Pitch Black Ending, Explained: Does Riddick Betray Carolyn?

Released in 2000, ‘Pitch Black,’ is directed by David Twohy and is the first installment in the “Riddick-verse,” The movie stars Vin Diesel, Radha Mitchell, and Cole Hauser. It’s a sci-fi horror action movie that utilizes the classic group survival storyline to tell the tale of an antihero’s journey. Set in a world where Outerspace travel is the norm, ‘Pitch Black’ follows the story of a commercial transport spaceship with a vicious prisoner, Riddick, on board. After some unforeseen space interference sends the ship crashing down to a desert planet, only a handful of passengers survive. The survivors at first only concern themselves with finding shelter, a way to escape, and on Johns’s insistence— Riddick. However, when danger starts lurking nearby in the form of bloodthirsty aliens, the group soon realizes Riddick is not the worst of their problems.

Eventually, the group’s reluctant captain, Carolyn Fry, realizes that the strange planet with three suns and seemingly endless daylight hours goes through a total eclipse every 22 years— and the next one is approaching fast. Left with no other options, the group teams up with Riddick in pursuit of survival and an escape from the doomed planet. The movie employs an interesting cast of characters and dynamics to keep the story engaging. Due to the survival-based nature of its premise, it instantly offers the audience with questions about the character’s fates right off the bat. Therefore, here’s everything you need to know about the ending of ‘Pitch Black.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!

Pitch Black Plot Synopsis

Carolyn Fry, a pilot, wakes from her cryosleep sooner than she is supposed to when her transport ship Hunter-Gratzner is sent hurtling off-course onto a planet after taking a hit from some sort of space debris. Finding the captain of the vessel dead, Fry and Owens try to stop the ship from crashing onto the planet. Fry realizes she has to lose some of the dead weight from the ship but is stopped by Owens when she tries to get rid of the passengers. The ship barely manages to avoid a complete crash, and the harsh landing leaves numerous passengers dead— including Owens. Among the survivors is a nemesis duo consisting of William J. Johns and his prisoner, Riddick, an escaped convict.

Johns and Fry take charge of the group of survivors, including a Muslim priest referred to as “Imam” and his fellow young pilgrims, Shazza and her partner Zeke, a kid called Jack, and an antique enthusiast, Paris. As the group breaks up to look for water and fix up the ship, they remain on the lookout for Riddick. Soon, they come across an old and abandoned geologist settlement and find a workable ship there. However, their victory is short-lived when some mysterious creature ruthlessly kills Zeke. After discovering the existence of dangerous nocturnal aliens on the planet, Johns decides to strike up a deal with Riddick.

As the group prepares for escape, they soon come across an unnerving discovery. A total and complete eclipse overtakes the planet every 22 years when all three of its suns are blocked off by another planet. The last such eclipse had left the entire colony of geologists bathed in darkness, ultimately leading to their deaths at the hands of the aliens. And the next eclipse is only a few hours away. Left to rely upon Riddick and his ability to see in the dark, the group must now somehow escape this nightmare of a planet with their lives still intact.

Pitch Black, Ending Explained: Does Riddick Betray Carolyn And The Others?

Riddick, from the get-go, is painted out to be something almost feral and animalistic. He’s a convicted murderer who seems to have no remorse regarding his actions. In fact, in the beginning, it isn’t hard to think the plot will unfold in a slasher thriller fashion with Riddick as the antagonist. However, as a bigger threat is introduced to the characters, it allows them to see Riddick in a different light. Carolyn, similar to Riddick, is initially introduced with graying morals and a self-serving streak. Carolyn is the first person who is willing to give Riddick an actual second chance. However, Johns as the only person who knew about Riddick and the details of his crimes, tries to sway Carolyn’s trust in Riddick. He tells her about how Riddick had previously escaped by killing a pilot and stealing their ship. Johns seems to think Riddick also plans on doing something similar this time.

Therefore, when the group figures out how to make an abandoned spaceship work again, Johns convinces them to fix everything else up before they journey back to their crashed ship in order to get battery cells from there. However, once they do make it back, the time has steadily run out, and the suns start to eclipse and trap everyone inside the remains of their old spaceship. As the group gets picked off by the murderous aliens one by one, they eventually come to two conclusions. One: light is not just unpleasant to the nocturnal aliens but outright harmful as well. And two: their only scope of survival is to travel back to the settlement with the bulky cells.

Led now completely by Riddick, the group travels across a dark desert with barely enough light to get them by and swarms of deadly aliens at their heels. After a few run-ins with some of the aliens and an altercation between Riddick and Johns— the group eventually waters down to just Carolyn, the Imam, Jack, and Riddick. Things start to look bleak for them when the aliens start tearing into their own, creating chaos of blood and flesh around the group. Soon it starts to rain. With their fire torches almost extinguished, Riddick guides Carolyn, the Imam, and Jack into a little nook in the rocks. But Riddick does not join them and instead closes the mouth of the pseudo-cave close and takes off toward the ship on his own.

However, he doesn’t get to escape the planet alone. Carolyn— after finding some glowing bugs in the cave, follows Riddick. At first, Riddick tries to convince her to leave the planet with him and, in the process, abandon the Imam and Jack. Carolyn is torn between what is right and what is safe, but she is also weighed down by the guilt of her previous actions from the start of the story. She realizes she can’t leave the others to die and manages to convince Riddick to go back for them. In the end, Riddick rescues the others but loses Carolyn on their way back.

Is Johns Dead or Alive?

Upon surviving the crash, Johns is at once attacked by Riddick, thus immediately establishing the rivalry between them. Johns is the one who captures Riddick and warns everyone else against him. He’s quick to become the implied leader of the group and is generally assumed by everyone else to be a cop. However, Riddick reveals to Carolyn that Johns wasn’t really a cop but rather a mercenary who had only imprisoned Riddick for the bounty on Riddick’s head. Carolyn is reluctant to believe Riddick at first but then walks into Johns as he’s taking a shot of morphine. Carolyn realizes that Johns could’ve used the drug to help out Owens but had purposefully hidden it from the dying man.

With his character already tarnished in both Carolyn’s and the audience’s minds, John then takes it a step further. On their journey back to the settlement’s ship, John tries to recruit Riddick’s help in using one of the last survivors as bait against the aliens so the rest of them can escape quicker. Worse yet, Johns seems to want to use Jack— the young, scared kid, for the bait. Jack, fascinated by Riddick’s toughness and ruthlessness, had started idolizing Riddick in some ways. Riddick, probably either fond of Jack or just simply hateful of Johns— or both— decides not to agree to Johns’s plans and instead suggests they use Johns as bait. As the two fight each other, Riddick eventually manages to slash Johns, making him an easy target for the aliens, hence leading to Johns’s gruesome death.

How Can Riddick See In The Dark?

One of the most memorable characteristics about Riddick that eventually also helps him survive through to the end of the movie is his ability to see in the dark. Riddick often wears a pair of dark glasses, but when his eyes are visible, the irises are seen to have an unnatural metallic sheen to them. Riddick’s eyes make it possible for him to see in the dark while, at the same time, they also have heightened sensitivity to light. This is due to the fact that Riddick had his eyes surgically altered.

Riddick had spent a lot of time in prison. The kind of prison that he had been put in was one where no daylight was present. Much like the planet when it undergoes an eclipse, Riddick has also been forced to live in the darkness for a long time. In order to ensure no one could sneak up on him at the prison and harm him, Riddick had bribed a doctor to add a surgical shine to his eyes. With this shine, Riddick is now able to see in the darkness and has to use goggles to protect them from the light.

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