|“||I'm scared, Fif. It's that rat circus out there, I'm beginning to enjoy it. Look, any longer out on that road and I'm one of them, a terminal psychotic, except that I've got this bronze badge that says that I'm one of the good guys.||”|
– Max (Mad Max)
"Mad" Max Rockatansky, sometimes referred to as the Road Warrior, is the protagonist from director George Miller's Mad Max series, appearing in the films Mad Max, Mad Max: The Road Warrior, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome and the fourth entry in the series, Mad Max: Fury Road. Max was first portrayed by Mel Gibson in the original trilogy and most recently Tom Hardy in the re-imagined series.
Bren Foster plays Max in the 2015 video game, through voice and motion capture.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Appearance
- 3 Equipment
- 4 Abilities
- 5 Names and titles
- 6 Max's age
- 7 Character origin and development
- 8 Gallery
- 9 Trivia
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Maximillian "Max" Rockatansky started his apocalyptic adventure as a Main Force Patrol (MFP or "Bronze") officer, who fought for peace on the decaying roads of Australian civilization. Max served as the last line of defense against the reckless marauders terrorizing the highways, driving an MFP V8 Interceptor. With the world about to crumble, Max said little and paid little awareness to his ever-growing reputation as the cop that successfully put away gangs due to his outstanding, and increasingly ruthless, driving skills. In fact, the audience is introduced to Max as he joins the pursuit of the man calling himself "The Nightrider," the self-proclaimed "fuel-injected suicide machine." In order to stop Nightrider's rampage, Max rammed the man's car at top speed, sending it wheeling out of control, into total destruction.
Max, as a symbol of civilization, was a very emotional figure, whose range soared as high as laughter and comedy with friends and family, right down to fear and depression when he realized he was becoming no better than the ruthless, vicious gangs terrorizing the roads. It is through the eyes of Max Rockatansky that the overall theme of the film series, the Darwinian concept of "survival of the fittest," is classically illustrated.
Resigning from the Force Patrol, Max left with his wife, Jessie, and infant son, Sprog, for a life of solitude in the quiet countryside. But the gang, led by the cunning "Toecutter," stalked the Rockatanskys. Ruthlessly, they ran down and murdered both his son and wife before his eyes, deaths which had an obviously psychologically shattering effect on Max, transforming him into a bitter being full of hatred and anger. With his lighter emotions vanquished, Max embraced his darker side; he broke out his MFP leathers and commandeered a supercharged black Interceptor prototype called the Pursuit Special, thereby forever more becoming "Mad Max." As Mad Max, he carried out bloody revenge killings of those responsible for his family's deaths -- Toecutter and his crazy gang. Having been reduced to a shell of a man as a result of those deaths, Max then permanently left behind what little was left of this ever crumbling civilization and drove off into the desolate wasteland, apparently never to return.
The Road Warrior
Approximately three years after the events of Mad Max, we find Max surviving the wastelands in solitude with the sole companionship of a dog he picked up along the way. By this time we are led to believe that all major cities and urban centers have fully fallen as Australia, serving as a microcosm of the world, has become a complete dystopia. As such Max's Pursuit Special has become his home as we watch him scavenge the wastes of the Outback for water, oil, and petrol as his daily ritual of survival. One day, Max happens upon a mysterious-looking craft, a Gyrocopter, sitting desolate alongside the road. As Max investigates the lonely gyro, presumably for petrol and anything else at all useful, he is surprised to be ambushed from below as a man called the Gyro Captain cleverly emerges from a depression in the ground.
This decoy-ploy worked momentarily as it seemed the Gyro Captain had outwitted Max and was about to steal his car and belongings. That was until Max's pet, "Dog," jumped the Gyro Captain, giving Max the advantage. In order to preserve his life, the Gyro Captain told Max that he knew of a place where he could get all the petrol he wanted, explaining that there was a little compound refining it straight from the ground. The Gyro Captain led him to the wasteland plains, where Max discovered the besieged group of settlers and life changed drastically again for him. With a fortress constructed out of an old oil refinery, these civilized people were constantly terrorized by a tribe of heavy metal barbarians, led by The Humungus, self-proclaimed "Lord" of the barbarians trying to overrun the wayward compound.
