The fifth Mad Max movie seems to be crawling down no-hurry road.
The tentatively titled Mad Max: The Wasteland — the fifth installment in the apocalyptic extravaganza of a barren future world — has been talked about by director and creator George Miller for a while, but the reality of Mad Max 5 is still off in the distance, for now.
With Furiosa in production currently, though, the excitement for more Max-related films is ripe in Miller’s mind.
Taking the helm once again, Miller, whose first Mad Max film came out more than 40 years ago now, said that Mad Max: The Wasteland is definitely a go. Probably. Eventually. It just needs a little thing called a finished story.
With the other Mad Max universe film, Furiosa, a spinoff from Mad Max: Fury Road, in filming now, there’s no telling when Miller will return to fleshing out and finishing the next installment in the Max Max saga.
“We do have another story but it’s still not fully evolved,”
Miller told Variety in an interview in late May.
“We’ll see further down the chain.”
What’s happening now?
The prequel to Mad Max: Fury Road is being filmed in Australia, with Anya Taylor-Joy taking on the role of the titular character in her younger years after Charlize Theron blew audiences away with her portrayal of Furiosa in the last Mad Max film, which was released in 2015.
While Fury Road took place in a span of a very short time (mere days), Furiosa will extend much longer with a storyline spanning 15 years, according to Miller.
The great thing is that we know Miller is enthralled with his work and storytelling in the Mad Max world, as he admitted he never intended to even make a fourth Mad Max become a reality after it was canned following the attacks on 9/11. The original Mad Max 4 was set to begin production in 2001 and star Mel Gibson as Max once again, but after respectfully delaying the film and then Gibson’s subsequent reported antisemitic remarks coming to light, the movie was scrapped altogether.
But once Fury Road was made, the spark returned, which led Miller to pen and direct Furiosa, with his mind still buzzing to do even more with the Mad Max universe.
As Furiosa ramps up it could be any moment in time that the inspiration to get Mad Max 5 to the finish line springs to life.
So Mad Max 5 is on for sure?
We’d say so.
Just revel in his dual exclamations in an interview with Deadline, when he said excitement and exciting in a span of eight words. Presumably that’s an indication of just how much hope we can have that The Wasteland will get made.
“All I can say about my excitement about doing it is that it’s definitely exciting, because even though it’s certainly of that world of Fury Road, it’s also got a lot of the differences we’ve been talking about,”
Miller said to Deadline.
“Again, it’s uniquely familiar. And probably the biggest difference is the timespan. Fury Road happened over three days and two nights and this one happens over 15 years. So, it’s a saga.”
He touched on how the idea for Fury Road came to fruition, and that the explosion of ideas could hit him at any moment to propel a story forward. Fingers-crossed that “aha” moment comes for Mad Max 5 the same way it did for Mad Max 4 (Fury Road).
“I mean, I never, ever intended to make a fourth Mad Max, and then an idea comes one day and it’s there, seated in the back of your brain,” Miller said to Deadline.
“It’s competing with all the other ideas that seem to bang around in there, and then it just takes hold. Suddenly, it insists on itself in some way. Even now, there are several ideas rattling around, and I’ll never get to make them all. There are always several things happening. I find that’s the best way to approach it.”
Furiosa is scheduled to be released on May 24, 2024, also starring Chris Hemsworth, perhaps Miller will go into shooting The Wasteland right when Furiosa wraps.
He’ll be in the mindset already, and maybe the crew needed for the fifth film could just jump into the world already created in Australia and start to revamp it to fit the next storyline.
What will The Wasteland be about?
We’re not sure where in the Mad Max timeline the fifth installment would be set just yet, but being that Furiosa spans the 15 years before and leading up to the events of Fury Road, and since Miller has already explored a lot of territory with the first three Mad Max films, it depends on who will play Max, and how far forward or back Miller decides to jump.
Though the big gap between the third installment and the release of Fury Road leaves some inconsistencies between the films, as laid out greatly in this article on Screen Rant, the first three films essentially took place in the 1980s through 1999 with Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
Then, Fury Road takes place in roughly 2050, so Furiosa comes around 2035. Well, that would mean that somehow Max appears to be in his 20s or 30s in the original Gibson films, and the same age in Fury Road as played by Tom Hardy. So, it could be a different Max altogether, or it could just be that there are a long line of Maxes out there, and Miller can just plop them in where he sees fit and it’s up to us to know that that’s just how storytelling in movies can go. So it could be the character Max, with some similar history, but different all the same.
Or something like that.
