If you’re looking for thrilling, action-packed science fiction movies, The Chronicles of Riddick are great films to choose. If you’re unsure where to begin, keep reading to find out all you need to know about how to watch the Riddick movies in order.
Who is Riddick?
Riddick, or Richard B. Riddick, is the main character in The Chronicles of Riddick franchise, as one might imagine. He is a ruthless murderer and your typical antihero. His morals are murky at best and you hate to love him when those morals inevitably make an appearance. Riddick’s snarky humor helps, though.
The series is a science fiction space western which takes place in the 28th century. As such, there are certain fantastical elements that make Riddick unique. In particular, Riddick has altered eyesight which allows him to see in the dark.
The altered eyesight, or eyeshine, is typical of certain members on his home-world of Furya, but Riddick is the only known Furyan alive. However, the origins of Riddick’s eyeshine is a bit contested within the series. It was first said to have been acquired in a back-alley surgery, then retconned as a natural ability that emerged.
While the enhancement allows Riddick to see in the dark, it also makes him very sensitive to light. Hence his iconic, signature tinted goggles.
The series stars Vin Diesel in the titular role and is credited as his breakout acting role with its debut in 2000.
About the Film Franchise
But Vin Diesel didn’t stop at just starring in the film franchise. He went on to become a co-producer and is in large part the reason the third film made it to theaters.
The Riddick movies were initially created by brothers Ken and Jim Wheat. Then, David Twohy stepped in to direct the first installment and also helped with the screenplay. Since the first film premiered Twohy has directed and written each subsequent installment; now often with the help of Diesel.
The first film, Pitch Black, had a relatively small budget and was a large success at the box office. This led Universal Pictures to dramatically increase the budget for the second film which, unfortunately, did not fair quite so well.
Initially, the plan for the film franchise was to mimic the success of The Lord of the Rings. There were hopes that Pitch Black would serve as something akin to The Hobbit: A standalone introduction to the world. Then, The Chronicles of Riddick would set the stage for a trilogy. Unfortunately, due to poor success at the box office, this dream never got off the ground.
In addition to not faring relatively as well at the box office as the first film, the second film also did not receive a great critical reception. This caused Universal to shelve the project, following which Twohy and Diesel obtained the rights to the franchise themselves in 2009.
The third film returned to the roots of the franchise that were established in Pitch Black and received better commercial and critical success than its predecessor.
Collectively the three films have grossed $166 million at the box office.
#1 Riddick Movies in Order of Release
But let’s finally get into the Riddick movies in order. Watching these movies in order is a relatively straight-forward task as the order of release for the full-length films is the same as the chronological order. As well, there are only three movies in the franchise currently, which makes the series perfect if you’re looking to binge it quickly.
Each movie is connected in that it follows a successive timeline; however, it is possible to watch each film as a standalone. But you should watch them in order of release, as this will allow you to grasp more of Riddick’s character and backstory.
Animated Riddick Short
However, there is one more addition to the full chronological list of the Riddick movies in order. That’s because there is also an animated short that was a straight-to-DVD release. This short acts as a bridge between the first and the second full-length film.
#2 Riddick Movies in Chronological Order
So, if you’re keeping track, the full list of the Riddick movies in chronological order will include the animated short in between the first and the second movie. The animated short isn’t essential viewing, but it is a fun extra if you enjoy the world this sci-fi space western takes place in.
Will There Be a Fourth Movie?
While it’s been nearly a decade since the last film hit theatres, a new installment does seem likely!
Riddick 4: Furya was first announced in 2014. The following year director David Twohy confirmed the fourth film will be a Riddick origin story with an R rating. Then, in 2019, Vin Diesel posted to his social media that he had received the script.
But that isn’t the last we’ve heard of Riddick. In September 2021 Vin Diesel teased to his Instagram followers that the release of the fourth film might be closer than fans think.
Then, in November 2021, he posted an old photo of himself in character as Riddick with the caption: “Great meeting today, very excited about this next chapter.”
This led fans to speculate that a 2022 release might be possible, but there has been no confirmation surrounding such rumors.
Diesel and Twohy still have a trilogy sequence in mind it appears though, as they have plans for two more movies following the fourth installment. They have a definitive end in mind for the franchise, which will hopefully be able to come to fruition.
The fourth film will finally see Riddick return to his home planet of Furya and delve more into the Underverse. The Underverse is a constellation of new stars, which the Necromonger Empire consider to be their promised land. However, not much more has become public knowledge besides that.
Additional Riddick Content
And if you really love this world, there is even more content that you can sink your teeth into — if you can track down some of this scarce material. The franchise that was spawned between two brothers has since expanded to include a whole host of other media forms. Unfortunately with the time that has passed since the franchise began, most of this content is no longer readily available.
But if you’ve found yourself wanting more Riddick as you wait for the fourth film, the below material is a great to keep an eye out for after you finish watching the Riddick movies in order.
In addition to the movies there are two video games and one game made for Android and iOS, which is Riddick: The Merc Files. The other two games, Escape from Butcher Bay and Assault on Dark Athena were made for console and PC. Escape from Butcher Bay was released for Xbox and PC, while Assault on Dark Athena was released for PS3, Xbox 360, PC, and Mac.