As Max and the Gyro Captain staked-out the refinery, they witnessed several vehicles leaving the compound in an effort to escape the horde of Humungus. All of the vehicles were destroyed quickly and abruptly. Max and the Gyro Captain witnessed the occupants of one vehicle beaten, the woman raped, and the man shot with steel arrows. Max wastes no time in pouncing upon this event, seizing it as an opportunity to gain trust, entry, and especially fuel from the refinery's occupants by rescuing the injured refugees. Unfortunately, Max was able to rescue only the man, Nathan, who had been shot with arrows. Max and Nathan made a deal that if Max saved his life and returned him to the refinery, Max could fuel up and get supplies. However, upon Max's delivering the refugee to the compound, Nathan died before he could convey the pact to the settlers' leader, Pappagallo, revealing thusly, "If you had a contract, it was with him. And it died with him."
Having no bargain, the compound dwellers, suspicious of Max, treated him as a spy and an enemy, and handcuffed him to some piping. Whilst he was there, Max witnesses a confrontation between Humungus and the compound dwellers, wherein Humungus attempted to reason and bargain with them, telling them that if they walked away from the refinery no one would be killed. Of course, Pappagallo refused to believe those words, but there was internal strife among them, with some wanting to take Humungus up on his offer. Again, seeing an opportunity, Max told the compound dwellers, "Two days ago I saw a vehicle that could haul that tanker. You wanna get out of here? You talk to me." Thus, Max made a bargain to go for the tanker in exchange for all the fuel he could carry as well as some supplies.
Under cover of darkness, Max trekked across the wild outback occupied by the barbarians, at one point using a distraction by the Feral Kid to make it safely. Eventually, he got to the truck and drove it back to the compound. However, Wez, and a few of his cohorts attacked the truck and infiltrated the compound. The refinery dwellers, led by Pappagallo and the Warrior Woman, fought back, repelling Wez and his fellow barbarians, but Pappagallo was injured during the skirmish.
Max, having fulfilled his part of the bargain, stocked-up his Pursuit Special like a true mercenary out only for himself with the full intention of leaving. Pappagallo attempted to convince Max to stay and drive the tanker for them, to get back some of his lost humanity, but Max refused. Instead, he screamed off into the wasteland in an attempt to escape the barbarian horde and put this episode long behind him. Wez refused to allow that, though. He and other members of the gang chased Max down and attacked him, causing him to wreck the Interceptor at high speed, killing his dog and nearly killing Max, himself. His Pursuit Special was wrecked and exploded into a ball of fire, thanks to the little bomb Max had booby-trapped to the tank.
Fortunately, Max had a guardian angel of sorts as the Gyro Captain, spotted a smoke tendril on the horizon. He checked it out and found Max wrecked and injured. He flew Max back to the compound where the dwellers patched him up. At this point, with nothing in the world left at all of his ability to survive on his own, Max agreed to drive the tanker; indeed, he insisted on driving the tanker.
Max in the tanker, spearheaded the escape, along with those able-bodied men and women from the compound to serve as warrior-escorts of sorts. The horde of Humungus gave chase after the tanker in a thrilling and savage rolling thunder of a battle which saw the deaths of many of the main characters from both sides to include Pappagallo, Humungus, Wez, and Warrior Woman, not to mention nearly killing Max as well. At the conclusion of this savage "road war" the tanker was wrecked and, as Max learned, proved to have been filled with dirt rather than fuel -- when Max sees this, he and the Gyro Captain smirk at each other, with causes Max to almost laugh. The daring blockade run had all been an elaborate decoy to allow the rest of the refinery dwellers to escape, having hidden the precious fuel in their vehicles, wherein, presumably, they could find a new refuge and begin the task of rebuilding society.
