Hollywood has mastered the art of the remake, the reboot, the reimagining, the do-over, sequel, prequel — leveraging an existing property and slicing it every which way you can to milk it for all it’s worth. The new black, however, or at least flavor of recent months, is the midstream rebuild: taking your favorite franchise and basically disregarding the lesser chapters of the story to create a kind of parallel universe that cleaves itself in between existing movies. Case in point, you’ve got an upcoming “Alien” movie from director Neill Blomkamp. While the plot is unclear, and he’s been overly polite to “Alien” installments three and four, it’s apparent that he’s picking up the continuity of the story right where it left off at the end of James Cameron’s “Aliens.” The new “Terminator: Genisys” essentially ignores the “bad” pictures in that franchise.
Another movie doing the same sort of thing is “Mad Max: Fury Road” by director George Miller. He directed all three installments of the ‘Mad Max’ movie, but with ‘Fury Road’ he reinvents his own trilogy; ‘Fury Road’ picks up somewhere between the end of “Mad Max” and the opening half of “The Road Warrior,” and reimagines what happened to tell a completely different story. This kind of movie retconning isn’t too dissimilar to what comics have done. In order for brands and franchises to live on, we expect to see this sort of thing continue for years. It’s almost like studio execs saying, “where did we go wrong?” and then recreating a new story that veers off after the last well-established series installment.
So for ‘Fury Road,’ which now recasts Tom Hardy in the Mel Gibson role, Mad Max is off in the desert being chased by a band of similar, but different, nihilistic road warriors, and runs into a group of female warriors — lead by Charlize Theron — to start a whole new adventure. Will it spawn a new trilogy? We’d imagine that’s the hope, but we’ll see if it connects with audiences in the blockbuster way Warner Bros. is surely hoping it will.
Co-starring Nicholas Hoult, Zoë Kravitz, Riley Keough, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Abbey Lee Kershaw, Hugh Keays-Byrne and Nathan Jones, “Mad Max: Fury Road” is set to roar into theaters on May 15, but will make its world debut one day earlier at Cannes on May 14th. Watch the new trailer below.