In the distant future, the ship ''Hunter-Gratzner'' is transporting passengers in suspended animation. Among those, a Muslim preacher who goes by the title "Imam" accompanied by three young sons traveling to New Mecca, a boy named Jack, a pair of Prospecting named Shazza and Zeke, a merchant named Paris, and a law enforcement officer, William J. Johns, escorting the notorious criminal Richard B. Riddick. Riddick has illegally surgically modified eyes that allow him to see in the dark but are highly sensitive to light.
Slam City is in the form of an official, confidential prison record detailing Riddick's arrival and escape from the Ursa Luna Slam city Facility in eleven hours twenty-two minutes. Notably, it shows Riddick undergoing the surgery that gives him "eyeshine" - the ability to see in the dark - and paying for this with a pack of Kool cigarettes as mentioned in Pitch Black. William J. Johns is seen at the end of the movie and is charged with capturing Riddick.
Richard B. Riddick has been in hiding for five years, evading bounty hunters and mercenaries sent to capture him. After killing a crew led by the mercenary Toombs and stealing his ship, he heads to New Mecca on the planet Helion Prime in the Helion System, after Toombs reveals his bounty originated there. Riddick is reunited with Imam, the man he rescued in Pitch Black (film). Imam believes Riddick is a Furian, a race of warriors long thought extinct, and wants to know about his homeworld and if anyone other than himself is left. Imam believes Helion Prime is the next planet to be conquered by a mysterious force crusading across the stars. Aereon, an Air Elemental, identifies the army as the Necromongers, religious fanatics who seek to convert everyone and kill those who refuse. The Necromongers attack, and take control of the capital in a single night. In the battle, Imam is killed and Riddick escapes.
Shortly after escaping the planet from ''Pitch Black (film)'', Riddick, Jack, and the Imam are picked up by a Mercenary spacecraft. Although Riddick attempts to conceal his identity from the mercenaries by impersonating William J. Johns (in ''Pitch Black'') over the intercom, they quickly voice-print and identify him.
The Chronicles of Riddick#Plot, Riddick has become increasingly uneasy in his role as Lord Marshal of the Necromonger fleet. His refusal to swear into the Necromonger faith has caused dissent among his subjects and assassination attempts by his subordinates. After the latest attempt on his life, Riddick strikes a deal with Commander Vaako: the location of Furya and a ship to take him there, in exchange for Vaako succeeding him as the next Lord Marshal, so that he can achieve what he calls Transcendence (religion). Led by Vaako's aide, Krone, Riddick and a group of Necromongers arrive on a desolate planet. Realizing that it is not Furya, Riddick kills most of his escort when they attempt to assassinate him. In the chaos, Krone causes a landslide and buries Riddick alive.