The Chronicles of Riddick (series)

The Chronicles of Riddick (series)

The Chronicles of Riddick is a science fiction action/horror media franchise, spanning two live-action feature films and their novelizations, a direct-to-DVD animated film, numerous animated shorts, two video games, an Internet-based video game, figurines and hundreds of instances of fan fiction. The Chronicles of Riddick is also the title of the second film in the series. The series follows the exploits of the character Richard B. Riddick (either portrayed or voiced by Vin Diesel in all appearances of the character) in the 28th century, and the universe in which they take place. The Chronicles of Riddick fictional universe and its canon was initially created with the introduction of the first installment of the franchise, Pitch Black (later called The Chronicles of Riddick: Pitch Black), which was written by David Twohy (also director), Ken Wheat, and his brother Jim Wheat.[citation needed]

Contents

Films

Pitch Black (2000)

The first installment of the franchise, Pitch Black, was a lower budget production, but is now something of a cult film. The story involved Riddick being transported to prison on the Hunter Gratzner, a commercial cargo ship. When the spaceship is damaged in the wake of a comet and makes an emergency crash landing on an isolated desert planet, Riddick escapes. However, when flying creatures, known as Biorapters, begin attacking the survivors, Riddick joins forces with the other survivors to escape the planet. After the release of the sequel The Chronicles of Riddick, this film was renamed The Chronicles of Riddick: Pitch Black. Since then all other media in the series has borne the The Chronicles of Riddick branding.

The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)

The second feature film in the series, and the second live-action film, The Chronicles of Riddick was a bigger budget production and was more action-oriented than earlier installments in the franchise. It takes place five years after Pitch Black and involved Riddick's meeting with Jack and Imam, his escape from the prison planet Crematoria, and his battle with the Necromonger fleet. It received mixed reviews.

The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury (2004)

Dark Fury, a made-for-DVD animated movie, acts as a bridge between the live-action films of Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick. It takes place shortly after Pitch Black and involves Riddick and the other two survivors of Pitch Black, Jack and Imam, and their run-in with a mercenary ship, as well as its captain who wishes to keep Riddick frozen as part of her collection of warriors from around the universe.

Sequel

In a November 13, 2007 blogpost, writer/director Twohy acknowledged that, aided by good numbers in DVD sales, sequels were still on the table. "But if another movie surfaces, it probably won't be a Universal movie and probably will be an independent movie. Which means we'll have to make it for substantially less than the last installment. But that's okay. Pitch Black was $22 million all in. Maybe it's time to go back to our roots – as we go on to The UnderVerse."[1]

On August 25, 2008, Diesel told MTV News the Riddick sequels were an active project, with David Twohy currently writing the scripts. Said Diesel, "The only question is whether we take a page from the ‘Lord of the Rings’ guys and try to shoot the two chapters at the same time."[2]

On March 11, 2009, Diesel told Gamespot that people would hear more about the movie soon and that the script is wrapping up and by the release of Dark Athena there would be news of it sprouting up.[3]

On August 4, 2009, Twohy confirmed that Diesel's newly restored box office clout may help get another Riddick outing off the ground.[4] "I've sketched out two stories and Vin and I have figured out which one we liked best," he said.

On December 3, 2009, Diesel updated on his Facebook page that location scouting has begun in New Zealand for the new movie.

On February 11, 2010 Diesel and Twohy confirmed production of the fourth film entitled Riddick.[5]

On September 20, 2010, "The Furyan" was announced by Diesel on his FaceBook Page.

On October 27, 2010, Diesel confirmed that at least one more sequel was planned, and that the plot would most likely revolve around Riddick's return to Furya.

On May 24, 2011 Diesel announced on his Facebook page that the writer/director of the films told him they could begin filming within months, but he would be working virtually pro bono. He said he was undecided as to what he would do.[6]

On September 5, 2011, Diesel announced that filming for the new Riddick film will commence soon in Canada and will be distributed by Universal. Diesel also confirmed that the film will carry an R rating.[7]

As of September 23, 2011, the title of the film is listed as The Chronicles of Riddick: Dead Man Stalking and word has been given that Karl Urban will reprise his role as Vaako from The Chronicles of Riddick.[8]

Shorts / animated shorts

Into Pitch Black

Into Pitch Black is a Sci-Fi channel special which aired before Pitch Black, and was about lawmen investigating Riddick's past as well as an investigation into the crash of the Hunter Gratzner (the spaceship from Pitch Black). It is considered a rarity now, and is only available on Region 2 copies of the Pitch Black DVD. It shows several inconsistencies with the official canon of the franchise, and might be possibly retconned by the other movies and video games.