- The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay (2004)
- The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena (2009)
- Riddick: The Merc Files (2013)
If books are more your thing than video or phone games, then you’re also in luck if you can track down either of these two books. The Chronicles of Riddick has spawned two novelizations based on the movies. Unfortunately copies of these books have become hard to come by.
- Pitch Black: Fight Evil With Evil by Frank Lauria (2000)
- The Chronicles of Riddick by Alan Dean Foster (2004)
There are also two motion comics that have been released to coincide with the movies. The first motion comic, Pitch Black: Slam City, was made available for download from the official website. For the second motion comic, however, most of the content was added back into the director’s cut of Riddick.
- Pitch Black: Slam City (2000)
- Riddick: Blindsided (2013)
A Summary of the Riddick Movies in Order
Now that we have reviewed all of the available Riddick content at your disposal, let’s get back to talking about the Riddick movies in order. In this section we will include summaries for the three films and one animated short in the franchise.
If you have never watched these movies before, proceed with caution as the summaries for the later movies may contain spoilers for the previous installments.
But let’s get into the summaries so that you can get to watching these thrilling action-packed films.
1. Pitch Black
This is the introduction to Riddick and his world. Pitch Black was created by brothers Ken and Jim Wheat, before David Twohy joined the creative process and became the director for the live-action franchise. This installment leans more horror science-fiction than the subsequent movies, although the third did bring back some of the horror elements, and the filming took place in Australia.
The movie begins when a deep space transporter crash-lands on a desolate planet circled by three suns. Among the survivors are pilot Carolyn Fry, mystic Abu “Imam” al-Walid, cop William J. Johns, and convicted criminal Richard B. Riddick. Their first thoughts are only of survival and escape.
But then Fry finds out that the planet suffers a total eclipse every 22 years. Such an eclipse is imminent. Unfortunately, during the eclipse is when the hibernating, flesh-eating inhabitants of this strange planet awake and hunt.
At its core this is a story about survival and fighting evil with evil.
Vin Diesel obviously stars as Richard B. Riddick. Joining him are Radha Mitchell as Carolyn Fry, Keith David as Abu “Imam” al-Walid, and Cole Hauser as William J. Johns.
2. The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury
This is an animated short to bridge the first and the second full-length movies in the franchise. It picks up right where Pitch Black leaves off and provides further context to the first movie.
The short begins with Riddick, Jack, and Imam being captured by mercenaries as they attempt to leave the planet and follows the chaos that ensues. Its total runtime is only 35 minutes.
Vin Diesel returns to voice Riddick, as does Keith David to voice Imam and Rhiana Griffith to voice Jack.
3. The Chronicles of Riddick
The next full-length movie in the franchise is The Chronicles of Riddick. This installment had more than quadruple the budget as the first Riddick movie and the result was that this one is a lot more action-packed. The filming of this movie took place in Québec, Canada.
This one begins with galactic criminal and murderer Richard B. Riddick on the run with bounty hunters on his tail. He receives guidance from the ambassador to the Elemental race, Aereon, who informs him that a warrior army known as the Necromongers is annihilating all human life in the galaxy in a bid for universal dominance.
The Necromongers are a religious cult within the Riddick universe. Members of this empire are from one of the four elder races in the universe and they try to force everyone to follow their religion of Necroism. They will stop at nothing to convert everyone.
The wise Aereon urges Riddick into battle, believing that he is the one man who can defeat the Necromongers and their leader, the evil Lord Marshal. The ensuing battle takes place on the planet Helion Prime where the Necromongers are invading.
But all the power in the universe can’t change destiny.
Vin Diesel returns in his role as Riddick. He stars alongside Judi Dench as Aereon. Colm Feore stars as the Lord Marshal. The movie also stars Thandiwe Newton as Dame Vaako and Karl Urban as Vaako.
Nearly a decade passed between the second film and this installment, but with this film director David Twohy and star Vin Diesel brought the franchise back to where it all began. This is because they were able to acquire the rights to the franchise back from Universal Pictures and take the series in the direction they saw fit.
For that reason there is less action in this film and a touch more horror in line with the first film. You’ll see other parallels to the first film in this summary, especially in the introduction to the film. However, like the second film, the filming of Riddick also took place in Canada with filming locations in Vancouver, British Columbia and Montréal, Québec.
The movie opens with fugitive Richard B. Riddick being 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 has yet encountered.
His only hope for escape is to activate an emergency beacon, but that brings with it a whole different problem: Mercenaries.
The first ship carries an especially violent and lethal group. Then, the second includes a man from Riddick’s past. With time running out, Riddick realizes that neither group will leave without his head as a trophy.
Riddick must rule the dark.
Both Vin Diesel and Karl Urban return in their roles of Richard B. Riddick and Vaako respectively. Katee Sackhoff stars as Dahl and Jordi Mollà stars as Santana.
Now that you know all about the Riddick movies in order are you ready to get watching? If you’ve watched these movies before let us know in the comments which movie was your favourite!
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