George Miller brought Mad Max back into the film going consciousness with more success than most expected. ‘Mad Max: Fury Road‘ came out to near universal positive reviews (scoring a 97% on critic aggregator RottenTomatoes) and earned $374.7 million worldwide at the box office. It’s a given that Warner Bros. is knocking on Miller’s door to spearhead a sequel, and they are in luck! Miller already has a new Mad Max trilogy in mind, but there’s a catch. There’s more road and less fury.
Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa was the break out character of ‘Fury Road’ who took everyone by surprise. Few expected a another protagonist to over shadow the film’s title character, but many feel she did. This is no slight on Tom Hardy’s portrayal of Max Rockatansky, it’s just that Theron’s Furiosa was that good. Just as the film’s success makes a sequel likely, Furiosa’s success as a character usually means that her presence will be expanded moving forward. Turns out, that may not be the case.
In an interview with Digital Spy, George Miller was asked to what extent Theron will be reprising her role.
“I’m not sure, is the answer. She’s not in the Mad Max [sequel] story, but in one of the stories there’s an interaction between [Max and Furiosa]. I can’t really say more than that because it’s still in progress.”
This sounds disappointing to Furiosa fans, but it is still early days. Miller probably had his trilogy in mind before ‘Fury Road”s release and didn’t factor in her popularity. He could rethink the choice of excluding her now that the script is in development. Or he might not. Either way, I hope it is his choice. Studios pressuring changes unwanted by the creators tend to result in weaker creations. I imagine Warner Bros. knows this.
‘Fury Road’ ends with Mad Max and Furiosa parting ways. It’s possible that George Miller makes his Furiosa-light trilogy while he or some other creator makes a Furiosa-centric film. There is an undeniable desire for studios to control profitable universes from which many stories can be told. This post-apocalyptic world could be their ticket to all manner of wasteland shenanigans.