Why There Are High Expectations for the Fury Road Prequel

George Miller may be one of the most unconventional master filmmakers of our time. The rural Australian-born director’s talent has sharpened and aged like a fine wine, especially with a combination of live-action genre films and big studio animation projects under his belt. His eye for cinema has never been better. With the recent release of the first official trailer for his new movie, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, the unpredictable filmmaker looks to have, once again, dreamed up something truly unique, with Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth leading the film’s cast.

The Mad Max Fury Road spinoff will constitute the fifth installment of the franchise that propelled Mel Gibson to stardom and created a whole subgenre of post-apocalyptic desert films that were popular in the 1980s. Miller’s approach to each film has been distinctly different, which is why audiences should not form any expectations as to what Furiosa may have in store. Miller is a true craftsman, a pioneer filmmaker who is considered one of the best living filmmakers of our time. Furiosa is part of the franchise that defined the filmmaker’s career, and he’s often challenging himself with new ways to tell stories, as seen in his most recent release, Three Thousand Years of Longing.

While Furiosa could meet expectations in regard to what audiences are hoping for, it’s also possible Miller has a few surprises up his sleeve with his latest outing. If Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome can serve as a litmus test when it comes to Miller’s propensity to be versatile, unpredictable, and unique, Furiosa will likely take audiences by surprise. Regardless, we will more than likely be learning exactly how the character lost her arm and possibly more about the history of the Mad Max universe as an entity.

Update January 12, 2024: This article has been updated with more information regarding Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga ahead of its upcoming summer release.

Following on From the Critical and Commercial Success of Mad Max: Fury Road

Warner Bros. Pictures 

The movie follows the Academy Award-winning fourth installment, considered to be one of the best action films of all time, Mad Max: Fury Road. While Fury Road offered a small amount of insight into Furiosa’s backstory, it also highlighted the “Green Place,” something from a childhood memory that predates the post-apocalyptic world Max Rockatansky and Furiosa find themselves in, in the fourth edition of the franchise. From first glimpses of the trailer, the film may be somewhat parallel to the timeline of the original Mad Max, where we will be treated to Furiosa’s perspective on the looming apocalypse as she grows up.

It was confirmed that Furiosa will traverse the fascinating origin tale of Imperator Furiosa and delve into the complexities of her rise to assume the status of Imperator. Naturally, the news that this exploration of this subplot will take front and center stage was further greeted with optimism from Mad Max fans, with the film chronicling the moment she was stripped from her family and taken to the Green Place of Many Mothers, where she was forced to essentially fend for herself before she gradually makes her ascent to power.

Related: Mad Max: Furiosa: Release Date, Plot, Cast, and Everything Else We Know

Due to the fact Imperator Furiosa was an entirely new addition to the franchise in Mad Max: Fury Road, little was known about her character, other than what featured around her ongoing battle with former ally, Immortan Joe, and her eventual allegiance with Max Rockatansky. From the trailer, it’s evident that this is at least, in part, a tale about Furiosa finding her way home.

The Casting Decision for Furiosa

Anya Taylor Joy as Furiosa in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga
Warner Bros. Pictures

Some fans expressed disappointment over the decision to recast Furiosa as opposed to using de-aging technology on Charlize Theron. A similar debate erupted over the lack of Mel Gibson in Fury Road. One of the reasons the fourth entry in the franchise lived in development hell for so many years had to do with Mel Gibson’s involvement and the controversies that followed the iconic actor/director. On the subject of de-aging, George Miller had this to say to the New York Times:

“For the longest time, I thought we could just use CG de-aging on Charlize, but I don’t think we’re nearly there yet… Despite the valiant attempts on ‘The Irishman,’ I think there’s still an uncanny valley. Everyone is on the verge of solving it — particular Japanese video-game designers — but there’s still a pretty wide valley, I believe.”

Despite some murmurs of discontent among ardent fans of this decorated franchise in relation to the decision not to allow Charlize Theron to reprise her role as Furiosa, the 2024 movie boasts the burgeoning acting talent of Anya Taylor-Joy in the central role. The Witch star is currently one of the biggest up-and-coming names in the industry and has repeatedly demonstrated her immense versatility and dexterity when it comes to taking on new characters. The casting decision to cast Chris Hemsworth as the primary antagonist was also a stroke of inspired genius and one that will surely pay dividends in giving Furiosa a big-budget feel as well as stand-out performances.

Furiosa: 2024’s Cinematic Savior?

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga Immortan and Hemsworth
Warner Bros Pictures

The film is expected to be released on May 24, 2024, in America, meaning the movie has had plenty of time to bake in post-production, where Miller has historically been laser-focused on perfection. The film would likely have been delivered much sooner, but due to COVID-19 as well as the SAG-AFTRA strikes, the project experienced numerous production delays. Furiosa is also on track to be Australia’s biggest film ever, generating $350 million for the local economy.

Related: Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga Cast & Character Guide

The countless delays may well serve to benefit the film, with 2024 looking increasingly sparse as far as new and original releases are concerned. As such, it will undoubtedly gain serious traction during both the build-up and during its theatrical release, something that may not have happened had it been released during a stacked 2023, where it could have feasibly been lost in the furor around Barbenheimer, the SAG-AFTRA strikes, and the autumnal releases. The movie has the coveted Memorial Day weekend, the same one that films benefited movies like Top Gun: Maverick, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.

How Can Furiosa Meet Expectations?

Nathan Jones as Rictus Erectus in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga
Warner Bros Pictures

With anticipation and expectation growing by the day, Furiosa has somewhat fallen victim to the rip-roaring success of its predecessors, and as pressure on the upcoming blockbuster reaches fever-pitch, how can the film meet expectations? The long-awaited installment of a beloved film can yield mixed results. The long-awaited prequel has often yielded mixed results from fans, be it Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace or Prometheus, to the best-case scenario being Monsters University, which was enjoyable if not a bit forgettable.

In many ways, Furiosa is very similar to that of The Dark Knight Rises. Both are continuations of beloved cinematic classics that were beloved by critics and audiences with the original director returning. Now the question is, can Furiosa deliver on the expectations set for it by audiences, and will audiences be able to engage with it as its own movie and not what it has been built up in their heads? After all, part of the success of Mad Max: Fury Road came from it coming as a major surprise to people. While the original films were certainly classics, they had been out of the public spotlight for so long that a new film just felt like another 80’s franchise attempting to cash in with a modern-day reboot, so audiences were genuinely surprised by the finished product. Furiosa does not have that same benefit, as it now carries the expectations set by its predecessor.

If Furiosa is to achieve the success of the aforementioned, it must contain all the pedal-to-the-floor, heavy metal set pieces that have become such a hallmark of the franchise while also offering a different dimension that explores this relatively unknown life of our new protagonist.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga opens in theaters on May 24, 2024.

New poster for Furiosa.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

Release Date
May 24, 2024


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