It should be pretty apparent by now that Charlize Theron’s Furiosa is not returning for the next “Mad Max” movie (which was easily my biggest lament at the end of ‘Fury Road’). Max and Furiosa part ways and it's clear at the conclusion that any sequel will follow the Road Warrior, not the Imperator — plus, director George Miller has said as much already, and Theron has suggested she won't go through that kind of hell-ish shoot again (nor is she actually signed on for any more sequels).
At one point, Miller said the sequel would be called “Mad Max: The Wasteland,” and then he rolled back on that idea. Has he figured out what he wants to do for the next film?
“Yes, I have,” Miller told EW this week. “And certainly having conversations about it. But I’m not sure if it’s the very next movie I want to do. I’ve got something a bit smaller before we go back out into the wasteland — something that’s contemporary that we can get through fairly quickly. And something with not too much technical difficulty. Something more performance-based and so on, just to clear the exhaust.”
But could we see more Imperator stories? The magazine says Miller was “cagey,” but held it out as a possibility (probably because Theron isn’t currently signed on for more, for one). “Yeah, she’s a pretty compelling character so it would be great to tell her story,” says Miller. “Her backstory is really interesting. We only allude to it in this movie because this movie is on the run; people don’t have much time for recreational talk. But you pick up, you have a sense of her having gone through stuff. That’s what the film is trying to do. You’re trying to put a lot of iceberg under the tip, I like saying.”
Arguably, that story is already somewhat complete. People tend to forget that Miller originally designed two films: “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “Mad Max: Furiosa,” the latter of which was going to be an animated companion piece that he ultimately didn’t make.
Evidently there’s enough material for several films if the director wants. “I could tell the stories of every character in the story,” Miller said. “I could tell the story of the guitar and the Doof Warrior. I can tell you the story of how his guitar was made, and how he survived, effectively a blind guitarist who only can speak through the guitar really and how he survived the apocalypse. And how he got to be basically working for Immortan’s army and so on. So everything has to have a backstory.”
All the material for a ‘Furiosa’ film is there, but will we ever see it? I doubt it, but I’m sure Miller could tell her backstory in an animated film or graphic novel if he wanted to. At this point, when will we even see a proper ‘Mad Max’ sequel? Well, it could be several years (which is never good for the momentum of a franchise), because in a separate interview Miller suggested he needed a detox from ‘Mad Max.’
[‘Mad Max’] films are too epic in scale to go right into another one,” Miller told the Wall Street Journal this week. “I want to do something contemporary, something that you can get through quick.” Miller was mum on any ideas, but said he’s been inspired by the 2015 Sundance hit “Tangerine” which was shot on an iPhone (read our review). “I seriously would love to do something on the iPhone,” he said. “It’s really an interesting exercise. It’s so available now, if you have something to say. It won’t be on an iPhone, but it’s leaning in that direction. I don’t make many films. I have to really feel some strong gravitational pull both in the story and something to do with the technological shift. If there’s a new tool or a new process, it’s always very interesting [to me].”
If Miller makes a “small film,” that’s basically two years, and then tries to mount another ‘Mad Max’ picture — the first one took at least three years— we could be waiting up to five years or more for a part two. That said, if ‘Fury Road’ gets some big Oscar nominations next week, maybe that will compel the director to change his mind if the studio suddenly gets hot to trot? One can only hope. Meanwhile, listen to the EW conversation below.