Fifteen to eighteen years past the events in The Road Warrior, we find the desolate wasteland had changed Max almost completely physically, hair long, clothes reduced to scraps and shreds, and leathers battered. Max eventually ended up wandering into Bartertown.
In quick order, Mad Max finds himself in trouble with Aunty Entity, the ruling Dominatrix of Bartertown. Like the running theme of George Miller's dystopian trilogy, Barter, or making deals, is the primary form of currency. Aunty Entity offers Max a deal he can't refuse -- fight Blaster in the town's arena, kill him and go free. See, Aunty Entity has a feud with the being known as "Master Blaster," actually two humans in one with Master being a little person and the brains of the Bartertown methane operation, which provides vital power to town, and Blaster, his brawny bodyguard who carries him around on his back.
"TWO MEN ENTER! ONE MAN LEAVES!" is the blood-lusty chant that greets these neo-gladiators -- Mad Max and Blaster -- as they enter the ominous and infamous Thunderdome, the Thunderdome is fittingly a no-holds-barred arena in which the famous line "Two men enter. One man leaves!" sums up the rules of battle, or specifically blood-sport created to settle differences between individuals. After all, "It's the law!" Max must honor his deal with Aunty Entity and kill Thunderdome's reigning champ, Blaster.
The two men wage a fierce fight in which blades and pikes and even chainsaws are employed as weapons, which culminates with Mad Max gaining the upper hand over his much larger opponent. However, as Max is about to fulfill his end of the bargain he realizes that Blaster is an overgrown child, a man who has been afflicted with Down Syndrome, really an innocent who has been used to nefarious ends. Max, despite his anti-hero shell, abides a higher code than "Two men enter! One man leaves!" and spares the innocent from the evil plot.
As punishment, Max was subjected to the "Wheel of Fortune" or misfortune as the case may be, and ended up being exiled into the desert for his busted deal. It was in this desert wasteland where Max was saved by a tribal settlement of lost children who believed him to be their legendary savior – Captain Walker – who will whisk them off to Tomorrow-Morrow Land on his large, metal bird. Max quickly dispels their cobbled myth when he explains, despite the uncanny resemblance to a crude drawing, that he was NOT this prophetic hero, Captain Walker, and that their Tomorrow-Morrow Land was nothing but a figment of their imaginations. Instead Max reveals the cold, hard truth of the dystopian state of the world, a harsh and brutal world he has struggled mightily to survive, essentially telling them they had it better in the little oasis they inhabited.
Despite Max's brutal, if not well-intended honesty, some of the older children led by Savannah Nix trek out into the wastelands in search of Tomorrow-Morrow Land. When Max is informed of their flight he leads his own group after them and just in time as his band comes across the first, wayward group while they are battling to survive quicksand. Max rescues the children, but at this point they are lost in the wastelands and closer to Bartertown than to their oasis.
At this point, Max realizes that the best hope for the children, for the future of mankind, is not to allow the children to remain isolated in their oasis to eventually die off, but to help them make it to their fabled "Tomorrow-Morrow Land" where they can rebuild society anew. But in order for this to happen, Max also realizes that there is someone important, much more important and useful than himself, that can help them. Thus Max, with the aid of his lost kids, venture back into Bartertown to rescue Master.
Max and company rescue Master from the evil clutches of Aunty Entity in a heart-thumping chase, yet another road war, which crescendos into a close call, yet with Max left behind to face the hard and uncertain fate of a woman scorned. But the unusual end of the trilogy should be especially noted for a couple reasons:
And once more the raggedy man, Mad Max is left to the swirling dust of the road and the distant memories of those he saved, only to be passed down in legend by the lost children and the inhabitants of the oil refinery he had rescued years before.
