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The Entire Riddick Timeline Explained

The world was first introduced to Richard B. Riddick via the 2000 release of "Pitch Black" starring Vin Diesel. The film was a sleeper hit, earning little praise at first but ultimately proving financially successful. That was partly due to the low production cost of $23 million (about $39.7 adjusted for inflation) and the growing fanbase that wanted to see Riddick appear in more films. They got their wish in 2004 with the release of "The Chronicles of Riddick," and though they had to wait nearly a decade for the next chapter, "Riddick" finally arrived in 2013.

The "Riddick" franchise has produced three feature films, an animated short film, three video games, a television short, two motion comics, and two novelizations. Diesel has often spoken about his love for the character and his wish to keep him going, and he's actively worked to produce a fourth Riddick film, potentially titled "Furia," for several years. Before that, he agreed to his "Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift" cameo in exchange for the rights to the character, and leveraged his own house to ensure "Riddick" could get made (per The Hollywood Reporter).

That kind of dedication to a character is admirable, and Riddick certainly has a lot of fans supporting Diesel's goals to keep expanding the franchise. The character is complex, and he has a fascinating backstory. Little is known of his life, and what is known is full of death and destruction. For someone who's lived such an interesting life in a vast and dangerous setting, there's not much known about him. Here's a complete timeline of Richard B. Riddick's life.

Riddick was born of fire and fury

Riddick was born into a doomed generation on the planet Furya in 2553. Prior to his birth, a Necromonger named Zhylaw learned of a prophecy from an Elemental seer. The prophecy foretold his ultimate demise at the hands of a Furyan male who had yet to be born. Zhylaw's solution to this problem was to take the Necromonger army to Furya and kill every newborn baby boy — many of whom were strangled with their own umbilical cords.

Riddick was strangled in this manner, possibly by Zhylaw himself, but he survived. He was one of the only known survivors of the Necromonger genocide, which resulted in the deaths of untold millions of children and the wiping out of an entire generation of boys. The planet Furya never recovered from this horrific event, though little is known of its status once Riddick reached adulthood.

As he matured, Riddick constructed a fabricated history in his mind, believing his mother tried to kill him and dumped his limp body in a trash can behind a liquor store. It would take decades before he learned the truth of his origin on Furya and the genocide that ultimately put him on the path to fulfilling the prophecy.

Riddick was saved and educated ... in the penal system

Little is known about Riddick's early childhood, but it's clear he was saved from genocide by someone. After all, he was a newborn baby, so he couldn't save himself. An unknown person took Riddick from his homeworld and altered his records so he would be protected. His official place of birth is listed as "Unknown," so even Riddick was unaware of his relation to Furya, and whoever saved him never told him anything of his past. 

This was made clear in "Pitch Black," when he incorrectly described his origins. "Think someone could spend half their life in a slam with a horse bit in their mouth and not believe?" he says. "Think he could start out in some liquor store trash bin with an umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and not believe?"

There's no information about his education besides a line in "The Chronicles of Riddick" when he says, "Maybe you should pretend like you're talkin' to someone educated in the penal system." Despite being a newborn baby when he left Furya, Riddick has memories of his time there. These have been suppressed throughout his life and would only be unlocked upon meeting the Necromonngers years later. We also see Riddick experiencing visions of Shirah, a Furyan woman he doesn't yet know. Once he meets the Necromongers, these visions unfold alongside his memories, revealing the truth of his origin.

Riddick became a Company ranger

When he was old enough, Riddick joined the military and became a Company ranger. The Company offered solutions to the problems of various planets by sending criminals or slaves to handle any situation — particularly situations with a slim chance of survival. Riddick was initially assigned to Sigma 3, where he was tasked as a sweeper. The role of a sweeper was to work the tunnels and lure out and kill Spitfires with a partner.

The work was dangerous, but it taught Riddick how to survive, which was something that would come in handy throughout his life. He also learned how to pilot ships and cheat at games of chance, which would lead to him uncovering the corruption rampant throughout the Company. He was promoted to the Strikeforce Academy, where he was further trained as a soldier to work security on the moon of Sigma 3. 

Riddick spoke out against the corruption and enslavement he witnessed, but the Company wasn't too happy with what he was saying. He addressed his concerns to the Company, and he was rebuffed. The evidence of the Company's misdeeds was all destroyed, and the Company packed up Riddick and sent him to a prison facility called Deep Storage for his trouble, beginning a long career of incarceration.

Riddick was incarcerated and on the run for years

It's unclear how long Riddick was incarcerated at Deep Storage, but however long it was, it didn't hold him. He escaped from Deep Storage and was later found and imprisoned at the Ribald S Correctional Institute for three years. He busted out of there as well, having beaten a guard and taken his uniform. Riddick spent some of his time on the run dealing vengeance to members of the Company, which put a million-credit bounty on his head. He was wanted on five planets across three systems, and plenty of bounty hunters tried to take him down.

