Usually, when a movie does well, or a franchise is a success, Hollywood can’t pump it dry quickly enough. But every once in a while, a franchise is so tied to one particular person’s sensibility, and that sensibility is so extreme and specific, that it’s not so easy to capitalize on the last entry. Sometimes, that’s a good thing.
When it comes to George Miller’s Mad Max series and the runaway success of the last entry, Fury Road, the waiting paid off. After delivering the Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, starring Mel Gibson’s adventures in Bartertown, Miller’s post-apocalyptic trilogy took another 20 plus years to see a sequel. This time it starred Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron as Max and Furiosa, fellow survivors fighting against a sadistic warlord across a vast desert. The cast endured a legendarily difficult shoot to deliver one of the decade’s best, most-acclaimed movies, and talk immediately shifted to a sequel.
It finally seems like we’re getting one, just not the way we thought.
Miller’s follow-up to Fury Road is now purported to be a prequel, detailing Furiosa’s backstory, with the younger take on the character eliminating Oscar-winner Theron from the project. Not that she wanted to go back to the dusty desert.
Normally, the prospect of a prequel about a newer character, without the person who made that character famous, would seem risky. And it probably is. But George Miller defied the odds with Fury Road, and if anyone knows how to put together another rip-roaring tale in this desperate universe, it’s the Australian director.
He explained his decision:
“For the longest time, I thought we could just use CG de-aging on Charlize, but I don’t think we’re nearly there yet. Despite the valiant attempts on The Irishman, I think there’s still an uncanny valley. Everyone is on the verge of solving it, particularly Japanese video-game designers, but there’s still a pretty wide valley, I believe.”
According to Birth Movies Death, not only will Theron not appear, neither will Hardy or Mad Max. Apparently the script calls for a different male lead who has “an angel’s face, scarred by a deep forehead wound stitched together with shiny chrome staples” named Dementus. Which, okay. I mean, Fury Road had a guy playing a flaming guitar strapped to a truck racing across the desert and it was awesome. So let’s just go with it.
It’ll be a while before we see Dementus or young Furiosa on screen. Miller doesn’t plan to mount the prequel as soon as he finishes his next movie. But based on what happened last time, I say we give the man all the time he needs.