Vin Diesel hints at 'big' Marvel news during Riddick's Comic-Con panel

He probably thought he would get away clean, but right at the end of today's Riddick panel, someone asked Vin Diesel about Marvel Studios.

Just when the panel was about to close, one last fan snuck this: "Vin, what is your vision for the upcoming Marvel movies?"

It was reported two weeks ago that Diesel was taking a meeting with Marvel Studios for unknown reasons, with many fans speculating that he could be cast as the Vision in an upcoming film. Diesel, grinning and grimacing at the same time, answered, "He asked the one question I am not supposed to say anything about ... poor Marvel," adding, "Big news coming at the end of this month!" (Or maybe tomorrow at the Marvel panel?)

Whatever happens with Marvel, Diesel looks like he's got another winner on his hands with Riddick. He, co-star Katie Sackhoff and writer/director David Twohy are on hand to talk about the third movie in the Riddick saga and show some footage from the Sept. 6 release.

Twohy comes out first, telling moderator Drew McWeeny and the audience that it was 13 years ago that he first came to Comic-Con with an unknown film called Pitch Black starring an unknown actor named Vin Diesel, and that he couldn't imagine that they would be back with a third movie.

Twohy then introduces Battlestar Galactica's Sackhoff, saying that he told her to come hot or not come at all, and she doesn't disappoint, striding onstage in a short, tight red leather dress. Twohy relates how he and Diesel came up with the story for the new movie while sitting in Diesel's kitchen: "We finally settled in on a survival story -- we knew we wouldn't have all the money in the world, so we thought that was the way to go."

Sackhoff praises science fiction fans for their unwavering support: "Science fiction fans are the most loyal fans in the world -- they watch things that you should give them their money back for." She adds that coming on board a Riddick movie was a no-brainer: "I've been a fan of Pitch Black and Vin since the beginning, so when this came up i was like, 'What do I need to do to be in this?'"

McWeeny brings up Diesel's enjoyment of role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, with Diesel saying, "D&D was a training ground for me. It was this wonderful game before there was anything online. We would all act out these characters we were playing, and it didn't take more than an a couple of hours before you really believed you were this witch hunter."

When they finally roll an extended trailer, it's clear that this film is more Pitch Black than The Chronicles of Riddick. It looks like they're back on the original movie's planet with the same creatures that come out in the dark, and the opening sequence shows the creatures attacking a bunker in which a gang of mercenaries are about to execute a captured Riddick. It all goes south from there as the team leader is killed and Riddick manages to kill his executioner (with a nice kick-a-knife-into-a-guy's-head move), which convinces the others to let him go.

The trailer is all quick-cutting action from there, with lots of all-terrain vehicle chases, plenty of monsters and gore. Twohy says after the trailer is finished, "When the audience asked for this movie to be rated R, it helped get the movie made, because we didn't have to spend $200 million to make the movie. It maintains the tempo and style of Pitch Black, yet it still services the mythology."

The question and answer session is relatively short, and aside from that last Marvel question, there is one sweet moment when a nervous young man asks Diesel for advice on how to be more of a badass. Diesel responds, "I am seeing a level of badassery growing in you as you speak -- continue on your journey to being a badass!"

With Vin Diesel as a role model, that kid should do just fine.