It has been five years since George Miller unleashed the pure insanity that was Mad Max: Fury Road onto the world, but today, Warner Bros. has announced the cast for the fifth film in the Mad Max franchise, entitled Furiosa.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Furiosa will be an prequel to the events of Mad Max: Fury Road centering around that film’s star, the eponymous Furiosa. While Charlize Theron played Furiosa in the previous installment, since this film will apparently take place years prior, it makes sense that Theron doesn’t seem to have any involvement in this latest project.
Taking Theron’s place as Furiosa will be Anya Taylor-Joy, who starred in this year’s The New Mutants and Emma. Joining Taylor-Joy will be Thor’s Chris Hemsworth and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who recently won an Emmy for his role as Doctor Manhattan in HBO’s Watchmen limited series. Warner Bros. has not announced who Hemsworth and Abdul-Mateen II will be playing or if any other character will be returning. While The Hollywood Reporter has said that the project is not yet greenlit, George Miller, who directed the previous four Mad Max installments, will return to direct, co-write and produce the film
Miller has been discussing a potential Mad Max: Fury Road sequel for years, after the 2015 film received overwhelming critical acclaim, with many calling it one of the best films of the year and the decade. The film won six Academy Awards, and was nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year, with George Miller receiving a nomination for Best Achievement in Directing. Mad Max: Fury Road made $154 million domestically, and $375 million worldwide, against a budget of over $200 million, making it a modest success.
In a 2019 interview with IndieWire, Miller admitted he’s been working on building out the Mad Max franchise, with potential sequels. “There are two stories, bot 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.”
Since Furiosa hasn’t even been greenlit yet, it’s no telling when we can expect the film, but the cast and crew certainly seems quite busy at the moment. Taylor-Joy has already wrapped Edgar Wright’s latest film, Last Night in Soho, scheduled for release in 2021. She is also currently filming The Northman, which reunites her with The Witch director Robert Eggers, and she’s been announced for the Kristen Scott Thomas-directed The Sea Change.
Miller has already said that his next film will be Three Thousand Years of Longing, starring Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton. While it’s not clear if Three Thousand Years of Longing will still be next or if Furiosa will become priority, MGM has already purchased the domestic rights for Three Thousand Years of Longing, which has been described as an “epic love story.”
The other two stars of Furiosa have even crazier schedules going forward. Hemsworth will begin shooting Thor: Love and Thunder in January, for a February 11, 2022 release. Hemsworth will also be playing Hulk Hogan in a Todd Phillips’ follow-up to Joker, and he’s currently scheduled for Extraction 2, the sequel to the Netflix film which was released earlier this year. Meanwhile. Abdul-Mateen II is prepping for a huge next few years. He will star in Candyman, which has finished shooting and will be released in 2021. He also has been announced to reprise his role of Manta in 2022’s Aquaman 2. Currently, Abdul-Mateen II is shooting his introduction in another major franchise, as he will appear in 2021’s The Matrix 4 in an unknown part.
Theron has stated in the past her disappointment at not getting to reprise Furiosa. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Theron said of the recast, “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 added, “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.”
Around the release of Mad Max: Fury Road, Vertigo did release a comic series that further fleshed out the world of Furiosa. The issue that specifically focused on Furiosa took place just before the events of Mad Max: Fury Road, explaining the bond between Imperator Furiosa and her bond with the Five Wives. Imperator Furiosa was assigned to protect the Five Wives, but eventually, Furiosa decides to help them escape from the grasp of Immortan Joe. With the casting of Taylor-Joy though, one would imagine that Furiosa will likely take place long before the events of this comic.