Chronicles of Riddick is one of those strange movies that, while enjoyable enough on its own, always feels like it should have been better. After the franchise began with a relatively small, contained film in Pitch Black, the sequel turned into this massive, bloated behemoth that never quite comes together. Chronicles simply tries to do too much, looking to establish an entire universe’s worth of history in one fell swoop.
Obviously, the film didn’t perform as well as producers had hoped. If it had been a huge success, however, creator David Twohy had epic plans for his baby. In a new interview about the upcoming third installment, simply called Riddick, the director gives fans a glimpse at what could have been.
If Chronicles had made more money—let’s face it, that’s all the studios care about, not how good a movie is—Twohy and Vin Diesel had big plans for the young franchise. Twohy tells ComicBookMovie.com:
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.
Part of why Pitch Black works as well as it does is the small scope and scale of the film. It uses relatively few resources to great effect. Chronicles feels like they had so much freedom that they could do anything they wanted, and that they incorporated every single idea they had into the final film, regardless of whether it fit or not. From everything we know about the new film, Riddick will fall more in line with the first chapter in the trilogy.
Another chink in the armor of Chronicles of Riddick is that the violence felt watered down. In search of a wider audience, the action and brutality were reigned in for a PG-13 rating. When your protagonist is a mass-murdering space outlaw, trying to prop him up as a good, heroic type doesn’t always work.
Talking about the R rating that Riddick has already received, and will stick with, Twohy says:
If you make it PG-13, then you have to make concessions, and that’s what happened on The Chronicles of Riddick where we had to downplay a lot of our action sequences and remove a lot of the blood. We found it was tying our hands, so we vowed not to do that.
This approach should serve the film, and the action, well, and is more in line with Riddick’s nature and his character.
Riddick opens on September 6, 2013, R rating and all.