Mad Max: Fury Road not only revitalized the Mad Max franchise on the big screen after a thirty year absence (since Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome released in 1985); director George Miller’s big-budget return to his own B-movie post apocalyptic action franchise has also become one of the most critically acclaimed films released thus far in 2015. Miller recently addressed rumors that he’s in line to direct a standalone Superman movie for Warner Bros. and DC next, having said that he instead plans to work on a movie that’s smaller in scope – not as equally larger or larger than Fury Road
However, that doesn’t mean Miller is done playing in the Mad Max universe altogether. The filmmaker previously revealed that he’s already completed script work for additional Mad Max movies, as a result of the extended pre-production for Fury Road; current Max Rockatansky actor Tom Hardy (who took over the role from Mel Gibson in Fury Road) is likewise contracted for additional Mad Max films. It now appears the question may be when, not if, Miller will direct another Mad Max film – and which story will he tell, once WB grants the green-light.
Miller, during an interview with Top Gear, recounted the history of Fury Road‘s delayed production; first as a result of 9/11 (which affected the film’s budget), then again years later, when climactic changes in Australia forced Miller and his production team to shoot in Nambia instead. As Miller explained, though, this led to scripts for a Fury Road trilogy being developed earlier than expected:
“… But in this process, we had dug down deep into the backstory, not only of the characters, but of every vehicle. How the steering wheels became religious artefacts and things like that. So we ended up with two scripts, without really trying. We’re talking to the studio [Warner Bros] about it as we speak, but which one of the two stories will happen next, I’m not so sure.”
Vertigo, since Fury Road was released in theaters, has published comic books that explore the history of select characters in the film; including, a heavily-criticized backstory for Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) and the Brides. Fortunately, the Fury Road movie sequels aren’t expected to include any such material, while it seems unlikely that Furiosa and the Brides will even appear in any followups that do come to pass. Theron, as recently as August 2015, indicated she’s not set for more Mad Max films and hasn’t heard anything about the planned sequel(s). Then again, it’s best to keep in mind that nothing in set in stone yet regarding the Mad Max series’ future – as noted by Miller in his Top Gear interview:
“I want to do a small film without special effects before I do any of that, just to do it quickly. We shot Fury Road for eight months… that’s a lot. Every day in the heat and the dust, doing these stunts, it’s very wearing. We’ve got two more planned, but at some point in the future.
Both Hardy and Oscar-winner Theron will be keeping busy while the Mad Max‘s sequels’ fate remains somewhat up in the air; Hardy has two late 2015 releases to promote (Legend and The Revenant), while Theron next appears in the Snow White spinoff The Huntsman and looks to begin filming the spy thriller The Coldest City in the foreseeable future. It’s also worth noting that although Fury Road both tapped into the cultural zeitgeist and grossed enough at the worldwide box office ($374 million against a $150 million budget) to justify the continuation of the franchise, the property is not as big a priority for WB right now compared to other franchises – be they the DC Extended Universe or the Harry Potter series, both of which will return to theaters in 2016.
The Mad Max franchise has traditionally followed the Max Rockatansky character as he wanders from community to community in the series’ ruined Earth setting, so it would make sense for the Fury Road followups to continue that trend – rather than have Max reunite with Furiosa on another adventure for contrived reasons. There’s also no reason that a Furiosa-less Fury Road sequel can’t similar intriguing themes and concepts as its predecessor (while delivering the same level of action/spectacle), seeing as the mythology for the next two Mad Max films was fleshed out simultaneously during development on the Fury Road narrative and version of the Mad Max universe.
Of course, if Miller’s planned Fury Road sequels (for whatever reason) never come to fruition, it would not, per se, be the worst thing, either. After all, on its own, Fury Road elevated the Mad Max franchise into a work of high-art “Ozploitation”, and provided an enjoyable self-contained viewing experience that doesn’t require additional installments to tell a complete story. Still, if Miller has more ideas for the Mad Max universe, then there will no doubt be an audience that’s ready and willing to hear them out.
Mad Max: Fury Road is now out on DVD and Blu-ray. We’ll bring you more information on the Mad Max franchise’s future when we have it.
Source: Top Gear