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.