Earlier this morning, news broke that George Miller has no real plans for Furiosa in any Mad Max sequels. In response, thousands of Fury Road fans numbly shook off their prosthetic arms before dropping to their knees and letting out a wail of agony. Here the quote from Miller’s interview with Digital Spy:
Director George Miller revealed to Digital Spy that the badass heroine only features briefly in the two Fury Road follow-ups he has planned.
“I’m not sure, is the answer,” Miller said when asked about Theron’s potential return. “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.”
The idea that future Mad Max movies may not include Furiosa isn’t exactly out of left field. In May, Charlize Theron did an interview with Entertainment Weekly that made it clear she was hesitant at best to shoot additional Mad Max sequels. Whenever a member of your cast has to bite their tongue while describing the production process ‐ and is not under contract to boot ‐ there is every reason to think he or she won’t be back. Unless the overwhelming critical response to Mad Max has changed Theron’s mind ‐ or the movie manages to shock the world and fight its way into award season as a mondo contender ‐ we should probably make peace with the fact that Theron doesn’t want to come back.
And if we’re being honest, that’s probably the best possible outcome. George Miller’s Mad Max series has always brought together the best parts of standalone storytelling with a narrative looseness that draws on the verbal tradition. Each film plays out like a local legend come to life, a community’s memory of the time that a stranger walked out of the wasteland and saved people from an oppressor. The details themselves ‐ the personality of Max or his connection with the past ‐ is less important than the way he is developed in connection to the wasteland. Think of it like the Dread Pirate Roberts in The Princess Bride; one legend, many different faces and personalities.
We should be rooting for the continued health of the franchise ‐ and as few creative restrictions on George Miller as possible ‐ over another go with a familiar character. Charlize Theron was fantastic as Furiosa, the real star of the film, but that should only encourage us to let Miller explore the wasteland more and give us new memorable characters along the way. This makes Mad Max kind of like the anti-Star Wars; whereas people always criticize the Star Wars franchise for being unable to shake the locations and characters that made the series famous, Miller is confident enough in his style to leave everything but his title character behind between films. More films should be like Mad Max. Not the other way around.