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With its dauntingly bad domestic gross, this year’s The Last Witch Hunter arguably proved that Vin Diesel shouldn’t stray too far from surefire hits in the future. He’s certainly got enough franchises to choose from, and it looks like we’ll probably be seeing a small screen take on the Riddick franchise, as a companion series is being put into development by Universal Television. You guys aren’t afraid of the dark, are you?
Diesel’s production company One Race signed on for a first look production deal with Universal TV that will last for several years, and one of the first projects to come from that deal is a complementary series for Diesel and writer/director David Twohy’s hit film series, which kicked off with Pitch Black in 2000. Because the deal was made through NBCUniversal, it’s likely that NBC will be the network behind the project, and according to Variety, NBC Entertainment prez Jennifer Salke says that Diesel will be “an incredible asset to both the network and our television studio.” So maybe that confirms it?
A few weeks back, Vin Diesel himself put the rumor out there that such a TV series was in the making, along with another installment in the film franchise. According to him, the project is called Merc City and it will expand the scope of the films by following a different pack of mercenaries and bounty hunters than the ones that chased after Riddick. If that’s the case, then it isn’t likely that Diesel’s role on the show would stretch beyond producer, but maybe he’ll get some kind of screen time in the way Bradley Cooper has on CBS’ Limitless.
Diesel founded One Race back in 1995 and has since turned it into a cash cow; it was one of the companies behind several of the Fast and Furious films, as well as the Riddick films. For this venture onto the boob tube, One Road hired on Shana C. Waterman as the head of TV to oversee development and production. She’s a former Fox exec who was in charge of event series such as 24: Live Another Day and Wayward Pines, so we can probably expect this new project to be as action-packed and atmospheric as possible.
It’s not even clear if Diesel would have enough time to act in a TV series these days. He’s currently in the process of bringing Furious 8 and another XXX sequel to reality, not to mention Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and the next Guardians of the Galaxy flick. But if we can get a TV series based on Riddick’s universe, certainly a Fast and Furious spinoff show won’t be far behind, right?