For those of you who, like me, have been long awaiting the follow-up to 2004’s The Chronicles of Riddick, itself the sequel of 2000’s Pitch Black, you’ll no doubt be well aware that the past year has seen some brilliant progress for the project. Diesel and director David Twohy have been working hard to get this into production, and though it has by no means been an easy road, with production even being shut down in the past few months because of financing issues, it looks like things are finally and most definitely on.

Vin Diesel, a particularly active social networker amongst the Hollywood community, has treated us to plenty of great concept art in recent months (which you can catch up on here), and now he’s given us something even better: the first image of him returning as Riddick on the set of the film. And man, does he look awesome.

The first film in what will become the Riddick trilogy was impressively successful, taking its $23m. budget and turning it into more than $50m. at the box office, which doesn’t often happen with sci-fi thrillers. The second film was a little more problematic, with Universal throwing a huge budget at the film of just over $100m., and it came up about even at the box office.

Importantly, though, regardless of the box office performance of the second film (which no doubt will have turned a substantial profit upon home video release), the films have garnered a big cult following, and with good reason. The Riddick character is like few others, and Diesel’s performances of him have been stellar. As a fan of both the original films, I naturally can’t wait for this to come out.

Karl Urban should be reprising his role as Vaako too, with Katee Sackhoff, Jordi Mollà, and Nolan Funk all in talks to join the cast.

As of about a year and a half ago, the plot looks a little like this:

“Betrayed by his own kind and left for dead on a desolate planet, Riddick (Diesel) fights for survival against alien predators and becomes more powerful and dangerous than ever before. Soon bounty hunters from throughout the galaxy descend on Riddick only to find themselves pawns in his greater scheme for revenge. With his enemies right where he wants them, Riddick unleashes a vicious attack of vengeance before returning to his home planet of Furya to save it from destruction.”

But there certainly could have been some changes to the script in the months since then. The title, too, is still pending. It’s been tentatively known as Riddick for some time, and more recently been referred to The Chronicles of Riddick: Dead Man Stalking as well, so we’ll have to await official confirmation on that one too. Whatever it’s called, and whatever it’s about, I can’t wait for it to come out. Here’s the brilliant first image of Diesel back as Riddick. As usual, click to enlarge.