I remember groaning at the first images depicting Tom Hardy in [Mad Max: Fury Road](tag:41445). You've got to understand! That was a time still shrouded in the memory of Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. Long awaited continuations of beloved 80s franchises had a bad name, and were soaked in cynicism. We hadn't yet reveled in the glory of Fury Road. Please forgive me for seeing those washed out stills of Tom Hardy on a bike and thinking "ughh, he can never replace Mel Gibson". I'm not one of those killjoys, honest! Director, George Miller capped off the excitement by taking to twitter with promises of more to come.
Thanks for the kind words you've written and said about the film. We had a lot of fun making it... and there's more Mad Max to come.
I may start simply by saying how sweet a way that is to announce a sequel. George Miller has a talent for generating good will in fans, and after the revelation that was Fury Road, many people are asking some rather pointed questions.
What should be done with the character of Max?
The dilemma that the Mad Max series now faces is in how to continue the franchise while not appearing to settle into the formulaic. The Mad Max movies are defined by each one's ability to vastly depart form the last. It's a genius trend, with the movies having to change in order to stay the same, and Fury Road didn't disappoint. It's the sequel, Mad Max 2: The Wasteland which has the uphill battle. The first three Mad Max movies were each shaped by the production methods surrounding them, whether it be budget increases or involvement of American studios. Fury Road had the luxury of a thirty year gap, but The Wasteland will have to take a leap without aping Fury Road.
One element of change that the Mad Max movies always nailed was in evolving the character of Max himself. George Miller and his collaboratives at Warner Bros are faced with a few options in carrying Tom Hardy over to Mad Max 2: The Wasteland.
Tom Hardy's depiction of Max was one of the sleeper elements to Fury Road. On a first viewing, his performance can be a little off-putting. That incessant grunting and creaky door voice brings back memories of Bane, and we all know how well that ended! On closer inspection, however, you can see that this Max is actually one who has avoided all human contact for so long that when he actually interacts with people once more, it sounds unnatural. The Fury Road iteration seems to fit into the adorkable category, with him shown as a lumbering hero who can't really express himself. A continuation of this character would likely be welcome in Mad Max 2.
Here's reason 295 that I loved Fury Road. Max was actually mad. Sure he's mad in the first movie in an angry sense, and in The Road Warrior, he's kind of a weirdo. Only in Fury Road was Max shown as someone who couldn't trust his senses. While his flashbacks and hallucinations veered on the hokey, it could be an interesting angle to carry over into The Wasteland. That said, one could read Max's interactions with Furiosa as a healing and recuperation process. It would be a shame to throw all that away after such an immaculate ending with Max and Furiosa looking up and down at each other. By the way, did anyone notice how that's also exactly how Babe ended? Coincidence?
I really would have no qualms with Max being posited as a full on good guy in Mad Max 2. Sure it wouldn't exactly match up with the dog-eat-dog surprisingly emotional world of Fury Road, but contradicting each other is exactly what these movies are supposed to do! Many complaints leveled at Thunderdome suggested Max was malformed beyond recognition, starting the movie as a guy with a camel, and only really rectifying that by becoming a savior figure to a bunch of children. I understand those complaints, but a sudden departure from an established character only brings the opportunity to reshape them in fun and interesting ways. Put simply, do you really not want to see Tom Hardy's dorky beautiful face saving helpless children? Didn't think so!
Not enough Mad Max for you? Check out my previous article on the possible storylines we could see in The Wasteland!