Mad Max: Wasteland Musings

I was going to post this under movies and TV but I’m not so sure anyone wants to listen to me obsess over the series for 17 posts as I solidify my theories after seeing Furiosa. But let’s start there since its the most logical point currently.

WARNING: There will be spoilers. I will do my best to hide the stuff that could give away big details but I may overlook something along the way.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is a prequel of sorts to 2015’s Fury Road, showing a fair portion of the 15 years leading up to the events of Max and Furiosa’s penultimate chase and the shift of power in the wasteland. Taking place from the view of Furiosa throughout her lifetime, its a much slower paced but more narratively dense piece of cinema compared to Fury Road, and feels more in line with the older movies in the series because of it. Doing a prequel is a bit of a challenge for most series as we usually know where its going and how it ends, but we don’t always know the steps it takes to get to that point. George Miller and his team however make it seem easy, with Furiosa providing an easily understood story that builds a more immersive world with nearly every detail, building depth for not only the titular main character but other returning members of Immortan Joe’s wasteland hierarchy along the way. It also surprisingly seems to make the game canonical with several events and dialogue, but Ill come back to this a bit later.

Making a Mad Max film without Max himself seems like a risk that could potentially doom a movie, especially considering the changes in cast along the way, but Furiosa’s cast does an outstanding job for the most part. Stepping into the dust covered boots of Charlize Theron is a duo of actresses, Alyla Browne taking the role of a young Furiosa for the first portion of the film, and Ana-Taylor Joy admirably filling in the later half. Both do a great job of portraying the character in a manner that feels natural and shows believable change as her life passes. Chris Hemsworth takes on the role of Dr. Dementus and is perhaps one of the weaker performances of the movie for me. It feels like he never quite hits the level of absurdity that I want from a Mad Max villain, but has plenty of moments of brutality and mental instability common among these films. His costume design does have a subtle nod to his “phases” as the movie goes on that I really liked as well. My girlfriend couldn’t separate him from his performances as Thor for a majority of the film, and in some ways I think that’s a valid point as his delivery does echo that role at times. Other returning characters include John Howard’s People Eater, Nathan Jones as Rictus Erectus, Angus Sampson’s Organic Mechanic, and Immortan Joe who is played this time by Lachy Hulme. Hugh Keays-Byrne played Joe in Fury Road, but sadly passed away between films. This wasn’t Keays-Byrne’s first role in Miller’s apocalyptic world either as he played villain Toe Cutter in the original film as well, but he isn’t the only returning actor for the series. Josh Helman made a surprise return but not as the war boy Slit, instead making an appearance as the brother of Rictus, a somewhat familiar character known as Scrotus. Those who have played the game will recognize this as the main antagonist for Max. About the most underused character is a possible love interest and teacher in Imperator Jack, whose role could have used more screen time, but may have also slowed the film’s pace to a detrimental degree.

Just as Fury Road before it Miller invokes oversaturate colors, center focused action and various frame speeds, Furiosa stands strong as a piece of cinema with deep ties to its sister in the creation as well as the narrative. On the other hand it has more CGI than any film in the series before, most of which is well produced but a few pieces stand out poorly. This is probably due to the fact that the film series as a whole is known for using as many practical effects as possible throughout their creation. Nearly every single part of Fury Road’s relentless action was practical and it showed, elevating the film in ways that are rarely seen anymore. Furiosa has plenty to enjoy still but the shift towards CGI could have an impact on future films in the series. The sound design on the other hand is still absolutely top notch, from the roaring engines and war cries to the thunderous soundtrack. Its possibly not as strong as Fury Road’s main theme at any singular point but the overall quality is still there.