That said, being that Theron isn’t in Furiosa, Miller could decide he wants to work with a new actor once again and set The Wasteland in some other timeline, or as another prequel about Max’s story, or it could just pick up a little bit after the end of Fury Road and start to explore what the new world is shaping up to be after the takedown of Immortan Joe.
But we also know that “The Wasteland” refers to, well, a couple things.
In The Road Warrior, which comes before any global nuclear war, the wasteland is the barren times of society failing and crumbling.
And Hardy’s Max has been exploring, er, surviving, through the wasteland prior to his capture in Fury Road.
So if the movie is called The Wasteland, that would seem to put the movie in more exploration of the world following Fury Road. It feels like it could even pick up after the final scene of that flick.
On second thought, couldn’t Miller just screw with the whole thing and do a remake/reboot of sorts by putting a new Max back in the ‘80s with Hardy being a time traveler or something?
What about Hardy?
Back in 2015, it was reported that Hardy was signed on to do more Max films, but it seemed to be tied to incentives and how Fury Road performed (it did pretty good).
Then, speaking at San Diego Comic Con, Hardy said that the plan was to do three films, according to Variety.
Following that, Hardy said in 2017 when speaking to Collider, that The Wasteland was a go, meaning he would be in it.
And he admitted to being signed up to do three Max films. So, we can now surmise that not only is a Mad Max 5 going to happen, but there will also be another film to follow that one – maybe Mad Max 6? Whether it has a Mad Max name or something else, it’s not clear now.
“Yeah,” Hardy said when asked if The Wasteland was happening, “as far as I’ve signed to do three of them. It’s a question of when. I’m not sure it’s called The Wasteland or not ‘cause you never know. These titles change all the time. But, there’s definitely another Mad Max project pending.”
Back in that same interview, in 2017 mind you, Hardy said he was already ready to go.
“I’m anxiously waiting to find out. There’s mythology to do with Mad Max that spans copious amounts of tales. What’s wonderful about George [Miller] is that he’s created sagas for Max and sagas for Furiosa, so it’s what he chooses to focus in on. I’m really just waiting for the call like, ‘All right, let’s get the leathers on and get back out there and do some more.’ It’s there. I’m just waiting for it and looking forward to it.”
Well, it’s been five years since then.
If we put it all together though, it feels like Miller and Hardy will team up again to shoot Mad Max 5, and maybe do both films back-to-back even to fulfill the “three” more of them he’s signed on for, which could put production time starting even later this year or sometime in 2023.
Furiosa was slated to film right after Fury Road originally, so that type of idea isn’t out of play.
“In order to tell this story, we came up with two others. We’ve written the screenplay of one and the novelization of another, but it’s a very rough novel,” Miller once said according to Indiewire. “We kept working on them while we were working on other things.”
We also know that Theron was “heartbroken” when Miller chose to cast someone else to play Furiosa, so maybe she will come back to play an older version of her character in one of the next two Mad Max films, too.
“It’s a tough one to swallow. Listen, I fully respect George, if not more so in the aftermath of making Fury Road with him. He’s a master, and I wish him nothing but the best, “ Theron told The Hollywood Reporter.
“Yeah, 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.”
Then again, reports about the feud between Hardy and Theron during Fury Road have persisted to this day. There’s even a book called Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road by Kyle Buchanan, soooo maybe not.
Anything else to know?
There is that small matter of a lawsuit that popped up between between Miller and Warner Bros. over bonus money stemming from Fury Road. But as of 2019, Miller said that things seemed to be clearing up in another interview with Indiewire, where he said:
“It was hard to get anyone’s attention, so we went to litigation. The chaos has stabilized and it’s become extremely positive as the dust seems to have settled after [the AT&T merger].”
Miller added, “There are two stories, both involving Mad Max, and also a Furiosa story. We’re still solving, we’ve got to play out the Warners thing, it seems to be pretty clear that it’s going to happen.
Considering Furiosa is being made though, we’d imagine that pushed the timeline back a bit, but eventually cooler heads will prevail as both sides realize there is a lot more money to be made if they agree to go forward and make more Max movies.
According to IMDB, which isn’t always 100 percent accurate but pretty solid, Hardy has this on his slate — Venom 3 is in preproduction and another film called War Party has been announced. However, the same Hardy bio page says that Untitled Mad Max Project is filming right now, which we are pretty sure is not accurate. Unless they are secretly filming Mad Max 5 at the same time as Furiosa and Miller is just playing with us…which would be cruel and super cool simultaneously.
If we go down the rabbit hole farther —since Furiosa is filming now and coming out two years from now, let’s say The Wasteland starts filming shortly afterward, then we could see the fifth Mad Max movie hitting theaters in 2025.
Let’s count on it!