After the original Pitch Black (2000) proved a success on DVD, Universal became interested in making a sequel. Writer/director David Twohy wrote the screenplays for not one, but three sequels. He and Vin Diesel put them into separate leather binders and presented them to Universal, along with the key for the first binder.
Toomb's line regarding Crematoria, "If I owned this place and Hell, I'd rent this place out and live in Hell," is paraphrased from an infamous quote General Phil Sheridan made during post-Civil War Reconstruction, in which he said "If I owned Hell and Texas, I would rent out Texas and live in Hell."
Vin Diesel wanted Dame Judi Dench to play Aereon, and went to great lengths to get her. A long-time fan of Dench, he had her dressing room filled with bouquets of flowers, and also advised her that they could not begin casting the movie until she agreed to accept the role.
In her autobiography "And Furthermore," Dame Judi Dench says that she never really understood what was going on in the movie, but she enjoyed the experience of making the movie, and she thought the sets were great.
The fighting style used by Riddick is a messy variation of the martial art Kali. Kali is characterized by straightforward, powerful attacks, and often is used with blunt weapons like a staff or two pieces of bamboo (called Kali sticks).
David Hayter wrote a prequel about Riddick, growing up and being drafted into a war where he'd get blamed for his entire platoon's death (by Johns, whose callousness was actually to blame). This would result in the huge payday on his head and the many encounters with Johns, some good, some bad, and many lost loves and lost friends that rendered him the cold, heartless monster he was at the beginning of Pitch Black.
The original script involved Riddick fighting the hammerheaded creatures in the underground of a city planet for entertainment. He is captured by a merc named "Big Foe" (Who turns out, in the third act, to be Jack from Pitch Black) and brought back to the planet only to find that the creatures were sentient and wanted revenge on Riddick as dictated by the evil god they worshiped.
In a scene that was cut and edited from The Purifier death scene. The Purifier opens his shirt revealing a glowing hand print on his chest and Riddick looks down and sees he too has a glowing hand print on his chest. In the back story: The handprints on their chests is called "Wrath of the Furyans", which Furyans have the ability to transfer energy to one another.
The line, "Now look at you... all back of the bus and shit," was not originally supposed to be said by Toombs, but Nick Chinlund approached David Twohy and asked if he could be given the line because he really liked it.
Originally "Rated R for violence" as was the first film Pitch Black (2000), this film was envisioned as a PG-13 rated film. Universal appealed the original R-rating, but was not successful. The film was later edited down from the R and was given a "PG-13 for intense sequences of violent action and some language". An unrated version, with more violence and language was later released.
The entire film was shot at Mammoth Studios in Burnaby, British Columbia, a former Sears warehouse. The studio is only smaller than all of the stages on the Universal Studios lot - 310,000 square feet.
When Riddick meets Toombs face to face, he asks what the bounty on his head is priced at. Toombs first lies, and says a million but is coaxed into telling the truth of 1.5 million. Five years prior, the price displayed on Riddick's rap sheet in "Dark Fury" was roughly 1.1 million- so within five years, the bounty was raised about 400,000.
Akiva Goldsman 's script was about Riddick and Kyra (Jack) hijacking a prison satellite and landing it on a living planet, which launched various creatures made from elements such as air, fire, wind and water at them to try and stop them before trying to kill them with a giant storm.
In the first shot of Riddick and the inmates taking off to reach the hanger, the bodies of Toombs and one of the Hell Hounds can be seen in the background. A deleted scene was shot where Toombs attempts to stop Riddick from leaving, only to be ambushed by the Hell Hound that Riddick befriended. Toombs and the Hound kill each other, and then the party takes off for the Hanger. The first shot was recycled into the film.
The Planet UV6 is made up of land areas called "Fingerprint Terrain". The majority of the effects work for the scenes on this planet were done by "Rhythm and Hues" in Marina Del Rey, California in April and May of 2004.
An direct-to-DVD 35 minute animated short film "The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury" was made, and released to connect "Pitch Black" and "The Chronicles of Riddick" together, with Vin Diesel providing the voice of Riddick. The short film takes place shortly after "Pitch Black", and five years before "The Chronicles of Riddick", which Riddick, Imam, and Jack are captured by the crew of the mercenary ship "The Kublai Khan", which Riddick and his companions discover the imperial woman Antonia Chillingsworth is using her mercenary army to capture criminals, but instead of transporting them to prison planets, and collecting the reward money, Chillingsworth has the criminals turned into living statues for her art collection. In the short film, Toombs is a member of the Kublai Khan crew, and Jack makes her first kill by killing Antonia Chillingsworth, Riddick drops off Imam and Jack on Helion Prime, when Imam becomes concerned for Jack that she will become a cold-blooded killer liked Riddick, and Toombs swears to go after Riddick, and collect the bounty on his head.
The reason why the film has two narrators, Riddick and Aereon, is because the story is being told from their points of view, and Aereon's narration at the beginning of the film is to introduce the Necromongers into the story, and to explain who they are, and their backstory. Riddick, who is the main character of the films, is the narrator of all of them.
In The Purifier's back-story: When The Lord Marshal attacked the Furyan planet to prevent the seer's prophecy of his death at the hands of a Furyan. The Purifier's life was spared and The Purifier was converted and had fallen under the Necromonger influence.
Alexa Davalos and Dame Judi Dench would both later work with Daniel Craig: Dame Judi Dench would star opposite Daniel Craig in the James Bond films Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008), and Skyfall (2012), and Alexa Davalos would star opposite Daniel Craig in Defiance (2008).
The short film The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury (2004) which is a prequel to the film revealed why Kyra (Jack) was mad at Riddick for leaving her. After Jack shot and killed Antonia Chillingsworth. Imam expressed his concern with Riddick that Jack will become a cold-blooded killer like him and Riddick decided to drop off Jack and Imam on Helion Prime and went into seclusion on the 6th planet in the UV system.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
The Purifier's line, "I've done unbelievable things in the name of a faith that was never my own," was not originally in the script. It was improvised by Linus Roache and David Twohy kept it in the film.
Riddick's Body Count: 57. Total on-screen and storied kills, would be 77 - the beginning shots of Riddick's carnage with the duel blades on Crematoria, were shown twice from different camera angles. He kills ten before the shot changes. And story wise, Vaaco told his wife that Riddick downed twenty of his men in a heartbeat, but only ten soldiers were shot on screen.
David Twohy decided not to set The Chronicles of Riddick (2004) again on the desert planet which Riddick, Imam, and Jack had escaped from at the end of Pitch Black (2000) and again make a deadly encounter with that planet's flesh eating alien creatures. David Twohy wanted to create for the character of Riddick a mythology, and decided to have Riddick go up against The Necromongers.
The Purifier's death scene, and the speech he makes to Riddick about all the things he had done as a Necromonger, was a nod to the death of Roy Batty and the speech he gave to Rick Deckard, about things that he saw, that Deckard would not believe in Blade Runner (1982).
A critic called the film "Conan in Space". As a young warrior, The Lord Marshal of the Necromongers invaded and attacked Furia and massacred the Furyan population, all except for one Furyan baby - Riddick. When, The Lord Marshal was warned about a prophecy that a Furyan warrior would kill him, which Riddick fulfills the prophecy and becomes the new Lord Marshal.