Pitch Black had the Flash animation Slam City. The Chronicles Of Riddick had the half-hour anime Dark Fury. And continuing that tradition, Vin Diesel and David Twohy's new, belated threequel Riddick has also debuted an animated prequel. Blindsided leads us into the events of the movie, giving us a tale of political machinations, paranoia and gladiatorial combat, as the famous Furyan maintains uneasy control of his recently inherited Necromonger army.
It's possibly a little unsafe for work, due to swear words and someone getting stabbed in the eyeball.
All indications are that there will be a brief Necromonger sequence at the start of Riddick part 3, so fans of the franchise needn't fear that this is all we'll see of Karl Urban's Vako and his goth-conqueror zealots. The meat of the film, however, sees Riddick abandoned on a desolate planet with a cataclysm on the way. His only chance of escape is an emergency beacon that summons two gangs of mercenaries with two rather different agendas.
It is, everyone involved is keen to point out, a return to the series' lean, mean roots in Pitch Black, after the space-opera of Chronicles. There even seems to be an explicit manifesto in Blindsided. "Somewhere along the way I lost a step, got sloppy, dulled my own edge," growls Richard B. "Maybe I went and did the worst crime of all:
Diesel's co-stars this time out are Katee Sackhoff, Jordi Molla, Matt Nable, Dave Bautista, Bokeem Woodbine, Raoul Trujillo and Nolan Funk, and Riddick is out in the UK on September 4. You'll notice that "rule the dark" is now cropping up all over the place in very large print very near that title, as if it's potentially much more than a poster tagline. We won't be at all surprised if, at some point in its future, Riddick gets a re-brand as The Chronicles Of Riddick: Rule The Dark. But for the time being, its handle is still the short version.
For much more on Riddick, check out the latest issue of Empire, on sale right now on newsagent shelves and for the iPad. And for more movie prequel comicbook action, head for our recent feature.