Soon after, while getting his blood forcibly transfused into Nux, he is brought with the war boy as his blood bag in pursuit of Furiosa who has betrayed Immortan Joe by taking his Wives. Soon after Max prevents Nux from exploding his vehicle in order to slow down Furiosa's War Rig. After surviving a spectacular crash, he catches up with Furiosa and the Wives and holds them at gunpoint with an empty sawn off shotgun, demanding the chain linking him to Nux be cut. After a brief melee encounter between Max and Furiosa, Max emerges victorious.
He knocks Nux out and accidentally grazes Angharad's leg, causing her to bleed. He then climbs aboard the War Rig and tries to leave the group behind. Unfortunately for him, the War Rig has a kill switch that only Furiosa knows how to trigger and he reluctantly lets them aboard, all the while being vigilant of the women.
Later on, they approach a canyon to which Max comments that they shouldn't come through, only for Furiosa to say that she made a deal with a biker gang for safe passage. She then entrusts Max with the War Rig should the deal go sour. The deal does indeed go sour and they are chased by the furious bikers. Max helps Furiosa in evading and eliminating the chasing bikers. Soon afterwards, Immortan Joe arrives and in the chaos, Angharad slips off the War Rig due to her bleeding leg and is killed.
At night, Max and the group are slowed down by mud tracks with the War Boys heavy in pursuit. Max plants mines in their tracks and, as a result, two pursuit vehicles are destroyed.
Later, he and Furiosa hesitantly accept the help of Nux, who has betrayed Immortan Joe, in getting the truck out of the mud. After Max fails to shoot The Bullet Farmer, he gives the sniper rifle to Furiosa who manages to shoot the lights out of his pursuit vehicle, blinding him in the process.
With the Bullet Farmer enraged by his sudden blindness, he proceeds to a shooting frenzy, almost hitting Max and the wives while they're getting the War Rig out of the mud. As soon as the War Rig is on stable ground, Max temporarily leaves the group to subdue the Bullet Farmer and returns with blood on his face, several loads of guns and ammunition, a steering wheel, and even a boot for Nux.
They depart soon afterwards for The Green Place. As the day arrives, Max asks Furiosa how sure she is that this green place still exists with her replying that she was born there, how she was kidnapped, and how the green place will be the last shot for the Wives to find hope and peace. When Max asks what it is she hopes to find, she answers "redemption".
As they drive on, Furiosa spots a tower with a nude woman calling for help, which Max comments is bait, but Furiosa replies how she's seen this before. Furiosa then calls out her name, her mother, and her birth, seemingly to the woman, who signals to a biker group who reveal themselves to be the Many Mothers, a group that Furiosa's mother was in. The biker group notice Nux and Max after confirming Furiosa is indeed her mother's daughter and are wary of them, but Furiosa assures them the men are reliable, though Max goes back inside the War Rig, perhaps as a polite gesture or out of fear they may kill him. Unfortunately, when Furiosa mentions the Green Place, they inform her that the Green Place died long ago and they passed its radiated remains through the mud tracks. Furiosa breaks down and screams in grief, with Max looking on.
Later that night, Furiosa approaches Max, explaining to him their plan to leave the Wasteland and through the salt flats to escape from Joe and in hopes to find a new home. She offers Max a spare bike, fully loaded with gas and supplies, and a chance to join them, to which Max replies that he'll make his own way. As Furiosa walks away, Max says to her, "You know, hope is a mistake. If you can't fix what's broken, you'll go insane."
The next day, after Furiosa, the Wives, the Many Mothers and Nux depart, Max gets another hallucination from the girl that has been haunting him for quite some time and rides after the group. Max reveals his idea of a new home, the Citadel, home of the War Boys and the kingdom of Immortan Joe. Though the group is against the idea initially, Max goes on to tell his plan that with the War Boys coming after them, the Citadel remains unguarded and they can use the canyons to seal them off permanently, earning everyone's approval. The plan goes underway, and the chase is on.
