Mad Max: The Wasteland is the upcoming sequel to Mad Max: Fury Road, and the film might break a decades-old Mad Max trend. Since the original Mad Max was released in 1979, the series has been drip-feeding movies, with only four Mad Max films coming out since the series’ inception. Due to the long gaps between films, the Mad Max franchise has undergone a lot of changes among its four entries, but Mad Max: The Wasteland may make the biggest and strangest change yet.
Mad Max: Fury Road is director George Miller’s 2015 reboot of his beloved Mad Max series, being the first entry since 1985’s Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Although Mel Gibson played Max Rockatansky in the first three films, Tom Hardy took over the role for Mad Max: Fury Road, with Tom Hardy’s Mad Max returning for Mad Max: The Wasteland. With the long-awaited sequel finally on the horizon, it seems like Mad Max: The Wasteland will feature one of the franchise’s biggest shake-ups yet.
Every Mad Max Movie Has Changed The Character (So Far)
Although Mad Max has been in every film in the series, it is really in name only. Each Mad Max movie has altered the titular character, with Max’s goals, personality, and attitude being incredibly different across all four of the films. In the original Mad Max, Max is a futuristic cop who is seeking revenge on a gang due to his family being murdered. Max in The Road Warrior is a quiet, violent, Clint Eastwood-type character, with his cowboy attitude varying wildly from his initial incarnation. Mad Max has changed again in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, where the character has regained his humanity and is akin to a mythical legend.
Mel Gibson played all three versions of Mad Max, making this difference in characterization quite strange. Max was changed one final time when Tom Hardy took over the role for Mad Max: Fury Road, with Hardy’s version of the character being more of an antihero. This version of Max is selfish and angrier than his predecessors, but the film also humanizes him by showing his hallucinations and anxieties. These changes are mostly due to the time gaps between Mad Max films, but that may not be the case for Mad Max: The Wasteland.
Why Mad Max: The Wasteland Doesn’t Need To Follow The Series Trend
Mad Max: The Wasteland could and should be the first film in the series to not change Max. While Mad Max: The Wasteland has taken a while, it still isn’t nearly as long as the gap between Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome and Mad Max: Fury Road. On top of that, Mad Max: The Wasteland is being marketed as a sequel to Mad Max: Fury Road, meaning that the title character needs to stay consistent. In North America, Mad Max 2 was called The Road Warrior, with the sequel not sharing the franchise name. Fury Road and The Wasteland, however, are far more connected, meaning this trend needs to end.
Tom Hardy’s version of Mad Max is also more beloved as a character than Mel Gibson’s version ever was. Hardy’s Max is far more fleshed out, with the character being an actual three-dimensional protagonist, which is far different from Gibson’s, who was basically a vessel for violence. Mad Max’s human story was given more focus in Mad Max: Fury Road than ever before, and Mad Max: The Wasteland needs to maintain the same character in order to continue this.
More: Mad Max Timeline Explained: When Each Movie Takes Place