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Will ‘Furiosa’ end ‘Mad Max’ saga? George Miller spills (spoilers)

May 25, 20245 Mins Read


Spoiler alert! We’re discussing important plot points and the ending of “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” (in theaters now) with franchise creator and director George Miller. If you’re brand new to his mechanized apocalyptic world, then drive on.

As we come to the end of “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga,” the fifth installment in George Miller’s epic 45-year-long dystopian saga, our heroine Furiosa (Anya Taylor-Joy) has finally dispatched her aptly-named nemesis Dr. Dementus (Chris Hemsworth) in a cold-eyed clinical manner.

So what’s next? Well, given that “Furiosa” is a prequel, what’s just around the bend is Miller’s 2015 wasteland gonzo-fest, “Mad Max: Fury Road.” That film starred Charlize Theron as an adult Furiosa who is working for Immortan Joe, cruel leader of the Citadel and its War Boys.

The conclusion of “Fury Road” finds Imperator Furiosa teaming up with “Mad Max” Rockatansky, the forlorn ex-cop we met in 1979’s “Mad Max” who remains haunted by the killing of his family. With Max’s help, Furiosa kills her fiendish keeper Joe as she tries to save the few women left of her Vuvalini tribe, who once hailed from the Edenic Green Place that now is merely part of a futuristic Australian wasteland.

So does that mean this is it for “Mad Max,” who doesn’t even feature in “Furiosa”? Don’t bet on it. Miller, 79, offers us some “Furiosa” insights and hints of what’s to come.

Why pick ‘Queen’s Gambit’ star Anya Taylor-Joy to play the young Furiosa?

Taylor-Joy riveted audiences as the chess-playing whiz in Netflix’s 2020 series “The Queen’s Gambit.” But Miller says he was mesmerized by her long before that. “I’d seen her in a few things, and there was something mysterious and timeless about her,” he says. “She’s regal. She reminded me of what I felt about Charlize.”

In fact, Miller says he contemplated making “Furiosa” with Theron and the digital de-aging process used to mixed effect on Harrison Ford in the latest “Indiana Jones” installment. “But that technology still isn’t totally persuasive, and I was worried audiences would look more at that than the performance,” he says.

What Taylor-Joy brings to the character in “Furiosa” is a visual intensity anchored to her piercing eyes. Her lines of dialogue are few. Miller says that fit in nicely with his longstanding passion for silent films, which derive their power from visuals and performances. “Her eyes said so much,” he says.

Why does Chris Hemsworth wear a prosthetic nose in ‘Furiosa’?

Growing up in Australia, Hemsworth − aka Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe − longed to appear in one of Miller’s action extravaganzas. When it came time for Hemsworth to play Furiosa’s father figure by force-turned-evil foe, Miller thought it a good idea to perhaps take the good-looking edge off his brawny co-star.

When sketches of Dr. Dementus were presented to Hemsworth, the character was distinguished by a honking aquiline nose “much like you’d see in the Roman Empire, since Dementus has that imperious air,” says Miller. Fortunately, far from being turned off by the beak, Hemsworth embraced it and added other features.

“Chris also changed his teeth, he had this veneer put over them, and he also changed his eyes,” says Miller. “You can do that of course digitally now, adding color, it’s cheap and easy. But he decided to wear contact lenses instead. They acted almost like sunglasses, which meant that in the harsh sun on location, he didn’t have to worry about squinting and maybe changing the feeling of the scene.”

Will George Miller deliver another ‘Mad Max’ movie?

Miller says he “never could imagine” that when he started the Mad Max series in 1979 that he would do another related film, let alone four more. In fact, the futuristic setting that has proven so durable and riveting − and now serves as a cautionary tale of an environmental collapse − was not planned.

“We couldn’t afford to close streets or rent buildings or hire extras in the first movie, so we had to shift the setting from modern day Melbourne to the future, and shot in abandoned buildings and out in the desert,” he says, laughing. “But that allowed us to be allegorical and universal, and it was born solely out of necessity. That was a happy accident.”

So will Max return? Miller just smiles. “In terms of where we are going, there’s this account of Max in the year before we meet him in ‘Fury Road,’ which we still have. I don’t want to jinx it, but it’s the story we call ‘Max in the Wasteland,’ and it looks at what forges him as a character. If the planets align, I’d love to do it.”

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