There's probably no one that's more excited for fans to finally see the next chapter in the Chronicles of Riddick series than franchise star and producer Vin Diesel. That enthusiasm showed during the recent press day, where he greeted reporters like it was Christmas Day and he had just unwrapped the coolest gift ever.

Even though Universal Studios is releasing Riddick in theatres this Friday, the sequel is actually an independent project and the stakes for Diesel have never been this high. During a press conference interview, the actor/producer discussed how the fans kept Riddick's roots firmly planted in the indie world with their demand for an R-rated sequel.

Diesel also chatted about whether or not we'll see another Riddick film (or two) in the future, how he basically put everything he had on the line to make this project, and taking down the various WWE superstars he collaborated here and in the past with, including Dwayne Johnson.

Check out the highlights from Diesel's Riddick press conference and look for more from co-star Katee Sackhoff and writer/director David Twohy later this week right here on Daily Dead.

Vin Diesel: (kicking off the press conference) This is so cool; you are the first people who have seen the movie and I feel like I’ve been waiting forever to talk about Riddick. As you know, I had been touring the world for Fast 6 and when I’d try and talk to people about this new Riddick movie, there was just no frame of reference for it at all. So to sit here before all of you, who have seen the movie, is almost exciting as getting the Hollywood Walk of Fame star yesterday afternoon.

Now that you've been able to make this movie, are you satisfied looking back at Riddick or can we expect more from the Riddick character in the future?

Vin Diesel:I would love to do more science fiction; we have a project currently at Universal called Soldiers of the Sun which is very interesting opportunity for us to go into that genre again. But that’s a really good question because I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. The reality is that I’ve always envisioned the Riddick franchise as a continuing mythology so I always imagined that there would be many more films to follow this one.

And yet, there’s part of what you said that rings really true with me; I do feel like I answered that request from the fans with this film, all the fans who asked us to make another Riddick. It was one of the three promises I made (or maybe fans think I made) on the different social media networks. One of those promises was the return of Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) to the Fast & Furious series which is something that fans have been very vocal about for the last four and a half years. The second promise was the resurrection of Riddick and reawakening that mythology. And the third promise I made, as you know, is Hannibal the Conqueror which is the one promise I haven’t delivered on yet. But I will (laughs).

Now that I have kids though it’s a little trickier to watch Riddick; we were originally going to try and make Riddick before we made Fast Five and then I learned that we were expecting a child. So I didn’t think it would be fair to my child or the fans to go to that dark place while welcoming a life into this world so Riddick waited until I did more the more family-centered Fast Five.

The reason that I'm saying all that is that when I am playing a character like Riddick, it does force me to go to a dark place. It's very rewarding to see the movie, it's very rewarding to make the movie; but playing the character Riddick is just such a different and often difficult process for me because it does take so much preparation to get into that character. For this version, with where Riddick is now and where his state of mind is with this movie, I went into the woods for four months and basically prepared by being a recluse; preparing the inner core of the character and also, in producing this, it was so important to me to get that character correct so that I could easily tap into it while somewhat maintaining some kind of circumspect view of what was happening with production.

Is it difficult also being the 'boss' over your own castmates on a production like Riddick where you're playing two hugely important roles here- producer and the lead?

Vin Diesel: I try to create an environment where when we step onto set, we're all in character. And there's this funny little thing we'd say when we were playing Dungeons & Dragons (I don’t know if you guys know the game) where someone would say something random like, "Oh, I'm tired, I think I'm just going to go and take a nap." Our DM would always correct them and tell them that everything they say has to be 'in game'- meaning, when you show up on set, everything should be focused around your character. You should stay in the pocket as much as possible.

Every actor has their own process, but, for me, I really need to stay in the pocket. So if I'm on set, I'm not thinking like a producer; I'm in character. It's those moments that I come on set where I'm not shooting any scenes and in wardrobe and all that, those are the times where I'm there to be the producer.

Riddick was tricky though, it wasn't like being the producer on Fast & Furious. This was like being the producer on something where if it didn't work, I was going to lose my house. Everything I had in my life was leveraged to make this movie so on Riddick, the producer stakes were much higher for me because the skin in the game was real. I was so committed to answering this growing request from the fans to continue this character and the only way I could pull it off was by leveraging everything.