Rolling in to one of the most important parts of these films, the cars. Oh do they deliver here, as always with some absolute monstrosities and bad ass beasts. However there is something missing this time around as well. Mad Max has always had vehicles that could be traces back to their origins, from the Falcon XB Interceptor to the Cadillac Giga Horse, these all had recognizable details intact. Furiosa sometimes loses this trend and instead goes as outlandish as possible in some cases. These cars are replicated by fans across the world and are clearly cars made for and by gearheads and auto enthusiasts but some of the vehicles in Furiosa go so wild that they may be impossible in the real world without some serious money and dedication. You see less of the menacing muscle cars you could build at home and more of the massive monsters that can barely be recognized as any particular car. Its not a huge sticking point and they do look amazing, but it does dampen the semi realistic nature the films usually hold close.
It also features more bikes than other films, with something like 4000 in a couple scenes making up Dementus’s army. These sadly are not all real, but at least 200 were made with the showstopper being Dementus’s war chariot featuring three bikes, one of which is powered with a radial light aircraft engine. I also spotted a pair of Volkswagon buses turned into a truck trailer combo, a Mercury Cougar in a few background shots, and the escorts for the new war rig are an Oldsmobile Dynamic and Furiosa’s Valiant from the trailers. Perhaps the biggest new vehicle is the 6 wheel Mack monster truck Hemsworth drives in later parts of the film, a vehicle big enough to easily compete with Joe’s Gigahorse or Rictus’s Monster Dodge. The end of the movie also features an absolute beast of a hot rod that is probably my favorite, but I’m not fully sure what it was built from. Sadly though, I’m not sure anything has quite the level of detail that adorned the War Rig from Fury Road, or Nux’s Chevy hot rod even.

Furiosa is great, its another absolute joy of automotive mayhem and brutal wasteland life that builds up the series and sets up for future films. I loved just as I loved the rest of the series even if it wasn’t as good as Fury Road… or even possibly Road Warrior…

Moving on to some absolute theory craft and assumptions I want to touch on the game and its relation to the movies now, and this will definitively enter spoiler territory.

I cannot tell if my Spoiler Tag is working, so from here on out Its all Spoilers, don’t read beyond this if you plan to see the movie or play the game

Releasing in 2015 alongside of the film, and unfortunately on the same day as Metal Gear Solid 5, the game is an underrated gem in WB’s backlog and one of Avalanche’s better projects. While at its core it may just be Arkham Knight wearing a Mad Max skin suit, the mechanics and systems involved create a tightly woven ecosystem where every upgrade matters and changes how you play, taking Max from lone drifter with nothing to his name to a true warrior of the wastes with little to stand in his way.

Now the rumors are that Miller had very little to do with the title other than giving notes and rough scripts to the devs, with many people calling them out for not including his name in the game at any point and supposably stealing ideas, but I think there’s more to the story than what is publicly known. Too much of it fits nicely with the films especially with what Furiosa has brought into the canon. However both Avalanche and Miller have made claims its not connected, and Miller even claimed the game didn’t live up to his visions. He has also said somewhat ironically that his “Perfect game” would be made by none other than Kojima but he would never ask as it might constrain the game dev’s genius.

Prior to the new film, many people proposed that the game takes place after Fury Road, due to the inclusion of Gas Town and the war boys being led by Scrotus who has no role in Fury Road. My personal opinion is that the game actually slots in between Furiosa and Fury Road. Several pieces of evidence in both the movies and game support this idea, but then again it could just be a parallel universe story as well. Not sure exactly where to start this so I’m just going to jump right in.

Starting with Dr. Dementus, in game the bio for Rictus states that he kills Dementus and is promoted to the leader of Gas Town by Immortan Joe for doing so. We know however that Furiosa kills Dementus, but is alone when doing so and the event is surrounded by mystery. When Furiosa goes to hunt him down, she passes by and takes Scrotus’s desert hot rod to do so and if someone were to see it from distance they could obviously assume its Scrotus. His character seems like the type that would take that credit if asked, and Furiosa makes no mention of it at all in Fury Road, meaning she may not have told anyone and is fine with Scrotus boasting. By the time Fury Road comes around Scrotus is nowhere to be seen and I would figure if Immortan Joe was calling in everyone from the Citadel, Gas Town and Bullet Farm to chase Furiosa you would see Scrotus if he were the claimed leader of Gas Town. But at this point He’s probably dead, with that position given to the People Eater instead. Max is seen in the opening scenes of Fury Road with a badly damaged Interceptor on a cliffside before being pursued and captured by the war boys. Him having a part in Scrotus’s death may have been a portion of why they were so keen to hunt him down, and by that time he would have been known by them as he had been causing plenty of trouble for them near Gas Town. While the game takes place near Gas town, its an area rarely seen in the movie and could easily be on the other side of the wastes from the events of Fury Road and Furiosa. The damaged Interceptor could also be the same one he regains at the end of the game which would explain its damaged state as he has to fight Scrotus to get it back. Furiosa also has a short clip that shows a cliff with someone who is assumed to be Max watching from above. This could be the same cliff as Fury Road, but more likely is the game start as the time between that shot and the end of Furiosa is supposed to be at least 40 days as they name the time period the 40 Days War. This would be plenty of time for the game events to happen, with Max trying to escape the area but instead being pulled into the war. No one would be focused on him as Dementus would be running around causing trouble at a similiar time, so the War Boys and Scrotus might just assume Max was another member of Dementus’s army around the game start. Another big calling card is that Chumbucket appears for a short bit in the film, at the time working in the Citadel, but could be transferred to Gas Town when Scrotus takes over During the 40 Day War. His game bio claims he’s been in the wastes for a while after escaping execution in Gas Town, but time could feel different for someone stuck out in the wastes. Several smaller details also point to at least somewhat of a connected world. The convoys roam around the game, acting as transport for supplies in the area, something we know is common because of the war rigs. The Buzzards exist in both and their vehicles look nearly identical in both. The Roadkill faction could be another gang that hasn’t gained a real foothold in Immortan Joe’s territory, but could also be the remnants or deserters of Dementus’s army, having no real affiliation with anyone else.