Slam City

PITCHBLACK: Slam City is a short flash movie prequel to Pitch Black by animator Brian Murray with Twohy which is available for download at the Pitch Black website.[1] Slam City is in the form of an official, confidential prison record detailing Riddick's arrival and escape from the Ursa Luna Slamcity Facility in eleven hours twenty-two minutes. Notably, it shows Riddick undergoing the surgery (by means of a retired veterinarian named "Cutter") that gives him "eyeshine"—the ability to see in the dark—and paying for this with a pack of Kool cigarettes as mentioned in Pitch Black. Johns is seen at the end of the movie and is charged with capturing Riddick.

Some events, such as Riddick's eyeshine, have been retconned, however, for it is revealed in Butcher Bay that Riddick received them in a much different fashion.

Video games

Two full-scale video games based on the Riddick series have been released, as well as two short Internet games.

The Hunt For Riddick

The Hunt For Riddick is a point-and-click game on the Riddick official website [2] where the player plays a rookie mercenary hired by Toombs to research Riddick and possibly find his whereabouts. The game gives much information about the Riddick universe and the player travels to a variety of locations. These include: Origin (a planet that little is known about but the game begins at and appears to be mostly a shipyard), Lupus Five (the planet Kyra joined mercenaries on), Helion Prime, Furya, Aquila Major, Crematoria, and U.V. 6.

Escape from Crematoria

Escape from Crematoria was a Web-based game available at the official fan site, www.TheMercs.TheChroniclesOfRiddick.com,[9] advertised as a "viral game" for site members only, "which entails killing the Lord Marshall [sic]", and which awarded successful players with "UD" points that could be traded for prizes. The entire site, including the game, has been unavailable since January 2005.

Escape from Butcher Bay

Escape from Butcher Bay is a video game based on the Riddick series, released for the Xbox and Windows PC. It acts as a prequel to Pitch Black, and involves Riddick's escape from the eponymous prison, Butcher Bay. Escape from Butcher Bay 2 was said to be "confirmed" as of September 2004 for future development. This second project later became Assault on Dark Athena (See below).

Assault on Dark Athena

The Assault on Dark Athena is a video game for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows, and Mac OS X computers. It includes an enhanced remake of Escape from Butcher Bay, and is also a retelling of the events before Pitch Black.

Characters

Richard B. Riddick

The series follows the exploits of the character Richard B. Riddick. Riddick is an escaped convict with exceptional hand to hand fighting skills and the ability to see in the dark. While sharing the spotlight in Pitch Black, Riddick went on to be the main protagonist of the series.

His character is played by Vin Diesel throughout the series.

William J. Johns

William J. Johns is a war veteran and mercenary who was trusted to track down Riddick after he escaped from Slam City, and the primary human antagonist of Pitch Black. He captured Riddick and brought him to Butcher Bay, but upon discovering that he could not get as much of a reward as he wanted, helped Riddick escape. The Johns Chase Log on the Pitch Black special features tells of the events afterward: Riddick stabs Johns and leaves him for dead. Johns becomes a morphine addict after having it prescribed to him because of the wound, and then chases Riddick down while also avoiding other mercenaries on Riddick's trail. He eventually catches Riddick on the planet Aquila Major (featured in the opening scene of Chronicles of Riddick) by killing a child and threatening to kill more unless Riddick surrenders. He gets a seat on the transport vessel Hunter Gratzner, which crashes onto the Dark Planet in Pitch Black. Johns promises to free Riddick after the crash, as he states that he is tired of chasing him. The validity of this statement is unclear. Johns helps the crash survivors (though also impedes them with his self-centeredness) and by killing one of the creatures with a shotgun, learns of their weakness to light. However, after suggesting to kill Jack, Riddick wounds Johns mortally and leaves him for dead. Johns is killed shortly afterward when a bioraptor bites his head off.

He was played by Cole Hauser.

Abu "Imam" al-Walid

A character that featured in the first three Riddick movies (See above).

He was played by Keith David.

Jack B. Badd/Jackie B. Badd/Kyra

Another character from the first three Riddick movies (See above).

In Pitch Black and Dark Fury she was played by Rhiana Griffith.

In Chronicles of Riddick she was played by Alexa Davalos.