Despite being efficient at survival, Riddick was caught numerous times over the years. He was imprisoned in at least three places during this time: the Tangiers Penal Colony, the Hubble Bay Penal Facility, and Psychological Restraining Station Q9. At the latter, he was tested and found to be a sociopathic murderer. Before long, Riddick escaped from each of these facilities and more before joining forces with a band of mercenaries contracted to fight in the Wailing Wars. Riddick survived the conflict, though he was the only one to make it out alive.

Following this, he was incarcerated once more and brought to Ursa Luna Maximum Security Prison, otherwise known as Slam City. When he was awakened from cryosleep, he immediately overpowered his captors before running into the bowels of the dark prison. He avoided the guards and escaped, having spent less than 12 hours in Slam City before leaving it in his rearview mirror.

Escape from Butcher Bay

Following his escape from Slam City, an indeterminate period of time passed before Riddick was once more captured and incarcerated. He was taken to the Butcher Bay Correctional Facility and handed over to the guards. Riddick didn't immediately escape; instead, he scoped out the facility to determine the best way to break out, which he decided was to instigate a riot. He did this by killing a gang leader who worked on the inside for the warden.

Riddick then made his way into the prison's sewer system, where he met Pope Joe. After some back and forth, Riddick convinced Joe to give him surgery to augment his night vision. After the surgery was completed, Riddick's eyes were given permanent "eye-shine" night vision, requiring him to wear welding goggles in well-lit areas. Eventually, Riddick was caught and taken from the single-max area to the prison's double-max security zone.

Before long, Riddick escaped into the mines under the prison but was caught once more and taken to the triple-max block. In this area, Inmates were kept in cryosleep so they couldn't escape, allowed only two-minute exercise sessions. That was enough for Riddick to find a flaw in the security and escape. He and another inmate tricked a couple of guards into killing the warden, stealing a ship and escaping from Butcher Bay.

Assault on Dark Athena

Following the events of Butcher Bay, Riddick was awakened from cryosleep as his ship was taken aboard the Dark Athena, a massive mercenary vessel run by a woman named Gale Revas. Riddick managed to avoid capture, and he began tearing his way through the ship's guards to try and find a ship he could steal to escape. Along the way, he met several prisoners and was given aid in his quest.

Eventually, Riddick made his way to the ship's hangar and attempted to commandeer a ship. Just as things were looking good, Revas attacked, killing Riddick's ally who was preparing the ship for launch. Riddick and Revan foughtone another in brutal combat, ending when Riddick stabbed his enemy in the neck with her own hairpin. He left the Dark Athena aboard an escape pod just as Revas reappeared, not quite as dead as Riddick believed.

Weeks later, Riddick awakened on a beach on Aguerra Prime, where he found an abandoned city. He soon learned that Revas' forces were capturing people on the planet and converting them into drones, so he decided to make his way back to the Dark Athena to stop Revas once and for all. Riddick confronted her in full armor and threw her down an elevator shaft, finally killing her. He boarded another escape pod and left Dark Athena for parts unknown.

William J. Johns' Pursuit of Riddick

After he escaped from the Dark Athena (for the second time), Riddick went on the run, and hot on his tail was William J. Johns, who documented his pursuit in a log. Johns' log picks up sometime after Riddick's escape from Butcher Bay, though it doesn't feature any exact dates. He first tracked Riddick to New Mecca but couldn't find him, believing the place was too bright. He then went to Tangiers Penal colony looking for leads on his quarry to no avail.

Johns then tracked Riddick to a market on Aquila Major and found him attempting to hide among the locals, but his prey slipped through his fingers. A week later, he tracked him to a brothel and got his right hand busted. Soon after, he torqued his ankle and took some time to heal before returning to his pursuit.

On the 53rd day of his pursuit, Johns found Dresden, a man he hoped would lead him to Riddick. Unfortunately, Dresden was dead on Lupus Five. Johns finally found Riddick on the 55th day and captured him on the 56th, using children in peril to lure him into a trap. After he got ahold of Riddick, Johns took him from the Conga System and headed to Tangiers Penal for incarceration. Riddick was loaded aboard a ship called the Hunter-Gratzener in cryosleep for transfer, and Johns prepared to take some time off to recover from his pursuit of the most wanted man in the galaxy.

Pitch Black

The year 2578 brings us to the events of "Pitch Black," which first introduced audiences to Riddick. Riddick is being held in captivity aboard the Hunter-Gratzener en route to New Mecca. William J. John is aboard, escorting his captive, when the spacecraft is peppered with micrometeoroids as it passes through the tail of a rogue comet. The resulting damage kills the captain, sending the vessel off course to crash land on a nearby planet, M6-117. Most onboard are killed, and Riddick escapes into the desert, leaving the few survivors to explore their new digs.