A couple of things work against this theory, but its pretty tenuous. One of which is the War Rig from Fury Road crashed in a tunnel which some people place it as being after Fury Road, but we known multiple Rigs can and do exist, or it could just be an easter egg. The bigger one is Hope and Glory who show up in both Fury Road prequel comics and the game but are supposedly different characters. I personally wonder if this could some sort of hallucination on Max’s part or some other sign of his mental health, as during the movie he is nearly feral and possibly they remind him of her so he has connected them in his head. The game also shows Max as having a daughter but in the first movie we know he has a son. This could be just some more mental confusion on Max, or as some claim he could be a different Max. One fan theory is that each movie takes place at different times and that Max is a fill in for a sort of Mythical Hero of the wastes, meaning it might truly be different people. Finally Max is clearly feral in Fury Road, but is pretty clear headed at the end of the game. I think this actually works out though, as Max had been betrayed, had to kill Chum who had become a friend, and was being hunted, all of which would break his trust and make him suspicious and paranoid, pushing survival by any means to the front of his priorities. Chumbucket also doesn’t show up in Fury Road, meaning his death would work with this theory as well.

So there we have it. My half ass review of Furiosa and my Overly excited canon theory for the series. Thanks for readiing!!


@Ureshi i made the category fan club fyi. Go nuts! :slight_smile:


Appreciate it, though im assuming it wont get much use overall lol

1 Like

Excited to see the new Mad Max movie


The worst part…id probably still watch it. Lol

1 Like

Now seriously, here’s my review of Furiosa (in spanish).


Good read. We have slightly different opinions on certain points but our overall scores come out about the same. Thanks for sharing


Hey guys my favorite soundtrack in mad max fury road was the flamethrower guitar. I was wondering what your favorite soundtracks were from the mad max films.

Doof warrior? His actual name was Coma, and they made that guitar for real.

Honestly the series doesnt have a ton of insane music, at least not until the recent entries. The main Fury Road theme is still probably tops.

I was contacted by the Australian Government to say my citizenship was going to be taken away as I’ve only seen the original Mad Max and Fury Road. :grimacing:


you should really see Road Warrior. Is fantastic.


It really is. Holds up much better than the others i think as well. As much as i enjoy them, theyre a bit less enjoyable for different reasons


Excellent post, you’ve said pretty much everything that came to mind for me too when reflecting on the film. I skipped your theories on the game because I haven’t finished it myself yet so didn’t want to spoil.

My favourite thing about the most recent two films (I’ll have to re-watch the older ones to see if they’re the same) is that they’re able to convey so much story and narrative through actions and visuals. The dialogue in both of these films is pretty limited compared to most films and yet so much is said through visuals alone. I’m a very visual person, I learn best when I can see the things in front of me, and I’m forever day dreaming and visualising in my head, so I really feel like these films speak my language!

I think I’d disagree on the Chris Hemsworth performance though, I thought he did an incredible job at being the antagonist. His prosthetics definitely helped me ignore the fact that I mainly associated him with Thor. I have to say though that one of the first things I said to my mum (we went together as she’s a big mad max film since the originals) was that he could have been a bit more crazy with his delivery. Don’t get me wrong, he had some weird moments but it could have been takes up a notch like you mentioned.