Alexander Toombs

The mercenary from Chronicles of Riddick and Dark Fury.

He was played by Nick Chinlund.

Zhylaw/Lord Marshal

The antagonist from Chronicles of Riddick. Before Riddick's birth, Zhylaw consulted an Elemental seer, who told him that a Furyan male would be born that would kill him in the future. In retaliation, Zhylaw attacked Furya in an attempt to massacre all male children, going so far as to personally strangle newborn infants with their own umbilical cords. He strangled Riddick with his umbilical cord and believed him dead, but Riddick actually survived. In Chronicles, the Lord Marshal and his army of Necromongers attacked Helion Prime. The Lord Marshal noticed Riddick when he killed one of his men. Suspicious of his abilities, the Lord Marshal has Riddick taken into his fortress to confirm his identity. Placed before the psychic Quasi-Deads, who claim Riddick is a Furyan, the Lord Marshal orders his death. Luckly, Riddick escapes and runs into Toombs, who takes Riddick to Crematoria. The Lord Marshal commands Necromonger Commander Vaako to find Riddick and have him killed, so Vaako sets out with a small group of Necromongers and a Purifier to bring him down. Vaako is curious as to why the Lord Marshal is so afraid of Riddick. With encouragement from his rabidly ambitious wife, Dame Vaako, the two learn, before he achieved his current title, the Lord Marshal destroyed the Furyans' homeworld of Furya and its citizens. This occurred after a seer foretold that a single Furyan would cause his downfall. They deduce Riddick is the one in the prophecy. Vaako returns to the Legion Vast, where the Lord Marshal promotes him for killing Riddick. Not quite convinced of Riddick's death, the Lord Marshal orders the "Final Protocol", which will ultimately destroy all life on Helion Prime. But Riddick already infiltrated the mother ship and makes his way to the throne room, where he comes face to face with the Lord Marshal. Riddick battles with the Lord Marshal, whose unique powers prove too great for Riddick to handle. But the Lord Marshal was killed afterwords by Riddick at the end.

He was played by Colm Feore.

Purifier

A member of the Necromonger fleet, the Purifier revealed that he, too, was Furyan like Riddick, before being converted. When Riddick falls unconscious after fighting the Necromonger fleet chasing him, the Purifier pulls him into the safety of the hangar and tells Riddick, "We all began as something else". Regretting what he has done under the Necromonger influence, the Purifier tells Riddick that the Furyan in him hopes he goes after the Lord Marshal, before committing suicide by walking into the sunlight of Crematoria.

He was played by Linus Roache.

Pope Joe

Pope Joe is a hermit, and former Bovine Veterinarian, that lives in the sewers of Butcher Bay. After Riddick retrieved his radio from the sewers, he heals Riddick, and is credited with giving him his "eyeshine" that he uses throughout the franchise to see in the dark, but is not believed to be the actual source.

Creatures

M6-117 Aliens

These aliens are the predatory creatures from Pitch Black. They live on the planet M6-117, every 22 years on which an eclipse comes, in which a huge planet goes in front of M6-117 and the two planets stay aligned for a long (but undefined) amount of time.

Ursa Luna Humanoids

These are humanoids seen in the flash movie on the Pitchblack.com website. They can see in the dark (like Riddick, who they refer to as "Darkeye") and they live in the Ursa Luna prison (a.k.a. "Slam City") where the guards do not tend to go. The Ursa Luna Humanoids are also called Shiners.

Crematoria Hellhounds

The Crematoria HellHounds are dog-like creatures from The Chronicles of Riddick that live on Crematoria. The guards at the prison release them to kill/eat the prisoners when it's "feeding time". The Crematoria HellHounds can also be called "Crema-hounds" for short.

Lennsers

Lennsers are cyborgs from The Chronicles of Riddick. They see in infrared vision, the Necromongers use them to detect "breeders". Body movement professionals were used to show the lennsers as robots without free will.

Locations

All Chronicles of Riddick stories take place in the distant future of the 28th century, long after mankind has discovered faster-than-light flight and has since colonized most of the inhabitable worlds across the galaxy.

Underverse

A parallel universe described as "a dark mirror of the normal universe where death has no meaning", the Underverse is the ultimate destination for the Necromongers, who are being led there by the Lord Marshal, the only being to have actually been to the Underverse. Lord Marshal's pilgrimage to the Underverse gave him almost supernatural powers, and he returned a "holy half dead".

