The Furiosa Script Was 'Virtually Complete' Before Shooting Mad Max: Fury Road, Says George Miller

Imagine venturing out into the vast Namibian desert with no real script (in the conventional sense, at least), little to no contact with the outside world, and a foreboding sense that the project could turn out to be one monumental mistake. For "Mad Max: Fury Road" stars Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy, this was their profoundly uncomfortable reality during filming of the epic action movie, much of which contributed to the pair locking horns and coming to blows repeatedly throughout the punishing production.

Far from the most ideal circumstances the first time around, writer and director George Miller thankfully has no intention of reliving such a challenging experience. When it comes to the highly-anticipated prequel film, "Furiosa" already has a built-in advantage: The script has been in the making, both in Miller's head and on the page, long before "Fury Road" ever became a reality. Although currently in the thick of shooting the prequel in the deserts of Australia, the visionary filmmaker has been making the (digital) interview rounds to promote his latest film, "Three Thousand Years of Longing."

As it turns out, the screenplay for "Furiosa" predates the filming and even the long-delayed development of "Fury Road."

'I'd really like to tell this story'

In an interview with The AV Club, Miller expounded on just how long "Furiosa" has been in the works. By nature of having to figure out a backstory for the character of Imperator Furiosa, Miller soon realized that he might have the makings of an entirely new narrative on his hands, one that might eventually be worth telling in full. Much of this came from needing to explain several aspects that were purposefully left unexplained in "Fury Road." According to Miller:

"When we wrote 'Mad Max,' the task was to tell a story that was always on the run and to see how much the audience could pick up in passing. That was one of the tricks of 'Mad Max: Fury Road,' that there would be references to things of where she's from, why they're doing things, but it was always on the run. There were very few moments of quiet. We never explained how she lost her arm. We never explain what the actual Green Place Of Many Mothers was. We never explained the workings of the Citadel. So we had the screenplay virtually complete before we shot 'Fury Road,' and we did it because it arose out of wanting to explain to everybody who Furiosa was — to Charlize when she took on the role, and to all the actors and the designers and everybody else working on the Citadel and so on. The feeling was, 'Gee, this is a pretty good screenplay,' and then I kept saying to myself, 'If 'Fury Road' works, I'd really like to tell this story.'"

"Fury Road" certainly worked (to say the absolute least), allowing Miller the creative freedom to forge ahead with this "Furiosa" prequel, starring Anya Taylor-Joy.

'What happened to Max in that year before...'

The above George Miller quote obviously corroborates the narrative laid down in journalist Kyle Buchanan's oral history of the 2015 masterpiece, titled "Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road." In the book, Theron explained that Miller shared this script with her in order to help gain a better understanding of the character and the integral aspects of her origins ... much of which the upcoming prequel film will undoubtedly cover.

In the same interview, the director went on to describe just how in-depth they had to go in terms of world-building:

"[Furiosa] came about, I'm not going to say accidentally, but it came out of a need to explain [Fury Road's] world which, as I said, essentially happened over three days and two nights. It's really trying to explain how that world came to be. We also wrote, not a screenplay, but almost in novel form, Nico Lathouris and I, what happened to Max in that year before, and that's something that we'll look at further down the track later. But in telling each other the story of Furiosa, everything in Fury Road had to be explained. In my mind, I have a back story of the Doof Warrior, who plays the guitar. How could a blind man who all he can do is play a guitar, how does he get to survive in a wasteland where everybody is in extremis? How did he come to be there? So we wrote little stories for every character when we made Fury Road."

Hmm, could we possibly get another "Mad Max" story, in some form, even after "Furiosa" arrives? With a director as tireless as Miller, we can't rule it out.

"Furiosa" will arrive sometime in 2024.