2015 was a great year for movies. There were so many great films, even the most discerning and self-assured of movie connoisseurs should have a hard time picking the best. However, one movie that should undoubtedly be near the very top of that list is Mad Max: Fury Road, starring Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy. Marking George Miller‘s return to the post-apocalyptic landscape that made him famous, Fury Road was also Miller’s first action film in the 30 years since Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. The film is beautiful, tight, unrelenting, emotional, and completely honors and respects its female characters in a movie where women are owned as breeders, while a majority of movies can’t even manage to pass the ankle-level bar of the Bechdel test. As such, Fury Road appropriately War Rig smashed the box office and flame thrower guitared all over critic’s reviews. The buzz for a sequel could not be louder, which makes it all the more devastating to hear that George Miller has absolutely no intention of ever directing another Mad Max movie. Ever.
It’s safe to assume that any Mad Max fan would love to see Miller return for a sequel to Fury Road, but he has some pretty compelling reasons not to. For one thing, it took the movie over fifteen years to actually get made. Filming was initially set to begin in 2001, but was postponed after 9/11. They were set to start filming again in 2003, but put the film on hold once more after the outbreak of the Iraq War. At one point, Heath Ledger was attached, until he heart-breakingly became permanently unavailable. Filming was set to commence once again in 2011, until unexpectedly heavy rains caused a lush sea of flowers to grow in the middle of the barren desert where they were shooting. Then, once filming was finally complete, the brilliance of the film was only achieved by editing down 480 hours of footage, including 2,000 visual effects shots, and averaging 22.5 cuts per minute. Hopefully, Miller has at least a few more decades on the planet, but it’s understandable why, at 70 years old, he may not want to tackle another Mad Max. Here’s what Miller had to say on the matter to Page Six:
“I’ve shot in Australia in a field of wild flowers and flat red earth when it rained heavily forever. We had to wait 18 months and every return to the US was 27 hours. Those Mad Maxes take forever. I won’t do those anymore.”
Fury Road was a wonderful, satisfying return to the world Miller created over 30 years ago and is a fulfilling end for Miller’s work on the series. Don’t think for a moment that there won’t still be more Mad Max movies; it just won’t be Miller in the director’s chair, that’s all. Besides, now that he’s done with Mad Max, movie nerds can finally look forward to one of the most anticipated sequels in all of cinema history with the long-overdue completion of the Happy Feet trilogy.