I agree about Jack’s character too, I got the feeling he was a potential love interest too? Whatever the case, I’m kind of glad that they left it up to audience interpretation because like you said it would have ground the film down to a pace that would have been too slow in my opinion. They got it pretty right for the most part even if it did pick up a little too much towards the end once she lost her arm. Enjoyed jack’s character though, I think his screen time came to an end in a way that made the reality of the wasteland very apparent.

I noticed a lot of the CGI shots. Not complaining too much but like you, I really hope the future of the films, and indeed the future of film making in general, really does keep the spirit of in-camera shots going for generations to come.

You’re right about the vehicles too. I’m not as much of an expert as you but a lot of the vehicles did seem a bit wild and lacked the plausibility of the older films. I don’t mind a few here and there for the visual spectacle but yeah. Loved seeing all the bikes, always had a soft spot for bikes and hot rods because of all the custom and rat shows I’ve been to in the past. Rat vehicles are nuts when you see them in person, my dad’s got a rat bike of his own that’s been sitting in our back place for decades and I’ve seen a few mad max style hot rods go past me on the weekend and it always makes my day.


Something to add to my thoughts about Jack is that I would have found it a bit weird if they had devoted a portion of the film to furiosa falling in love with Jack considering I don’t remember max doing any of that in the Fury Road film? Did max fall in love with Furiosa? I can’t remember actually, I remember them hating eachothers guts for most of the film lol. I’ve just seen it too many times where as soon as a lady is in a film either she has to have a love interest or is there specifically to be the love interest of the protag, and honestly it just isn’t needed in Furiosa. Her character is incredible without it and she stands defiant despite what she’s been through just fine on her own, as she should in my opinion.

I think they got the balance right in the end. In an interview with Tom Burke who plays Jack, he said he wanted to be “careful” about how their interactions were portrayed and that their bond was originally written to come up a lot earlier in the film “…I think we have to be careful about this because he’s kind of a mentor figure. You don’t want that to seamlessly change into something else.” And eventually added that the final version allows the audience to interpret their relationship however they see fit. It was nice that he could be a person that she could finally trust after everything she’d been through and it made his scenes very impactful towards the end.


No, i think Max and Furiosa go from not necessarily hate, but not trusting each other, to eventual mutual respect. A common theme in the movies is Max trying to atone for his wife and son dying, plus Glory and Hope as well by the time of Fury Road, so he ends up helping those in need from the psychos of the wasteland. Its portrayed throughout the second and thrid movies as well as Fury Road, whereas the first film is more about how he loses everything and its more of a revenge flick.

Yeah. That makes sense. I dunno, i felt like at the point that Furiosa goes after Jack in the quarry it was bordering on love, plus that one short scene of them looks pretty intimate, in the rocky little cave thing. Your take of being someone she could trust is a solid take as well imo. It is something that could be interpreted a couple ways. But Miller seems to like doing that lol


Oh I definitely think they had feelings towards eachother in those final moments and I have no issue with that actually because it happened very organically in the moment. I think Tom said something in the same interview about them realising what they had in their last moments together, and that kind of romance is very authentic to me. What I wouldn’t have been a fan of would be if Jack suddenly made a move on furiosa when cleaning her wound for example, or some kind of dramatic quiet moment that just wouldn’t have really suited the tone, characters, or pace of the film in my opinion.


I agree with that. It felt realistic for the most part. I kind of wish he had more prescence though personally. I think he barely interacts with the rest of the cast, and i would have liked to have at least heard something in passing to how he ended up with Joe. But we dont need a spin off of a spin off.


I did actually mention to my mum that I wonder how someone like Jack got involved with Immortal Joe considering he’s a pretty nice and level headed guy. Like the historian said though, make yourself invaluable and they’ll look after you. Jack looked like someone who was kind at heart but had also lived through the brutality of the wastes and at the end of the day was a survivor. Id watch a spin off for sure though.

I know mad Max is all about redemption, vengeance, loss, etc. but would like to maybe see it take on a bit of a different approach? Maybe one that focuses more on the masses who suffer and the overlords who oppress them. I know this is a huge part of all the films but furiosa was very much a personal story that just happened to feature what I mentioned as the backdrop and context that followed the personal story. I’d love to see a protag just go and fuck up the war lords just because of what they’ve done. Guess you need personal stakes and all to drive the story though. From memory fury roads story did a lot of sticking it to the big dawgs calling the shots in the wastes. Just can’t remember his motives.


I almost feel like hes Max, if he hadnt gone through a bunch of trauma… or handled it better lol