By the time Mad Max: Fury Road comes out, it will have been thirty years since the last Mad Max movie. And there are a number of reasons for that; here’s a guide to the long, messy, and strange journey Max had to take to get back on screens, from the multiple failed starts, to the attempts to turn it into an animated feature, to the triumphant arrival at San Diego Comic-Con.
1985: Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome is released. It’s a box office and critical success, largely thanks to George Miller’s imaginative staging of action scenes and Tina Turner’s hit song. Speculation immediately begins that a fourth movie is in the works, although Miller is oddly silent.
1985-1995: Miller essentially spends the next decade trying to get as far from Mad Max as he can get. Among the movies he directs, produces, or writes? Lorenzo’s Oil, Babe, and The Witches of Eastwick.
1998: Miller releases Babe: Pig In The City. Oddly, a dark movie about abduction and fear doesn’t do well with kids. It’s the last movie he’ll direct for nearly a decade.
2000: Mel Gibson more or less states he’s done with the franchise, because he’s too old, something he reiterates in 2010.
2003: Miller reveals pretty much out of nowhere that a script for the fourth Mad Max has been written and is going to be shot in May with a $100 million budget, with Gibson, who apparently isn’t too old to cash checks. Thanks to the Iraq War, this announced plan promptly falls apart.
2006: Gibson bails on the project completely.
March 2009: Miller announces that Mad Max will return… as a 3D anime feature, arriving in 2011. He’s also developing a video game, now.
May 2009: A sane adult takes over and Mad Max: Fury Road is returned to production as a 3D live action film that takes place between Mad Max and the Road Warrior. Location scouting begins for a quick shoot, which is… promptly delayed.
2012: Mad Max: Fury Road finally starts filming. Miller promptly goes completely over budget, as the majority of the film is rumored to be done entirely with practical effects and stunts, and Warner Bros. has to send an executive to make sure they don’t lose nine figures’ worth of production budget. It wraps after nearly six months of shooting.
2013: A year later, everybody goes back for reshoots. Despite, well, everything you’ve read in this entire article, it turns out that Miller and Warner Bros. weren’t trying to salvage a dog, but wanted to shoot more bits for two of the action scenes. Insiders describe the movie as an “unbroken chain of action packed chase sequences.” The 2015 release date is also announced.
2014: We finally see the first trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road and the Internet melts down. For those who missed it, here ya go:
By all accounts, the movie was always intended to be rated R, and may touch off a new series of movies: Miller claims to have shot two movies back to back. Considering the entire marketing message is “Hey, remember all the awesome parts of the Mad Max movies? This is a two-hour supercut of those” and the fact that the studio can apparently actually back this claim up, we’re pretty optimistic for May 15th, 2015.