mad max 5

There have been more than a few hugely successful blockbusters this year, but Mad Max: Fury Road is the one that lingers in the brain. It doesn’t just touch a nerve – it grabs each of your nerves and squeezes. Warner Bros. tossing a post-apocalyptic action movie into the Oscar race sounds insane, but it’s head-and-shoulders above most of the sure-thing awards nominees right now. It’s spectacular filmmaking and we are blessed to have it in our lives.

So when director George Miller talks about a sequel (or two sequels), we listen. Chatter about a follow-up has been pretty steady for awhile now, with the first talk of the next films arriving months before Fury Road even hit theaters. However, exactly what the sequel will be has been shifting as of late. So let’s take a look at what Miller is saying now.

At one point, we know that one of the two proposed sequels was meant to follow Charlize Theron‘s Imperator Furiosa, who we last saw triumphant and with a civilization to run. However, the news that Theron has not signed on the dotted line for any sequels seems to have quieted down that talk. Then we heard that the next movie would be called Mad Max: The Wasteland, but Miller has now told Deadline that it is only a working title and will be changed as the script develops:

The more I speculate about what’s happening, the more I try to avoid spoilers this far out, and also I find myself talking around in circles. So the best thing I can say is that we’re definitely in discussion about making more of these, but the timing of it, I’m really not sure. Probably won’t be called Wasteland. I can say that. It was just the working title we gave it.

Any update that confirms that Miller is in talks to bring additional adventures of Max Rockatansky to the screen is an update worth talking about. Although we should to stop calling the proposed sequel The Wasteland now and go back to calling it Mad Max 5 until Mr. Miller lets us know the actual title.

Miller also confirmed that Tom Hardy will definitely return to the part, and made it clear that he’s a permanent replacement. Don’t expect Mel Gibson to pop up in any capacity. Miller uses an James Bond analogy to drive this home:

Not in these movies, for a very simple reason. If Mel, who is Max in a lot of people’s memories, appeared in the next movie, it would pull audiences out of the movie for a bit, and we worked so hard to keep people immersed in the movie as much as possible. It would be like, I don’t know, seeing Roger Moore appearing in a Daniel Craig James Bond movie. It would be fun, but it would also pull you out of the experience of the movie.

And it’s just as well. Furiosa may have nabbed the headlines, but Hardy’s take on Max is as good as Gibson’s in The Road Warrior. He has entire conversations in a single glance, making him the most efficient tour guide imaginable in world that defies explanation.

While the chassis of Mad Max 5 is still being built, we know that Warner Bros. has tried to offer Miller a set of keys to one of their superhero franchises. Miller hasn’t publicly accepted any superhero gigs – it may still sting that his Justice League movie was executed at the last possible moment back in the day. However, he explained to appeal of the genre to Deadline and offered a hypothesis about why they are so popular right now:

I’m really, really interested in them a lot, but the truth is, and I shouldn’t be admitting this: I haven’t seen many of the recent crop for the very simple reason I’ve had my head down immersed in the process of doing Fury Road. However, stories are conducive to their time or somehow fit their time, and I think the fact that we’re seeing these films all around the world now, that kind of is an interplay between these superhero movies and what some people call the global monomyth, and the zeitgeist. And I think there’s interplay there, and I think you need to dig down deep and really understand why we need them.

A sense of empowerment, a sense of a struggle. I think we, as individuals in many ways, don’t feel we can impact the world in some way as much as we’d like to, and that’s just a stab at it.

For more great Miller stories, anecdotes and answers on everything from developing Fury Road, to filming practical stunts, to his own feelings on Fury Road‘s Oscar chances, hit the link above for the whole interview.

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