The World of ‘Riddick’: A Lytherus guide to the films and an overview of the world

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lytherus-guide-to-the-riddick-universeRiddick is due out in theaters on September 6th, but what led up to this film? The Lytherus team is here to get you prepared for Riddick by explaining and introducing you to the vast universe behind the scifi hit. Riddick has been the anti-hero in 3 films (Pitch Black, The Chronicles of Riddickand the upcoming Riddick), one animated film (Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury), and two video games.  The question remains for those who have never delved into his world: Who is Riddick and why does he have such crazy eyesight?

Be warned: our summary does carry spoilers for past films in order to get you caught up to speed on the new film. If you’re looking to learn about the universe, continue on. If you plan to watch the original trilogy, you may want to shy away!

The world Riddick inhabits is a futuristic space-type environment, where humanity travels to various planets for exploration, colonization, etc. Humans have inhabited other planets (like Riddick’s home planet of Furya) and other races of pseudo-humanity has developed. During the previous two movies, the setting focuses on some of the deadest, creepiest planets. This planets show us that while humanity has conquered planetary travel, they have not conquered the inhabitants. On some of the planets, humans are the hunted.

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We were first introduced to Riddick in 2000’s Pitch Black, which was directed by David Twohy and starred Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, Vin Diesel, and Keith David. Vin Diesel played the infamous prisoner who was being shipped back to a “slam” – a prison for the worst of the worst. Here is the official summary of the film from Fandango:

In this science fiction thriller, a spaceship is transporting a disparate group of people to a far-away galactic outpost called New Mecca. Mechanical failures cause the craft to crash-land on an abandoned planet that has three suns and no night. The only member of the crew to survive is junior pilot Carolyn Fry (Radha Mitchell), while the passengers who climb from the wreckage include a police officer (Cole Hauser) and the prisoner he’s transporting, Riddick (Vin Diesel). As Fry and the other survivors survey the abandoned dwellings of the desert world while trying to decide what to do next, one of them is killed by a mutant creature living in an abandoned mining site. The vicious and bloodthirsty mutants, who live underground, have killed all previous inhabitants of the planet; they cannot stand sunlight, but research reveals that the planet has a total eclipse every 22 years, and the latest one is due any moment.

Vin Diesel’s Riddick, while a confirmed murderer and criminal, is a sarcastic predator who still manages to act within a certain type of morals, even if his own common sense tells him to do otherwise. He has the knowledge to kill pretty much anything that walks on two feet, but on this planet, Riddick and the other survivors are faced with a new type of antagonist. The creatures on this planet share one thing with Riddick: a different type of vision. Riddick accounts for his ability to see in limited light to an eye surgery (called “shine”) that he received while in prison. He suffers pain when trying to see in high light intensity. The aliens themselves suffer a similar issue. They are exclusively nocturnal and hunt more by smell, sound, and a special type of vision.

Once the other survivors realize that Riddick is the least of their concerns, they band together and attempt to escape the planet with very limited success. Their whole escape plan revolves around getting fuel cells from their crashed jet to another shuttle that was left by another band of humans. In the process of finding the craft and discovering the hazards on the planet during an eclipse, more survivors die.

During the scramble across the desolate planet, the creatures hunt the survivors and Riddick has several opportunities to practice his killing trade on the mutants. Team members die, until there are only three left who escape the planet.

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This brings us to the second movie. In 2004’s Chronicles of Riddick, Riddick’s character has experienced somewhat of a shift in focus. While still being hunted by bounty hunters and destined for the “Slam”, Riddick’s background and ancestors come more into focus. Take a look at Fandango’s summary below to put the plot into focus:

 Vin Diesel returns as the nocturnally gifted antihero Riddick in this sequel to the 2000 cult item Pitch Black. Riddick, on the run from the law and evading mercenaries eager to claim the price on his head, seeks refuge on the planet of Helion, only to discover he’s walked into a world in chaos. Helion has been seized by the Lord Marshall (Colm Feore), leader of the Necromongers, a race of bloodthirsty warriors determined to wipe out humanity throughout the universe. Aereon (Judi Dench), leader of Helion’s “elementals,” pleads with Riddick to join them in their fight for survival; Riddick agrees, hoping to fill out some of the blank chapters in his history along the way. As he plots his battle strategy against the Necromongers, Riddick becomes reacquainted with Kyra (Alexa Davalos), whom he knew as a girl but has since grown into a strong and beautiful woman eager to join him in the fight against the Lord Marshall.

Riddick and one other survivor have ended up in a prison, where they are used as slave labor. Riddick escapes the prison and a group of mercenaries and travels to the home of Imam, one of the other survivors of the crash in Pitch Black. Imam believes Riddick to be one of the last living Furyans, a race that was almost completely destroyed by the god-like Necromongers. While Riddick is visiting Imam, the Necromongers invade, killing people and capturing Riddick. Riddick is captured and is evaluated by the Necromongers. Riddick ends up captured by the mercenary captain who escaped from previously (Toombs) and is placed in another prison planet, where Jack, another survivor from the crash, is rumored to be incarcerated.

Through a series of near miss escapes and dangerous environments, Riddick is left for dead by the Necromongers. One of the Necromongers (The Lord Purifier) saves Riddick and reveals that he is a Furyan as well. Riddick, upon advice from The Lord Purifier, travels to the home of the Necromongers where he battles the leader of the Necromongers: the Lord Marshal. When Riddick strikes out at the Lord Marshal, the leader of the Necromongers presents Kyra (Jack’s new persona) who has been converted to their inhuman ways. Not to ruin it, Riddick defeats both the Lord Marshal (with Kyra’s help) and another leader of the Necromongers. Kyra is killed in the process and all of the other Necromongers kneel to Riddick as their new leader.

So, for those of you who are not familiar with the world of Riddick, you now have a down and dirty summary of the last two films. This Friday, September 6th, the next movie (Riddick) will be released. Where do you think Riddick may take us and when do you think bounty hunters will come to realize that hunting Riddick is just bad news for everyone? Take a look at the trailer below and let me know what you think!

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