In an effort to move the Rig faster, Max spits fuel into the supercharger and tries detaching the tanker. Soon after, the War Rig is boarded by polecats and Max engages into combat. After Max saves Furiosa by a slim chance, he is almost shot in the head but survives. In the midst of all the assault, Toast is taken by a polecat and placed into Joe's vehicle.
After a struggle between two of the attackers, Max is knocked off balance but is saved by Furiosa, who gets stabbed in the process. Nux, who was fixing the truck's engine from below, kicks Max onto the the People Eater's limo where he subdues the driver and the People Eater. Max uses him as a human shield when Immortan Joe shoots at him.
Soon after, Max escapes the truck's explosion after being caught in the fire. Immediately though, he gets taken by a polecat and manages to get the polecat off him. After landing on the Coma-Doof Warrior's vehicle, Max gets back on board the War Rig and fights against Rictus, who is killed when Nux deliberately flips the War Rig to seal the canyon. Later, Max uses his blood to save Furiosa from her injuries. Once they arrive at the Citadel, Max reveals Joe's corpse, much to the crowd's great joy.
Afterwards, Furiosa and the wives are raised up on a lift by the War Pups, but Max stays behind, sharing a glance with Furiosa before disappearing into the crowd.
One of the most iconic cult classic characters and one that sports outfits and clothes recognisable by so many, the character of Mad Max changes drastically over the years. The first film was shot on an extremely tight budget, all MFP uniforms were constructed of vinyl with plastic shoulder-caps, with exception to Max and Goose's outfits (which were made entirely out of leather)
The once immaculate MFP uniform he wore throughout the second film consists of fine, tough leather with armoured plates attached to much of the outfit. As the years progress so does the wear on the uniform. It becomes dusty and ripped in places and is missing the right sleeve where Max supposedly cut it off to help bandage the broken arm given to him, along with a shattered knee, at the end of the first film. A metal leg-brace that helps Max walk from the leg injury is seen in the second film. This brace was actually constructed of tail-gate hinges from a utility truck, with an attached knee pad and leather straps. Eventually, Max's hair grows wild and the jacket shows evidence of even more usage. He also adorns a robe and cloak to shield himself from the desert sands.
In the video game, Max's appearance is very similar to his appearance in The Road Warrior, though his hair is a different color and lacks the distinctive grey streak, and he sports a beard. The length of Max's hair and beard can be changed, and he can be fitted with goggles, bandanna, and grease or blue racing face paint. Players can also give Max different gloves and arm guards which will also improve his fighting skill. Max can also be fitted with a bulletproof vest over his jacket.
During the first two films, Max makes use of a V8 Interceptor: a limited 351cu version of a 1973 Ford XB GT Falcon Hardtop, though he drives a different vehicle (an MFP Interceptor) earlier in the first film which is a 4-door version of the XB Ford Falcon. In the third movie, after the destruction of the Pursuit Special, Max acquires a custom built 4x4, but having no fuel to power it, it's towed by a pair of camels, which he later loses.
Max is armed with a Smith & Wesson model 28 .357 magnum revolver (as his main sidearm, which he never uses or even draws), which is the standard issue sidearm of the Main Force Patrol. Once Jessie and Sprog are killed he favours a sawed-off double barrel shotgun. The exact model is unknown, but it may be a Savage/Stevens 311A or a VG Bentley. Unmodified Bentleys are carried by other members of the MFP. The shotgun is his weapon of choice (though he gains several more during the course of his time in the wasteland) until it is confiscated upon his arrival in Bartertown. A different model of shotgun appears in each of the three movies, however, they all seem to be modified pre-1950 hammerless boxlock-action shotguns. In the second film, he is also armed with a Vietnam War-era Gerber combat knife, which he pulls several times, once on the Gyro Captain. Max is also briefly seen carrying a model 1912 Winchester early in the film.
In the third film, he is shown to have a plethora of weapons hidden on his person, including a different older sawed off double barrel shotgun, a Mauser C96 Broomhandle and several other pistols, a crossbow, and a collection of knives, all of which are confiscated.
