What We Know: Mad Max: Fury Road Prequel, Furiosa

During the production of Mad Max: Fury Road, George Miller, and Brendan McCarthy imagined an exhaustive amount of background information for each character. One script was composed for Imperator Furiosa alone.

Prior to the release of Fury Road in 2015, this script was written for the film. Now it looks like that prequel script will see the light of day so in anticipation of Furiosa‘s debut in 2024, here is what we know so far:

Understanding Fury Road will help us predict what we will see in Furiosa, of course.

As the film opens, Emperor Furiosa is the chief war captain of the tyrant Immortan Joe. From Gas Town and the Bullet Farm, she drives the War Rig, which transports guzzolene and ammunition. Furiosa, however, betrays Joe and smuggles Joe’s five wives out of captivity.

The five wives of Immortan Joe
The five wives of Immortan Joe

Furiosa’s mission centers around her memories of the “Green Place,” her cherished childhood home, now little more than a distant memory. This could well be the starting point for the sequel.
A New York Times article details Miller’s desire to answer questions like those from the first film:

What happens in the Green Place, and how was Furiosa taken away from the female warriors who raised her? And who was responsible for cutting off her arm?

As Miller has said, her story will take place over many years.

In imagining Furiosa as a young woman, Miller originally intended to digitally de-age Charlize Theron, who played the original part. After seeing The Irishman, however, Miller decided it was not the best approach.

The younger Furiosa will instead be portrayed by Anya Taylor-Joy. After watching Last Night in Soho and auditioning for him on Skype, she read the infamous “I’m mad as hell” speech from Network. Miller said this to Empire:

“I said to her, ‘I’d like you to do a very simple test, which is read something to camera.’ And it was the speech from Network. The ‘I’m mad as hell’ speech. Apart from the brilliance of the writing, it’s a piece that can be done to camera. It doesn’t need an acting partner. Anya did one version, which was really good. Then I gave her just a couple of simple notes about intention and she just absolutely nailed it… On an iPhone.”

The Queen’s Gambit actress appears to be eager to take on the role of an established character. Additionally, she is well aware that Theron has set the bar extremely high.

“I fell in love with Furiosa because of the way Charlize presented her,” Taylor-Joy said on MTV’s “Happy Sad Confused” podcast. “She did such an incredible job. It was so beautiful. I can’t even think about trying to step into her shoes. It has to be something different because it just can’t be done. I’ve already started dreaming about (Furiosa) and she’s coming in very strong. I’m so committed to working as hard as possible. I always said that I wanted a role that I would have to give everything to, it wouldn’t just be my mind but my body, what I’m doing with myself when I’m not on set. I’m so excited for that and to push myself past the limits of what my brain thought was possible.”

Fury Road is basically one long chase; Furiosa, however, will be something entirely different.

In Kyle Buchanan’s new book, Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild and True Story of ‘Mad Max: Fury Road,’ director and producer PJ Voeten explained,

“Furiosa is more of a traditional three-act drama. If people are expecting to see another chase movie, it’s not going to be that.”

Considering Furiosa is supposed to be an origin story, nobody should be going into the film expecting another Fury Road but I’m sure there will be plenty of action to go alongside what is sure to be a more focussed character study.

The unit’s production manager Dean Hood is also quoted in Buchanan’s book as saying:

“When I started reading (the Furiosa script), I couldn’t put it down. It is going to be really, really good. You get to see Gas Town. You get to see the Bullet Farm. It’s exciting to be able to build that stuff.”

Furiosa’s antagonist will be played by Chris Hemsworth. Hemsworth is Aussie, and he has never played a villain before. Hemsworth wasn’t actually Miller’s first choice, though he has always looked at his native country when casting and with the profile of actor he is today we figure this one was a no-brainer.

“George saw Chris initially as a courtesy and then fell in love with the idea. He’s going to play totally against type, the lead baddie. Unfortunately, we’ve got to find all of our other characters that aren’t around anymore: a new Immortan, a new Bullet Farmer, and a few others.” — P. J. Voeten has been quoted as saying.

Charlize Theron as Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
Charlize Theron as Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road

Furiosa features a younger version of certain Fury Road characters like Immortan Joe and Bullet Farmer. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II was originally cast in an unspecified role, but he dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Tom Burke has been cast in his place.

There is no doubt a young actress is required in Furiosa because it is a prequel. However, that didn’t make things easier. As she spoke about giving up the role she made famous with The Hollywood Reporter in 2020:

“It’s a tough one to swallow. You know, I respect George tremendously, if not more so after the film we made together. He’s a master, and I wish him nothing but the best. It’s a little heartbreaking, for sure. I really love that character, and I’m so grateful that I had a small part in creating her. She will forever be someone I think of and reflect on fondly. Obviously, I would love to see that story continue, and if he feels like he has to go about it this way, then I trust him in that manner. We get so hung up on the smaller details that we forget the thing that we emotionally tap into has nothing to do with that minute thing that we’re focusing on.”

If I was a betting man I would guess that Charlize might still be involved in the film given her obvious affection for the character and her star power. I’m sure they can figure out a satisfying way to get her involved. We will have quite a while to wait until we find out but be sure we will report on any new rumors as they appear.

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