George Miller Says He Courted Heath Ledger To Lead ‘Mad Max’ In 2006, Reveals Title For ‘Fury Road’ Sequel

George Miller Says He Courted Heath Ledger To Lead 'Mad Max' In 2006, Reveals Title For 'Fury Road' Sequel

Blasting out across the media landscape like an atonal chord blasted from the flamethrowing guitar dude in "Mad Max: Fury Road," the buzz around George Miller‘s return to the desolate landscape of the future has been electric. Already, folks are wondering what’s next. We’ve long known the director already has two more stories mapped out, and while he hasn’t disclosed any plot details, he has teased that he’s got a title for what would be the followup. 

“We’ve got one screenplay and a novella. It happened because with the delays [on ‘Fury Road’], and writing all the backstories, they just expanded,” Miller explained on The Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith about the genesis of the followup films. And while he hasn’t gotten around to storyboarding them —give the guy a break, he only finished ‘Fury Road’ a few weeks before it opened around the world— he says the next entry will be titled “Mad Max: The Wasteland.” So ruminate on what that might mean for the next adventures of Max Rockatansky. But in an alternate universe, ‘Fury Road’ would’ve already been released with a different actor in the lead role.

One of the reasons ‘Fury Road’ took so long to happen was that it was just one obstacle after another in trying to get it made. The film was originally slated to film in 2001, but the 9/11 attacks drastically affected everything from the power of the American dollar to insurance costs for the production. And not long after Mel Gibson had his well publicized meltdown and the role of Max needed to be recast, one of Hollywood’s brightest talents at the time was considered as such.

“Every time Heath [Ledger] would come through Sydney, he’d call in and we’d chat about Max,” Miller told The Daily Beast. “He had that same thing that Mel and Tom Hardy have —that maleness, charisma, and restless energy, which you need to play a relatively still character. The world lost someone great when he went. Tom was the next to walk through the door that had that vibe.” Indeed, Hardy does a lot with very little dialogue-wise in ‘Fury Road’ and yet still commands the screen.

But what do you think? Could Ledger have pulled it off if everything had worked out? Let us know below.

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I don’t think heath ledger coulda done it. Na Nope nada. Tom Hardy…………wha….whoo. Well doesn’t compare to Mel Bad casting in my opinion…Sorry

The Bronze

I’m huge mad max fan and I remember being excited for the next film because of the Heath ledger rumors. He was a great actor and I’ve never seen him in a bad role. If I was to pick what movie of his sold me on him being the next max was a knights tale, he did such a great job. I wasn’t sold on tom hardy beingax until I saw the film, which I have seen twice. Even his amazing performance as bane, he didn’t seem like a max type actor. Fury Road is a worthy addition to the series, I do wonder how different it would have turned out with heath ledger in the war rig passenger seat next to charlize Theron.

Chris Saunders

Tom Hardy is boss. (See "Boy 44").

Indominus Rex

I guess the real question here is why Mel Gibson never played a villain in one of Chris Nolan’s Batman films.


In globalizing the Aussie wanderlust in the expansive openness since many 70s films, yes Ledger would’ve given an unique take filtering some group or tribal consensus, through his role though ostensibly set in dystopia. It’s an unspoken relationship to the surrounding space, that even Eastwood didn’t fully develop until more films into his collaboration with Leone. Hopefully Hardy develops that extra-craft dimension too.


Ledger would likely make a solid Mad Max. Tom Hardy was very solid himself, but it’s tough to compare to Mel Gibson in that role specifically because his face and expression define the emptiness of the wasteland and a broken man so well.


Furiosa was a proposed anime tie-in to Fury Road, wasn’t it?

Gerard Kennelly

watch ‘Terminator Salvation’ to see what Sam Worthington would have been like as mad max


what happened to Mad Max: Furiosa? wasn’t that supposed to be filmed in conjunction with Fury Road?


Traded one Batman villain for another, eh?


I’m sure Heath Ledger would make the character completely his own, something he’d done with every role he portrayed in his short but deeply memorable career. LOVED Hardy in the role (for me, he easily surpassed Mel Gibson) but Ledger would be a really interesting choice as Mad Max. It’s a shame that towering talent of his is gone. He’ll always live through his terrific cinematic work though.

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