During the fourth film, Max initially is only armed with his sawed-off double barrel shotgun. Throughout the film, however, he makes use of several different firearms, due to having access to the War Rig's considerable assortment. For the most part, he makes use of a Glock 17, later switching to a Browning Hi Power.
Without any doubt, Max's natural skill is driving. He was once considered the "top pursuit man" in the MFP. These abilities later lend themselves to driving off-road, evading gangs and wrecks easily and out-driving or ramming them off the road. Max even drives a large truck despite being severely injured. He is a very capable hand to hand combatant in good physical condition. By Fury Road, he is a very experienced survivor, able to fight Furiosa and the Five Wives pretty much on his own after being almost drained of blood and dehydrated for several days. He was also able to, with great difficulty, overcome and knock Rictus Erectus unconscious, though he did have to resort to using a gas canister to knock him out.
Max's reflexes are lightning quick by the second film as he manages to capture a snake before it bites him. In the third film, Aunty Entity chose him to kill Master Blaster due to being the only one surviving her "audition".
Mechanic skills enable Max to perform minor repairs on his vehicles, and even to rig one to explode - like his Pursuit Special.
It is worth noting that a number of "Hero rules" don't apply to Max. Gunshot trauma to his left leg during the events of Mad Max is still apparent in Mad Max 2, as he walks with a slight limp and wears a leg brace, and still even wears a bandage on the knee in Mad Max 3. He has also had multiple near-death experiences almost all of which occur due to car crashes. Director George Miller had been a medical doctor prior to a film-maker, many of the injuries shown in the films are based on car-crash trauma he had treated in real life.
Names and titles
Max's time in the Wasteland erodes both Max's sanity and sense of Self. As time wears on, Max leaves his name in the past, choosing to reveal it to a chosen few and letting other inhabitants willingly name him as they see fit.
Perhaps his most notable alias in the Wasteland is "The Road Warrior", a title which eventually goes down in history and legend. When in Bartertown, Aunty Entity names him "Raggedy Man", whilst Dr. Dealgood introduces him as "The Man With No Name" during his Thunderdome brawl. During the events of Furiosa's road war, Max is pejoratively referred to as a "Full Life" by The Organic Mechanic and "Blood Bag" by Nux and Slit upon his capture by Immortan Joe's forces, and then "Fool" by Furiosa when he refuses to disclose his name. When Max first meets Chumbucket, he is recognised as "The Driver" and "Saint".
Although disputed among the fan community and even George Miller himself, canon follows what Miller has said in interviews .
- Mad Max - About 23 years old (based on Mel Gibson's age at the time).
- Mad Max: Road Warrior - This occurred three years after the events of Mad Max, placing Max's age at about 26 years old.
- Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome - This takes place fifteen to eighteen years after Road Warrior, making Max about 40 years old.
- Mad Max: Fury Road - Max is in his mid 30's, despite Fury Road technically being set after Thunderdome. The age difference most probably stems from the fact that much older Mel Gibson was originally set to reprise the role of Max, but due to unforeseen circumstances and Miller's desire to keep Max's character relatively young, an actor of younger age was selected for the role. Hardy was 37 at the time of the movie's release, so we can estimate that the character is meant to be around Tom Hardy's real age at the time of filming.
Character origin and development
The character of Max was directly inspired by George Miller's experience as a young practitioning doctor. Shortly after finishing medical school Miller began working as a doctor and he was immediately struck by how desensitized seasoned doctors were from years of dealing with tragedies and gore. It made Miller wonder how a regular person would react in such environment and what it would take to emotionally break them. That in return inspired Miller to create a character for his first full feature movie. The character - unnamed at that point - would have been a reporter visiting places of accident - much like Miller himself during his work as a doctor. That character would eventually become accustomed to and eventually desensitized to violence tragedies, but the final push over the edge of sanity would come in the form of a personal tragedy - the loss of his family. However, George Miller could not justify how this would happen to a journalist nor his family. And so he changed the profession of the protagonist to a police officer. The justification was that this line of work not only might cause emotional damage but also put their loved ones at risk. The character was named Max Rockatansky after Carl von Rockitansky - a 19th century pathologist, inventor of the 'Rockitansky' procedure - the most common method of internal organ removal in an autopsy. It is worth mentioning that originally the setting of the movie was in contemporary Melbourne. The change to set the movie in an unspecified dystopian future came from a small budget that forced creators to film in abandoned and derelict locations as well as increasingly over the top nature of the movie that would lend itself to justifying the impact it had on Max's psyche.
