At 46, Diesel has already rebooted one franchise: The Fast and the Furious—its sixth iteration just grossed almost $800 million globally. Now he’s aiming to do the same with Riddick, out Sept. 6, in which he plays a space mercenary dropped on a hostile planet. It’s the third installment in a sci-fi series last seen in 2004. Here, he talks to TIME.
TIME: You’ve now done a bunch of Riddicks and a bunch of Fast and the Furiouses. What would you say is the difference between making a one-off and making a movie that’s part of a franchise?
Vin Diesel: With a one-off you just have to worry about the character for one picture; with multiple pictures you have to think about what that character does over a long period of time. None of the actor methods ever discussed what it would be like to play a character on film for over a decade, and what it must be like to return to a character and imagine the time off-screen, which is interesting. There’s something as an actor that I enjoy about evolving characters.
You fight some scary aliens in Riddick. Are there any creatures that you’re scared of in real life?
Huh. Uh . . . dinosaurs?
I meant creatures that actually exist now.
I would say King Kong, but i’m not really scared of King Kong. That would be inaccurate.
So you’re basically not scared of anything, ever.
That’s not at all what i’m saying. The thing I’m scared of most is not fulfilling my work. There’s so much anxiety around trying to get a movie made that you don’t really get to be afraid of anything else.
There’s a line in the movie about how everyone has bad days, but this one is legendarily bad. Have you ever had a legendarily bad day?
You know, i don’t even think about bad days.
What about a legendarily good one?
A day with my kids. A day with my kids is the best day.
What would you do?
Everything. We’d have picnics, we’d be playing chess. My 5-year-old daughter, her new pastime with daddy is playing chess.
Sounds like the opposite of being dropped on a hostile planet.
It is the antithesis of being dropped on a hostile planet.
Congrats on your new star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. What was that like?
Surreal. It was a very good good day. It was for the family, from my parents to my kids, from my 80-year-old father to my 3-year-old son. It was so weird to see your name on a star and you’re looking at that star going, ‘Can I put another thousand names on here that all deserve to relish in this accomplishment?’
Do you have plans for another Riddick movie?
There’s a script they’re working on now. At this point it’s just a matter of scheduling and timing to get this movie out and catching people up to speed with this universe. But yeah, I’m very much committed to this world, committed to the character, committed to the franchise, and very much excited about the following chapters and the places this character will go.
Which will last longer, in terms of installments: Riddick or The Fast and the Furious?
Unfair. that’s like asking which child I love more!
Read any good books lately?
I just read a book called Of Dice and Men about Dungeons and Dragons. As somebody that hasn’t delved into role-playing games, it’s still a kind of interesting account of how this whole gaming generation began.