Earth

The homeworld of the human race, the planet Earth is no longer considered a significant planet in the grand scheme of the galaxy as hundreds of other more strategic and resource-rich worlds have also been colonized. Earth has never been seen in the Riddick universe, and few characters have even mentioned it. Of the few who have, Paris in Pitch Black, before he is eaten alive by the planet's creatures, mentions that he wanted to die "In France, on Earth. I never even saw France."

M6-117

This is a moon of a planet which was the first world seen in the franchise and also the primary setting for the first live-action feature film Pitch Black. Although it has a similar atmosphere and gravity to Earth, M6-117 is a desolate desert experiencing almost constant daylight hours from three suns. One is solitary, while the other two form a binary pair. Once every 22 years, the moon will experience a solar eclipse of all the suns as they set behind the parent planet and the eclipse lasts for months, allowing nocturnal creatures who are harmed by light to emerge onto the surface from a network of vast, underground caverns. It is implied that these creatures were responsible for making all other lifeforms on the planet extinct, and are responsible for turning the surface into a "graveyard". Their sizes range from bat-sized to about twice the size of a regular human. A previous human mining operation on the planet, who gave it the designation M6-117, suffered the same fate.

Aquila Major

Seen destroyed during the opening scenes of The Chronicles of Riddick, Aquila Major appears to be very urban but also densely forested in many areas as well. After a devastating campaign against the Aquilans, who are forced to either convert or die, the Lord Marshal of the Necromongers orders the destruction of the planet with a massive bombardment known as the "Ascension Protocol".

Aguerra Prime

Presumably the major planet in the eponymously-named Aguerran System, part of Assault on Dark Athena is set here. Over the course of the game the planet comes under siege by the mercenary/slave ship Dark Athena, which takes out it orbiting satellites to prevent the planet's colonists from contacting outside help, before starting a ground assault and eventually docking the ship itself at its primary spaceport. Most or all of its inhabitants are killed or harvested for Drone recruitment, remotely-controlled cyborg soldiers.

UV-6

First appearing in Chronicles of Riddick, this cold, barren planet is covered in ridged terrain that resembles giant fingerprints. Riddick hides here in a cave which is actually the skeleton of a whale-sized carnivorous creature, for five years, between the events of Dark Fury and Chronicles of Riddick.

Crematoria

Described as one of the last remaining "triple maximum security" prisons, Crematoria is a harsh prison colony reserved for only the most dangerous criminals. The surface of the planet is uninhabitable, as the temperatures are in the wild extremes: 700°F on the daylit side and -300°F on the nighttime side. This makes the prison almost impossible to escape from, as there is only a constantly shifting twilight buffer zone on the surface of about 20 miles where humans can survive and where travel is possible.

Furya

Furya was once a bustling planet whose inhabitants were fierce warriors, perhaps even a superior off-shoot of normal human beings due to the harsh conditions of the planet. The Lord Marshal of the Necromongers bombarded the planet and massacred the inhabitants in order to prevent the fulfillment of a prophecy that a Furyan would cause his downfall. This massacre takes place 30 years before The Chronicles of Riddick. An unknown but slim number of Furyans managed to escape the devastation, and from Furya itself, but the planet is now "dead, with no life to speak of."

Helion Prime

A major planet of the worlds of man, Helion Prime was founded as a world where men of all faiths, religions and creeds could peacefully co-exist. It is now a flourishing and prosperous world, and the location of the city "New Mecca" and home of Abu "Imam" al-Walid and his family. The planet is constantly lit through artificial means. It is here where Riddick first learns of the Necromongers. New Mecca is taken over by Necromongers after a brief one night long battle with Helion troopers, although armed Helion resistance continues until Riddick kills the Lord Marshal, presumably freeing the planet. The only planet to be seen or at least mentioned in all three Riddick films.

Lupus Five

The planet where Kyra joined the mercenaries. It is mentioned in Chronicles of Riddick and is seen in the Hunt For Riddick game. It appears to be barren and over-industrialized, and contains a well-developed space transportation industry.

Planet Origin

Seen in the internet flash game Hunt for Riddick, little is known about the planet Origin but the game begins at and appears to be mostly a shipyard.

Races / factions

Mercs

Since the main character of the franchise is an escaped convicted murderer with a big price on his head, mercenaries and bounty hunters feature heavily in the stories and are often simply referred to as "Mercs". It would also appear that being a Merc is a common profession in the Riddick storyline. Mercs are often depicted as inept when compared to Riddick, simple-minded, greedy and immoral.