They find an abandoned research base, and soon after, they're attacked by creatures fearful of the light. By day, the three suns bathe the planet in illumination, but when a total solar eclipse occurs, these creatures are free to roam and hunt, explaining how the settlement became "abandoned." Riddick rejoins the group and aids in their escape with his enhanced night vision, but before long, the party is picked off by the creatures, one by one.

Riddick leads the dwindling group to a dropship so they can escape, but it's not easy. The creatures continue devouring everyone they can, and only a few survivors remain when Riddick gets to the ship. He initially attempts to leave the others behind but is persuaded to collect them. He's injured, but manages to retrieve the remaining survivors and escape from the planet aboard the dropship, blasting as many creatures as he can with the ship's exhaust. When the people he's saved ask what they should tell authorities about him, he says, "Tell 'em Riddick's dead. He died somewhere on that planet."

Dark Fury

Shortly after escaping M6-117, Riddick and his two fellow survivors, Jack and Imam, are scooped up by a mercenary ship called the Kublai Khan. Initially, Riddick attempts to impersonate William J. Johns, who died on the planet, but he's quickly identified by his voiceprint. Riddick and company attempt to evade their pursuers but are soon captured and separated. Riddick has a bomb injected into his neck and is brought before Antonia Chillingsworth, the owner of the Kublai Khan.

Instead of packing up her prize and taking him in for the bounty on his head, Chillingsworth has other plans. She collects criminals by freezing them, and Riddick is the intended prize piece of her collection. Before putting him on the shelf, though, she tests his skills by chucking him into an arena to fight a pair of beasts called Shrill. Riddick dispatches the two aliens and removes the bomb from his neck, using it to blast his way out of the arena to escape.

Riddick, Jack, and Imam make their way to the Kublai Khan's hangar to steal a ship and escape, but they are met by several bad guys before they can leave, including one from Riddick's past: Alexander Toombs. Riddick buries his knife in the man's eye, severely wounding him, but is shot in the shoulder by Chillingsworth. Jack takes her out with a bullet to the head, and the three manage to escape. Riddick plots a course to New Mecca to drop off his pals.

The Chronicles of Riddick

For the next five years, Riddick spends his time on the desolate ice planet U.V. 6, but Toombs catches up with him in 2583. It doesn't go well for the bounty hunter, and Riddick manages to steal his ship. He sets his course for New Mecca on Helion Prime after Toombs tells him the bounty on his head originated there. When he arrives, he meets up with Imam, who tells him he believes Riddick is a Furyan and thinks the same people who destroyed his home are on their way.

This is proven true when the Necromongers attack and take over the capital city. Imam is killed, and Riddick escapes only to return and take vengeance. He's captured and found to be a Furyan, leading the Lord Marshal to order his execution. Riddick escapes once more and is caught by Toombs, who takes him to the Crematoria prison moon, where he's reunited with Jack, who is now going by the name Kyra. 

As the Necromongers hunt Riddick across the stars, the truth of the prophecy and the Lord Marshall's role in destroying Furya are revealed. The Necromongers arrive and nearly capture Riddick, but he escapes and infiltrates the Necromongers' flagship on Helion Prime. He challenges the Lord Marshal, and they fight as Marshal's second-in-command, Vaako, steps in to try and replace his leader. Ultimately, Riddick prevails in fulfilling the prophecy, killing the Lord Marshal and taking his place as the Necromongers bow before their new leader.


Riddick spends the next five years as the Lord Marshal of the Necromongers, but he largely neglects his duties, calling his crown a noose around his neck. This incurs the wrath of his commanders, many of whom attempt to kill him or send assassins to do their work for them. They all fail. In 2588, he orders the Necromongers to bring him to Furya, but they take him elsewhere and try to kill him. Believing they have accomplished their task, the Necromongers leave the planet, but Riddick is still alive.

He survives for six months before finding Mercenary Station P7, which he uses to send a distress beacon to any nearby mercenary vessels. Riddick is met by two separate crews: one that wants him dead for the bounty, and another that wants answers regarding William J. Johns' death. Riddick hides and takes out members of the crews as he grounds their ships. He's eventually captured and interrogated as a storm hits, unleashing deadly creatures from the mud.

The survivors battle it out with the monsters and race across the surface to retrieve the two ships' power nodes. Several die, but Riddick survives and manages to fight and kill several of the creatures. He and Boss Johns, William's father, escape in separate ships. Riddick returns to the Necromonger fleet to learn that his second-in-command, Vaako, has seized his throne. He watches as Vaako's ship makes its way into the Underverse, the so-called "promised land" of the Necromonger Empire.