Vin's already talking about the next Riddick movies he wants to make. He says he sees two sequels—is that what you see?
"I believe there are two more movies. And I think it's good that we are looking at ending the series so it doesn't feel like an open-ended thing, like we're doing it just for monetary reasons and we've just got to keep rolling it over and rolling it over. I think there's a real end to this and I know what that last movie looks like. The real question is: is it like a two-parter rather than a one-parter? So I think we're both thinking the same thing, that there's two more movies in the series."
Do you think Furya is the priority?
"Yes. 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."
Is the return of Karl Urban's Vaako a possibility?
"It is. There's actually more shots than I was able to use just for time reasons in this version of the movie. I'm now restoring a lot of that for the director's cut DVD. So the director's cut has a full scene with Karl, not the half-scene seen here. Karl describes how he as a young Necromonger boy went on this mission that turned out to be Furya because there were other people who had Riddick's eyes just like him. So he's the key to finding Furya. And then the epilogue of the director's cut is Riddick returning to the Necromonger empire looking to deal with Vaako, who he thinks has doubletimed him, but that turns out not to be Vaako at all. Vaako has moved on and crossed over into Necromonger Heaven and Hell, and so at least in the director's cut version, we've laid groundwork for Riddick possibly following him."
The director's cut of Chronicles of Riddick had about 15 minutes of extra footage. Is that around what you're thinking for this one?
"This is probably more like eight minutes of footage, something like that. I can't recall what the running time was on Chronicles, but it was heavier on the mythology. The studios, like who was guiding us at the time, tend to steer away from mythology. They just thought it was a little too mystical. But there are people who really gravitate to that. Some people liked Pitch Black a lot as opposed to Chronicles. Some people liked Chronicles a lot as opposed to Pitch Black. I'm fine with that. I'm happy to let them debate it out. But there is a place for mythology in these movies."
What feedback did you get from Chronicles that became important as you shaped what you wanted for the third film?
"Well, we did get accused of overreaching with that film. Being too grandiose. And you know what? If that's true, I think it's an excusable thing. Because, look. If you don't overreach, you don't really know the length of your grasp. Had we had all the money in the world, we probably would have picked up right there and stuck with the end of that story. But we knew that wasn't going to be the case. We weren't a studio movie anymore. Our resources were going to be a lot closer to Pitch Black than the Chronicles of Riddick. So we tried to be smart and responsible and custom-designed a story that would fit the amount of money."
Tough question: Because of where Riddick came in the early part of Vin Diesel's career, do you think there would be a Vin Diesel if not for Pitch Black?
"[Laughs] Um....no. I think life is so full of those chaotic factors and has so many variables upon variables that I don't think you could say that. I don't think I would be here today if I hadn't shot Pitch Black, and I don't think Vin would be. Now, I believe he'd be a star. But maybe not necessarily in the Fast and Furious pictures. It was Universal who picked up Pitch Black and released it—kept it from going straight-to-video, as a matter of fact—and I think there's probably a linkage between them releasing that movie and them putting him in the Fast and Furious series."
Riddick is written and directed by David Twohy and stars Vin Diesel, Katee Sackhoff, Matt Nable, Bokeem Woodbine, Dave Bautista and Karl Urban.
Riddick is out in theaters on September 6, 2013.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.