Has this always been the story you envisioned would follow Chronicles of Riddick or has that evolved over time?

Vin Diesel: It isn't the story I always envisioned to follow the last chapter, Chronicles. When we first gave the script to the studio- well, what I had wanted to do with the studios was something that really worked well with the Fast franchise. I wanted to create great movies while thinking about their seceding chapters at the same time and how they would all interlink. That felt like a challenge unique to our millennium; in the last millennium, when we did sequels or franchise movies, we just put the brand up there and slapped something together without ever expecting the property to grow. We expected the property fizzle out so we exploited the brand. And that's why I turned down all those sequels that you had heard about me turning down over the years. I didn't feel like any of them were approaching with a certain level of respect in regards to any kind of real chronological storyline.

So when we were doing Chronicles of Riddick, back in 2003, David and I put together three leather binders and each leather binder had a lock. We gave it to the head of the studio and we gave them one key. On the first binder it said 'core one' and on the second binder it said 'core two' and on the third binder it said 'core three.' At that level of production, with the amount of money we were spending on that movie, we were thinking that we'd be going to the underverse for core two and to Furya for core three.

When years and years started to go by and we weren't delivering the next chapter, we had to make a very conscious decision to find a way to tell the next chapter and continue the story and mythology even if it meant that we weren't going to have the same kind of budget that we had on Chronicles of Riddick. Almost luckily for us, there was an outcry from all the fans on social media to make this one rated R which did two things; one, it ruled out the possibility at all for it to get any kind of studio backing (laughs).

As you know, rated R movies in theaters are few and far between these days. We're all witnessing the age of where we'll see less and less rated R movies being made at all. So that ruled out any sort of idea of a studio backing the project at all which meant that we had to take a more independent route. So I went to Europe, to a film market, and presented what this film was going to be and got foreign money to be able to start this movie.

Then it was up to us to take those somewhat limited means, especially in relation to where we were when we made Chronicles of Riddick, and tell a story with those limited means. Thank God the audience wanted rated R because that justified in some ways taking a more independent route.

Did I answer that? Do I talk too much (laughs)? I think I talk too much (laughs).

So how different is it battling against former WWE superstar (David) Bautista in Riddick compared to fighting against the semi-current WWE star Dwayne Johnson like you did in Fast Five?

Vin Diesel: Well, first of all, David Bautista just came in was great; I remember when he was first auditioning, I immediately saw something in him. I saw that potential. And I had just worked with Dwayne Johnson on Fast Five so I believed that you could take someone from the wrestling world and coach them into some really great performances so I was confident about that.

The fight sequence with Bautista was different in some ways because it took the same level of choreography but the fight sequence in Fast Five took a week to shoot. Dwayne will tell you- anyone will tell you- that it was one of the most rigorous scenes we've ever shot because it wasn't just all the physical components but there was an emotional component as well that was part of that fight sequence and added a level of intensity to it as well.

The fight with Bautista wasn't supposed to be like that; it's definitely fun but it's not supposed to be a huge set piece in the way the Dom/Hobbs fight was. This was different because we were focused on other characters- the "Johns" character- and that gave it a different feeling. He's the only character though that Riddick fights to that kind of a degree though and in part that was because David is conditioned for that kind of stuff. He could take it (laughs).


“The infamous Riddick has been left for dead on a sun-scorched planet that appears to be lifeless. Soon, however, he finds himself fighting for survival against alien predators more lethal than any human he’s encountered. The only way off is for Riddick to activate an emergency beacon and alert mercenaries who rapidly descend to the planet in search of their bounty.

The first ship to arrive carries a new breed of merc, more lethal and violent, while the second is captained by a man whose pursuit of Riddick is more personal. With time running out and a storm on the horizon that no one could survive, his hunters won’t leave the planet without Riddick’s head as their trophy.”

Universal is releasing Riddick in theaters on September 6th, including IMAX screens. Vin Diesel stars with Karl Urban, Jordi Molla, Matt Nable, Katee Sackhoff, Bokeem Woodbine, Dave Bautista, Conrad Pla, Raoul Trujillo, Nolan Funk, and Keri Hilson.

  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.