The Hero With a Thousand Faces
After the success of Mad Max, George Miller noticed that in many countries, the protagonist of Mad Max was recognized as a familiar mythological hero. In Japan, Max was compared to a lone samurai, in France he was recognized as a character from a western, in Scandinavian countries he was compared to mythical heroes. This observation made Miller realize that with creating Max, he unwillingly tapped into a hero archetype. George Miller and Terry Hayes (script co-writer for Mad Max 2) began studying the work of Joseph Campbell by reading his book called "The Hero With a Thousand Faces" which outlined the traits of hero archetype. Upon realizing the potential of Max as a Campbellian hero, the character of Max began to shape into an ever-wandering hero, a mythical character remembered through folk tales and stories from the people he had met. Additionally the state Max was left in at the very end of the first movie made him a perfect candidate for an anti-hero that would be in perpetual limbo between complete distrust and removal from humanity to regaining his human side by helping people he stumbles upon in his journeys. The character, however never fully redeems himself and returns to wandering as soon as his journey for a particular episode is complete.
Turning Max into a wandering mythical hero opened up a world of possibilities for Max, however predictable his arc would be each time, the mythical aura surrounding him would lend itself to a specific type of storytelling - the 3rd person storytelling where factual information could have been obscured or misrepresented by the person telling the story - it is a phenomenon called 'The Rashomon effect'. This approach would allow for often open interpretation of things presented in stories, leading to a number of fan theories. This wasn't a conscious effort by George Miller as it's been pointed out to him after the release of Mad Max 2.
Ending the myth, starting a myth
The mythical makings of Max would continue for the remainder of the original trilogy starring Mel Gibson but Max's wandering was supposed finally end with Fury Road. The reason for this decision came from the sheer fact that Max would have been an old road warrior by the time of Fury Road and Brendan McCarthy along with George Miller would not justify letting Max go out into the wasteland yet again after the events of Fury Road. Therefore the final chapter in Max's journey was constructed in such a way that Max would be thrown into absolute - and literal - madness at the very beginning of the movie, but he would finally - and completely - redeem himself and regain his humanity once and for all by the end of it.
However, with the change of the main actor to Tom Hardy, a possibility to extend the Mad Max franchise was open, therefore it was decided that Max should yet again wander into the Wasteland at the end of the movie - despite of what the original script called for. Ultimately the decision to keep Max true to his Campbellian mythical hero characteristics along with a new actor allowed for rebooting the franchise and indefinitely continue Max's journeys in the wasteland, albeit chronologically separate from the original trilogy.
Entertainment Weekly ranked the character eleventh on its list of the top twenty "All-Time Coolest Heroes in Pop Culture" in April 2009. The magazine also listed the characters portrayed by Kevin Costner in Waterworld and The Postman as "copycat descendants" of Max Rockatansky.
In 1990 and 2015, a video game based on the character was released. In 2001, several action figures based on the character's Road Warrior incarnation were released by N2 Toys. More recently, the character has made his debut in comic books.
- Max is never actually referred to explicitly as "Mad Max." on screen. It is only mentioned once by the Nightrider in the original script for the first Mad Max movie. He is, however, called "Mad" By Johnny at the end of the original Mad Max, and referred to as "no longer insane" by The Dag in Mad Max: Fury Road.
