rings," with "Pitch Black" as its mere "The Hobbit"-esque appetizer. They mapped out a trilogy of expensive sequels starting with the $100-million-plus budgeted 2004 flick "The Chronicles of Riddick" and its animated counterpart "The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury." Unfortunately, rich world-building did not a franchise make, and the bloated PG-13 film inexplicably co-starring Judi Dench sank at the box office. 

But Diesel and Twohy were undeterred, and rather than giving up on their plans for more movies, they devised to take a back-to-basics approach to the third film "Riddick," a scrappier monster-vs-ensemble movie more in the "Pitch Black" vein but with some of the vaster threads of "Chronicles" continued, including Karl Urban's Necromonger Vaako. With a modest $38 million budget, "Riddick" is barely-contained ambition that nearly didn't make it through production, with crews complaining of missing paychecks, the filmmakers getting locked out of their studio, and Diesel having to leverage his own house to see it completed.

Having visited the set of "Riddick" while it lensed in Montreal in 2012, I can personally attest that Diesel is intensely passionate about this franchise. He even got a happy glint in his eye when I pointed out a crown on his Necromonger uniform (barely visible in the film) was the same one that Linus Roache's secret Furyan named Purifier in "Chronicles" had worn. Diesel had insisted on that detail himself, over Twohy's protest, and it's that kind of passion that makes me believe that a fourth film will happen, even if Vin has to climb a jagged cliff with a knife between his teeth to do it.