A third flick featuring Vin Diesel in his original breakout role, as the “shining-eyed” Richard B. Riddick has always been a questionable prospect, ever since the costly second installment (2004’s The Chronicles of Riddick) failed to become a sizable hit at the box office. In fact, Riddick 3 came close to collapsing in 2011, when a shortage of funding forced production on the project to be temporarily shut down.

Since then, the threequel has managed to secure the necessary funding to continue moving forward – and today, we have both the first set pic of Diesel and another official casting update, to prove it.

The untitled third Riddick flick is expected to be more of a lean, mean, survival sci-fi/thriller in the vein of the original Pitch Black, where a stranded Riddick (Diesel) battles both vicious alien predators and bounty hunters on a desolate planet. Katee Sackhoff is expected to portray one of the mercenaries who looks to make a nice profit by capturing Riddick, while a former candidate to become the main baddie in Star Trek 2, Jordi Mollà, is up to play the central antagonist.

You can check out Diesel, wearing Riddle’s trademark goggles and dressed for action, in the first picture from the Riddick 3 set, below:


In addition, Variety has learned that the Riddick 3 cast now officially includes Nolan Gerard Funk, a 25-year-old Canadian-born actor whose resume includes recurring roles on TV series like Warehouse 13 and Aliens in America, along with single-episode stints on shows such as Supernatural and Smallville. In other words, he’s basically an unknown, as far as the majority of U.S. moviegoers will be concerned.

There’s no word yet on who… er, Funk will play in the Riddick threequel, but it’s certainly possible that he could portray a young comrade of the eponymous ex-convict – or, if not that, another pivotal role that could help put the actor on more viewers’ radar. By many accounts, he’s already proven himself to be fairly talented, having worked part-time as a recording artist and starring in a 2009 Broadway version of Bye Bye Birdie; not to mention, Funk will appear in the pilot for the new ABC show, Intercept. So, it’s possible he could be a bigger name by the time the new Riddick adventure hits theaters.

Pitch Black and Chronicles of Riddick writer/director David Twohy is calling the shots on the franchise’s third installment; so, chances are good, if you found the previous chapters to be mindless-but-fun sci-fi action romps, you’ll also dig the latest entry in the series. Plus, Diesel clearly has a soft spot for both the Riddick character and the violent world(s) he inhabits, so the final product shouldn’t feel like a phoned-in cash grab that plays off the adoration of longtime fans. Who knows, it might even revitalize this franchise, similar to how Fast and Furious did for Diesel’s other iconic blockbuster film series.

Riddick 3 has yet to be given either an official title or release date. We’ll be sure to let you know when both happen.

Source: Vin Diesel (via Facebook), Variety