While George Miller's action-packed Mad Max franchise is known for taking long breaks — the longest being 30 years, to be exact — the next installment, Furiosa, is hitting theaters sooner rather than later.
Furiosa is a prequel exploring the backstory of Charlize Theron's Imperator Furiosa, who we were first introduced to in 2015's Mad Max: Fury Road. In the film, a battle-hardened Furiosa teams up with the titular Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) to free the imprisoned wives of the cruel warlord Immortan Joe. Together, they embark a high-speed chase to find a home away from the warring clans of a post-apocalyptic world.
The film earned 10 Oscar nominations at the 88th Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and ultimately won six Oscars (Best Film Editing, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Makeup and Hairstyling).
What is this movie about?
Taylor-Joy stars as a younger version of Imperator Furiosa, a war captain who works to free Immortan Joe's concubines. While we got a glimpse into her past in Fury Road — especially her remembrance of the paradisiacal "Green Place," a lush world before Mad Max's barren, post-apocalyptic society — Furiosa will fully explore how the character was plucked from her group of female warriors to become a captain.
Here is the official synopsis:
As the world fell, young Furiosa is snatched from the Green Place of Many Mothers and falls into the hands of a great Biker Horde led by the Warlord Dementus. Sweeping through the Wasteland they come across the Citadel presided over by The Immortan Joe. While the two Tyrants war for dominance, Furiosa must survive many trials as she puts together the means to find her way home.
The film has been in the works for a long time — the screenplay, originally written as backstory for Theron, was created even before Fury Road went into production. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who played one of the wives in Fury Road, told the New York Times that she got to read the Furiosa screenplay when she was cast. "It's genius," she said. "I've always wondered if that movie's going to get made."
Originally, Miller told the Times that he wanted to use de-aging technology to cast Theron once again. But, since he doesn't "think we're nearly there yet," adding that there's still "a pretty wide valley," Taylor-Joy was cast to play the role. And while it's still not known if she'll shave her head for the role, three-time Oscar-winning costume designer Jenny Beavan claims "she wants to."
Who else is in the 'Furiosa' cast?
Chris Hemsworth is set to star alongside Taylor-Joy; first assistant director P.J. Voeten has confirmed that Hemsworth is "going against type" and playing the villain. Tom Burke (Mank) will also play a major role, taking over from Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, after he dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Nathan Jones, who played Immortan Joe's son Rictus Erectus in Fury Road, will be reprising his role. Reportedly, a young Immortan Joe is also set to be featured, though the actor who'll be playing him has still not been announced.
Who's returning behind the scenes?
Along with Miller — who will obviously be returning — most of Fury Road's Academy Award-nominated team will be returning for Furiosa. Miller's longtime producing partner Doug Mitchell is back, as well as composer Tom Holkenborg aka Junkie XL, who scored Fury Road. Film editor Margaret Sixel, who is married to Miller, will be back, as will Beavan. Production designer Colin Gibson will also be returning alongside the majority of his team. Sixel, Beavan, and Gibson all won Oscars for Fury Road.
Cinematographer John Seale, who won an Oscar for 1996's The English Patient, was set to come out of semi-retirement to shoot the film, but a photo from Hemsworth confirms that Simon Duggan will be stepping into the position.
What should I watch before?
As Furiosa is a direct prequel to 2015's Mad Max: Fury Road, that film is required viewing. However, given that the franchise's three original films (1979's Mad Max, 1981's Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior and 1985's Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome) weren't necessary to understand Fury Road, they're probably not mandatory now — though it definitely wouldn't be a bad idea to brush up on all of the Mad Max lore that exists.
When is the release date?
In September, Warner Bros. announced that Furiosa would be pushed back a year, with a new release date of May 24, 2024. The delay likely came as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as Australia (where filming is set) remained locked down. The film is still set to be "the biggest movie ever made in Australia," with production pumping about $350 million into the Australian economy and creating 850 new jobs. Filming on Furiosa began in June, as evidenced by new set photos.
Is there still a 'Mad Max 5' in the works?
Yes, there is. Hardy signed on to Mad Max: The Wasteland prior to Fury Road's release; however, that film has yet to start production, and will certainly be coming out after Furiosa hits screens in 2024.
By Charlotte Walsh