Now that Mad Max 4 (titled Mad Max: Fury Road) has begun filming, it's high time that fans of the series get their first, closer look at the design of the film. New photos and concept art straight from the film's set have found their way online, which prove - despite an entirely new cast - that this is still Mad Max.
Unfortunately, like the set photos that were released by cast members including Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, there are no images of Tom Hardy in the iconic Mel Gibson role. Photos of Hardy in public have shown a tremendous beard is growing beneath that chiseled jaw, but how that works in terms of Mad Max's overall appearance is unclear.
Our guess is that the decision to have Hardy abandon a clean-cut look will help emphasize the sense of place in Fury Road. These are, after all, savages that must rely on makeshift vehicles and weapons to survive – making daily activities like bathing and shaving unrealistic.
There is one particular piece of concept art/storyboard in the bunch that appears to be of Max, and actually more closely resembles Mel Gibson than most fans of the series were expecting. This could also be because the concept art was drawn up before Tom Hardy assumed Gibson's role, but either way, fans will find it comforting to see a similar design aesthetic.
If there was any expectation that Mad Max: Fury Road wasn't going to feature some crazy outfits a la Tina Turner in Beyond Thunderdome, throw them out the window because Fury Road is keeping those elements well intact. From the cars to the crude weapons, that post-apocalyptic-wasteland feel appears to be well preserved.
Part of that preservation certainly must have come from Director George Miller, who helmed the previous three Mad Max films in the '80s. It's been a pipe dream of George's – who has been keeping busy with kid-friendly fare like Happy Feet Two – to get Fury Road off the ground, and it's finally happening. As Charlize Theron confirmed, shooting began early this summer, so don't be surprised if these unofficial set photos are followed by Warner Bros. approved ones.
Mad Max: Fury Road is expected to hit theaters some time next year.