- Ever since the end of first movie, the character of Max continuously spirals down the path of insanity despite having a chance to redeem himself and regain his humanity in each movie. Max's degeneration as a human being culminates in Mad Max: Fury Road, where he is found in an animal-like state, eating a lizard off the ground and having a muzzle put on him by the War Boys, as well as being called a "raging feral" by Slit. However, he then begins regaining his ability to speak and interact with people, only to wander off into the wasteland yet again at the very end.
- Several enemies Max has to face are Max's reflection of himself. Wez's outfit partially mirrors Max's (shoulder-pad), and his motivation for revenge is similar to Max's as well (loss of what could be considered either his son or his lover – The Golden Youth). Aunty Entity was once a hero – like Max – but her inability to accept any change in the world she created for herself turned her into a villain. It mirrors Max's internal inability to let go of the past, and serves as a cautionary tale of what would happen to Max if he refused to change. It is also the reason Aunty is not a traditional villain, and why she spares Max's life at the very end, recognizing parts of herself in Max. In Mad Max: Fury Road, Max is forced to confront his own trusted vehicle. All of those elements are supposed to help Max confront his past and let go of it, perhaps ushering him into a peaceful existence, but he refuses to change each time around.
- In the video game, Max can be equipped with blue facepaint, which makes him resemble Mel Gibson's portrayal of William Wallace from the movie, Braveheart.
- The tattoo on his back states: "no deformations, no lumps, no bumps, two good eyes, no defects in piss, 'OK' (circled), genitals intact, multiple scars, needs food, O-negative, high octane, universal donor, Lone Road Warrior rundown on the powder lakes, V8 (circled), (most of the next line is covered:) psychotic, must be muzzled".
- This means the V8 interceptor was captured in an area known as the Powder Lakes, most probably a salt lake.
- Also, the tattoo states that his blood is "high octane," most probably meaning that his blood is high in adrenaline, this would also explain how he can perform in intense, high-speed battles without a problem, while also taking extensive damage.
- Max regains his injuries and battle-scars throughout the original trilogy. In the first movie, his arm is run over and his left knee is shot. This resulted in a torn-off jacket sleeve and a leg brace in Mad Max 2. After crashing the Interceptor in the second film, he is left with a perpetually-dilated pupil in his left eye, suggesting he is now blind in one eye. He also sustains shoulder injury from Bearclaw Mohawker, who tore through his jacket and into his shoulder with his metal claw. Max's blind eye is seen in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, his knee wrapped in bandages, as well as his jacket repaired from the Bearclaw Mohawker attack.
The continuity of Max's injuries somewhat made it into Fury Road, where Max is still wearing a leg brace, his left jacket-sleeve is still gone, and there are even marks of the Bearclaw Mohawker-attack that damaged his jacket. However Tom Hardy's Max does not appear to have sustained any damage to his left eye. The partial continuity of Max's battle scars in Fury Road is due to the fact that Fury Road is considered to be a "soft reboot" of the franchise.
- For whatever reason, Max drove around with a flute in his Yellow Interceptor in the original Mad Max.
- Max is the only MFP officer with a car that doesn't drive with a partner, despite his partner's name being written on the side of the car. That is because, according to the original script, Max's partner (The Dark One) sustained severe injuries during a chase. The story Goose tells at the restaurant is actually about Max's partner, and what happened to him.
- All four Mad Max movies document Max's descent into insanity. In the first movie, he is traumatized by his work and the death of his family and friends. In the second movie, he becomes a recluse that strays from humanity, and only interacts with them if necessary. In the third movie, a deleted scene shows him having nightmares about his wife, and the original script shows him hallucinating when he's wandering the desert. In Fury Road, he doesn't know how to speak from years of solitude (which was wrongly attributed to Tom Hardy's inability to portray an Australian accent), he has severe PTSD, he has frequent audio and visual hallucinations, and acts more like a caged animal than a person.
- "The Top 20 All-Time Coolest Heroes in Pop Culture," Entertainment Weekly 1041 (April 3, 2009).