Posted on Friday, May 15th, 2015 by Russ Fischer
Mad Max: Fury Road is in theaters now, and it is a triumph. We loved it (read our review here), hell, nearly everyone seems to love it. This could end up being the best-reviewed film of the year. And for good reason: it is a staggering piece of work, and an exhilarating theatrical ride.
But with Tom Hardy replacing Mel Gibson as Max and a chronology that isn’t entirely clear, we know people have questions. Is Fury Road a sequel, a reboot or a prequel, or is it something else? Do you need to see the other films first? Should you see it in 2D or 3D?
So here’s a Mad Max primer to answer those questions and a few others.
Is Fury Road a Remake, Prequel or Sequel?
It’s not a prequel, and very definitely not a remake. The sequel question is slightly more difficult to answer. Writer/director George Miller calls it a “revisiting.” This is kind of a sequel to the previous Mad Max films, but think of it like a new James Bond film after the actor has just changed over.
We’re conditioned to think of series of movies as being part of an explicit chronology, but that’s not how this one works. There was talk at one point of Fury Road being a film set between The Road Warrior and Thunderdome, but it doesn’t play that way at all.
Tom Hardy said,
We have to take it differently as George is taking it. It’s a relaunch and revisit to the world. An entire restructuring. That’s not to say that it’s not picking up or leaving off from the Mad Max you know already, but it’s a nice re-take on the entire world using the same character, depositing him in the same world but bringing him up to date by 30 years.
Miller said at SXSW this year,
It’s sort of a revisit. The [previous] three films exist in no real clear chronology, because they were always conceived as different films.
Do I Need to See the Other Films First?
No. Fury Road establishes everything you need to know about the characters and world.
I mean, you should see the other movies, because they’re good (Mad Max), great (The Road Warrior), and very uneven but with some really excellent bits (Thunderdome). But if this is your first ride with Max, this movie tells you everything you need to know.
But Isn’t an Actor From the Original Mad Max in This One?
Yeah, he is. You might have heard that Hugh Keays-Byrne, who plays the main bad guy in the new film, also played the bad guy in the original movie. That’s true, but they’re different characters. There’s no connection between them at all.
This is the second time Miller has used a major actor twice in Max’s films — Bruce Spence played two very similar but ultimately different characters in The Road Warrior and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. And the look of the Thunderdome character Scrooloose seems to have influenced the design of the War Boys (like Nicholas Hoult’s character) but there’s no link between them.