George Miller Is About to Blow Up the Mad Max Timeline

Do you have it in you to make it epic?

Anya Taylor-Joy in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga
Warner Bros. Pictures

For the first time in over 40 years, the Mad Max saga will focus on someone other than the eponymous Road Warrior. With the upcoming Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, director George Miller’s not-too-distant dystopian future is about to get a whole lot bigger.

Furiosa will explore the origins of a fan-favorite character, Imperator Furiosa. Charlize Theron’s fierce fighter was a scene stealer in the latest Mad Max adventure, 2015’s Fury Road, but even before the actress buzzed her hair and donned a biomechanical arm, director George Miller had huge plans for the character. Fury Road made it clear Furiosa has a lush backstory, and that’s because Miller penned a screenplay about her origins that followed her life in the idyllic “Green Place” and her early years in the unforgiving Wasteland.

Per Miller, Theron was enamored with the script. The director had shared it as a means of prepping Theron for the role, but the actress had more ambitious hopes for the story. “She said, ‘Please, George, can we make this first?’” Miller recently told Empire. “It was the first time I realized that there’s something really strong in this story.”

But it won’t be Theron reprising her role as Furiosa in the prequel, partly because of the story’s epic nature. Unlike the other Mad Max films, which typically spanned a few days or weeks, Furiosa will follow 15 years leading up to Fury Road.

Furiosa will be a departure from other Mad Max films in more ways than one.

Warner Bros. Pictures

“This film follows the story that runs directly into Fury Road, for 15 years,” Miller said. Furiosa is set to follow the character as she’s taken from her idyllic home and the female warriors she called family. She’ll spend years trying to make it back to the Green Place, and though anyone who’s seen Fury Road knows how that story ends, it will be interesting to see how Furiosa grows into the warrior we know and love.

Equally interesting will be Miller’s new approach to such an iconic franchise. Lachy Hulme, who plays Fury Road villain Immortan Joe in Furiosa, likens the prequel to the work of David Lean, “but with motorbikes instead of camels.” Lean famously helmed epics like Lawrence of Arabia, which suggests Furiosa will be taking on a more expansive bent. Propulsive action is a given, but there’s a sense that Furiosa will be working to build out the world of Mad Max with some quieter moments.

It would certainly be a departure for the franchise, but Miller has taken risks before. If this one pays off, it won’t just be exciting for the Mad Max films; it could also pave the way for more epic female-led sagas in science fiction.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga opens in theaters on May 24.

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