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George Miller is back in the driver’s seat for his fifth Mad Max movie, and as Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga races into view, another apocalyptic adventure is here to make its mark on Tinsel Town. With Anya Taylor-Joy stepping into Charlize Theron’s shoes to take over as Furiosa, we’ve come a long way from the intimate affair of 1979’s Mad Max

After a long-awaited return to form with 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road, Furiosa is an equally long-awaited prequel that hopes to kick the series’ tires once again. Ready your War Boys because here are 12  things you never knew about the Mad Max movies.


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Mad Max Returns 

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Long before Tom Hardy was taking on the role of Max Rockatansky, Mel Gibson was slated to return following 1985’s Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Miller conjured up the idea of having a Mad Max that was one big chase sequence as early as 1987 and soon set about storyboarding the thing.

Pre-production got underway at 20th Century Fox in 2000, with Gibson ready to reprise his role and Sigourney Weaver tipped to become the female lead that would eventually evolve into Furiosa. Unfortunately, the September 11 attacks caused the dollar to crash, and the fourth Mad Max fell into development hell. 

Miller had then committed himself to Happy Feet, and by the time he returned to Mad Max 4, he told Time Out how “Mel had all that turbulence in his life.” Agreeing that the story wasn’t about an aged Road Warrior, Miller eventually agreed to recast. The rest is history, and although Fury Road was originally tipped to be an R-rated animated movie inspired by Japanese anime, Miller powered ahead with a live-action outing. 

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Familiar Faces 

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Aside from Gibson being a staple of the original trilogy, Miller has slipped a few more actors into multiple movies. While you might not have been able to spot him behind the mask of Immortan Joe, Fury Road wasn’t actor Hugh Keays-Byrne’s first rodeo. 

Long before he played Immortan Joe, Keays-Byrne was the antagonistic Toecutter in the original Mad Max. Elsewhere, Bruce Spence appeared as the Gyrocaptain in Road Warrior and played a suspiciously similar role as Jedediah the pilot in Beyond Thunderdome.

Hardy isn’t expected to appear in Furiosa, although we know Lachy Hulme is playing a young Immortan Joe. Other actors behind characters, including Rictus Erectus, The Organic Mechanic, and The People Eater, are all reprising their roles for Furiosa


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A Deadly Accident 

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Miller and Gibson both refer to 1981’s The Road Warrior as their least favorite entry in the series, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t earned its place in the saga. The Mad Max movies have always included some epic car scene to round things off, but in The Road Warrior, its death-defying final act nearly ended in tragedy.

The final stunt with the tanker roll was deemed so dangerous, the stunt driver wasn’t allowed to eat any food for 12 hours — with the production crew fearing he’d have to be rushed to surgery. However, one crash scene led to stuntman Guy Norris breaking his femur. 

The scene involves Norris as a mohawked raider who crashed his buggy, but if you look closely, you’ll see the vehicle make contact with his legs. Thankfully, Miller was a trained doctor and dealt with Norris quickly. Like keeping the scene where Leonardo DiCaprio cuts his hand in Django Unchained in the final cut, you can see the accident in The Road Warrior


Lord of the Thunderdome 

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As a campy classic, Beyond Thunderdome seemed like the perfect way to round out the trilogy. However, it nearly wasn’t a Mad Max movie at all. Despite its cult status, many feel Beyond Thunderdome is a movie of two halves. After the fight in the titular Thunderdome, the movie follows an exiled Max meeting with a tribe of kids.

The irony is that Beyond Thunderdome was originally pitched as an apocalyptic Lord of the Flies movie. It’s easy to see the themes of William Golding’s 1954 novel, with the children developing their own hierarchy in the Australian wasteland. In a 1985 interview, Miller explained how he’d wanted to revisit the story of The Road Warrior’s Feral Kid (Emil Minty), who became the movie’s narrator. 

Miller later added Max into the mix as a sort of messiah figure, with things evolving into a full-blown Mad Max threequel. Some Lord of the Flies elements are still there, although Beyond Thunderdome’s pacifist second half is largely critiqued. 


A Dog’s Life

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From I Am Legend to Fallout 4, having a canine companion can make your time in the apocalypse a little more bearable. The Mad Max movies have never been too good about fleshing out the story, leaving it to the expanded media and fans themselves to fill in the gaps. 

Fan film Mad Max: Renegade brilliantly follows Max from his first outing to The Road Warrior and explains how he came to be with his dog. Starring Liam Fountain as Max, Renegade picks up after Max steals the iconic Pursuit Special at the end of the first movie. Ironically, Fountain later auditioned to play Max in Fury Road but lost out to Hardy.

Miller had originally wanted “Dog” to be a three-legged Blue Heeler called ‘Trike’ but struggled to find a three-legged dog. Over 100 dogs were auditioned, and “Dog” (its name in real life) was due to be put down. Dog apparently had earplugs because it was scared of cars, and although it was killed by one of Lord Humungus’ Marauders in the movie, it got its own happy ending after it was adopted by one of the stunt coordinators. 


A Close Shave 

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Anya Taylor-Joy can thank Charlize Theron for Furiosa’s signature look. The original idea for it was a long-haired Barbarella-inspired character design, but according to Theron and costume designer Jenny Beavan, Furiosa’s appearance was too impractical. Considering she was working with all this heavy machinery, she would’ve likely been scalped. 

In 2020, Theron shared throwback footage of her shaving her head for Fury Road. After Theron gleefully shaved her head, she had to wear a wig for A Million Ways to Die in the West. There’s clearly a lot of love for the role, and in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Theron said she was heartbroken not to be returning for Furiosa

Theron’s dedication to playing Furiosa paid off, and after something of a slump in a post-Academy Award win for Monster, Fury Road reinvigorated her career. As for Fury Road, Beavan won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design. 




The Many Faces of Max