Ever since his 2000 film Pitch Black, Vin Diesel has been fascinated with his antihero character Richard B. Riddick, a survivor who defeats any human or alien foe with a mixture of strength and cunning. When follow-up The Chronicles of Riddick performed poorly at the box office, a third installment seemed impossible. Diesel, however, used his Fast and Furious celebrity to trade with Universal for the rights to the franchise.

It took nine years and several budget hurdles to get Riddick to the big screen, but the more modestly-budgeted third film was a success. Well before the box office receipts came in, Diesel and writer/director David Twohy were already talking about fourth and fifth sequels. Now it appears that Diesel’s continued optimism and determination to keep Riddick alive has paid off in a big way.

Early last year, Diesel announced that Universal was pleased with Riddick’s DVD sales and was willing to develop the next film. It’s been a long wait, but the actor has revealed on his Instagram that Twohy will start penning the script for Riddick 4 next month. He also dropped an added bombshell about a new TV series set in the Riddick universe, Merc City.

Though he’s spelled it Furia, it’s likely the next film will focus on Riddick’s home world Furya, which was referenced in the previous films. This follows the plans that Diesel and Twohy have long held for the series, connecting the fourth installment back to the events of The Chronicles of Riddick. As director Twohy explains, the mysterious planet wiped out by the Necromongers was always an expected destination for Riddick:

“That’s where we end up. I know what that movie looks like, I’ve talked it out. It has all the right notes, it’s a great movie. The real question is: what do you do before you get there? Is it a voyage through the Necromonger universe? Do you have to earn the right to return home by some trial of fire? That’s what we’re talking about doing. Perhaps.”

As for the TV series, the plan is to focus on the mercs and bounty hunters of the film franchise universe. These guns-for-hire have featured in all three films, beginning with Riddick’s captor William S. Johns (Cole Hauser) in Pitch Black, and ending with Johns’ vengeful father (Matt Nable) and two competing crews of mercs in Riddick.

Vin Diesel as Riddick in Riddick Vin Diesel Announces Riddick 4 & TV Spinoff Merc City

If we’ve learned anything about Diesel’s passion project, it’s that there could still be a considerable amount of time before we see the next film or TV series. With Universal on board, the movie is easier to bank on. With Karl Urban’s Vaako character added to Riddick to continue the thread of the Necromonger mythology, the stage was set for the follow-up to Furya. The biggest hurdle is going to be the budget, since a return to that Chronicles of Riddick world, including a possible trek through the Underverse, is going to require a hefty amount of quality effects.

The TV show is a toss-up. Unless Diesel is planning the occasional cameo, like Bradley Cooper on CBS series Limitless, it might be hard to sell a show without him. Syfy’s moderately successful Killjoys proves a mercs-in-space series can find an audience, but Diesel’s project hopefully plans a better hook than just being generically tied to the film franchise. Whatever other characters the films introduced, the main draw for fans was always the buff, ruthless killer with the glowing eyes.

We’ll keep you updated on Furia and Merc City as development continues.

Source: Vin Diesel

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