Furyan

The Furyans are an off-shoot of the human species. Riddick is one of the last surviving Furyans. In The Chronicles of Riddick it is revealed that he is the Alpha Furyan, the strongest of the race.

In the movie Pitch Black, Riddick is renowned for the unique appearance and function of his eyes. When asked about it, he says that his eyes received a "surgical shine job" on Butcher Bay by a doctor for "20 menthol Kools." However, in The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay it is revealed that the doctor, Pope Joe, was not responsible for this procedure. Pope Joe merely stitched a wound on Riddick's arm in payment for the retrieval of Pope Joe's beloved radio. The "eye shine" was developed in an as-yet unspecified fashion but was either developed or granted to him through his heritage as Furyan.

In The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury, one of Antonia Chillingsworth's frozen specimens is labeled as a Furyan. The label is emblazoned with "Furya," accompanied by the comment "Killer Of Men" beneath the plaque.

Furyans are impressive physical specimens; They are stronger, faster, tougher, and hardier in most respects than the humanoid races in the Riddick universe. Riddick is considered the strongest and most powerful Furyan seen. Riddick has been bestowed with "The Wrath of the Furyans" or "The Furyan Rage." This is essentially the collective anguish, pain, suffering and anger of the billions of Furyans who didn't escape the Necromonger slaughter 30 years ago. Its use is displayed against Vaako and the Hunting Party of Necromonger Soldiers, and he also used this technique against Abbott and his fellow prison guards in Butcher Bay post-interrogation.

The extent of the physical abilities of a Furyan are unknown. Riddick has held his own against particularly vicious predatory creatures (from Pitch Black). His physical strength and stamina allowed him to escape detainment by the bounty hunter Johns in Pitch Black. He has inordinate athleticism and agility as demonstrated by his raw speed evading the creatures.

Elementals

The Elementals are introduced in The Chronicles of Riddick. The one that is seen in the film, Aereon (played by Judi Dench), is humanoid and is seemingly composed of nothing more than dense air. She becomes translucent when in the presence of blowing winds and, because of her negligible mass, she can glide through the air for extended periods of time (which is often confused with an ability to fly). The novelization by Alan Dean Foster states that the Elementals are an offshoot of humanity. One of the Necromongers refers to her as an Air Elemental (which in classical ceremonial magic is what Paracelsus calls a sylph). And the novel also hints that there are fire, water, and earth Elementals, but no other members of this race are seen in the film. According to the DVD, there are also elementals that represent Aether.

As portrayed in the film, the Elementals are a logical race, deciding their actions on complex calculations rather than on personal opinions or emotion. They are largely a neutral people, apparently unwilling to participate in the conflicts that they view as beneath them, but take action when their calculations show that their intervention is necessary. The Necromongers point out that the Elementals do not seem to believe in any god. Dame Vaako in the film refers to them as witches and spies, which is likely meant simply to provoke Aereon.

Diesel says that in the next film he will meet fire and water Elementals, possibly explaining more of their society and evolution.

The only other possible Elemental seen is a mentally offset prisoner in Escape From Butcher Bay who considers himself to be an Elemental king.

Necromongers

The Necromongers are a doomsday cult of warriors, with their own distinctive architecture and uniforms representing their religious beliefs, who conquer planets as they make their way on a grotesque pilgrimage to Underverse--their promised land. Their religion's code of conduct states that "you keep what you kill", which applies to almost anything—not the least of which meaning that anybody could challenge the leader of the Necromongers and take his place by killing him, although due to his supernatural abilities none before Lord Vaako had dared to attempt to do so. Their leader, as Lord Vaako states is the "holy half-dead Lord Marshal" (who can even steal the souls of his enemies), systematically commands his Necromonger Legion Vast to overrun worlds and convert its inhabitants into Necromongers; those that oppose conversion die. Converts receive "the mark of pain" which is meant to instill in them the idea that "one pain can lessen another". Due to the Lord Marshal's prior foray into the Underverse, the Necromongers have the most advanced and dangerous weaponry in the galaxy, able to destroy planets, which they do after a campaign to replenish their ranks. The Lord Marshal launched a personal crusade against the planet Furya, after being told a prophecy by a seer that a Furyan would lead to his downfall, which proved to ultimately be true. The Furyan who finally killed him was Riddick.

References


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