For the timeline attached to the first three films starring Mel Gibson, see Timeline of events (original trilogy).
With the advent of Mad Max: Fury Road and the complimentary comic books, a new - alternative - timeline of events was presented. This timeline alters the original backstory to fit better into current times, cast changes and was caused by long production process.
- 1 Reasons for timeline alteration
- 2 Sequel, Reboot, Re-imagining?
- 3 Timeline of events
- 4 Timeline differences and inconsistencies
- 5 Videos
- 6 References
Reasons for timeline alteration
In 1997, Mad Max: Fury Road was originally intended as a direct sequel to Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. Mel Gibson was considered for the role yet again and the story was "about an old warrior", i.e. tailored towards Mel's age to continue Max's adventures in The Wasteland. Max - then in his 50's - (he was 41 in 1997 not 50) - would become almost feral, driven to the edge of insanity through isolation and desperately clinging onto his past, with a new and unfinished version of his Interceptor he built by scavenging the wasteland. The movie was called "Fury Road" from the beginning and the story resembled very much the movie that was finally released almost two decades later. The production concept art by Brendan McCarthy for Fury Road featured Mel Gibson as well.
In the early 2000's the movie written by George Miller and Brendan McCarthy was green-lit and filming was ready to advance, but it was swiftly halted by the Iraq War and US dollar crisis which caused the production to lose 25% of its budget. Shortly after, Mel Gibson's public meltdown cast him out of the production as well. From 2004 to 2009 the fate of the movie was uncertain as it had entered hiatus, and George Miller focused on directing other movies such as Happy Feet. During that time there were rumors of a CG Mad Max movie, an Anime or Manga and a video game as well. One of video game ideas carried over to the final movie - the lack of the boot spoiler on Max's Interceptor in Fury Road. It was designed that way because the spoiler was going to be a bonus item in the video game. Furiosa's Manga concept drawings ultimately resurfaced after the premiere of Fury Road as well.
The extended production hiatus had its impact in the form of cast and story changes. Mel Gibson's involvement became non-existent and George Miller started to look for a new - young - actor to play the role of Max. His first choice was Heath Ledger from 2006 through 2008 until Ledger's untimely passing. It was later decided on Tom Hardy to play the new - young - Max. The choice of a young actor baffled many and Miller's explanation that it's a new Max with the original 'DNA' in him did not help whatsoever, urging fans to wildly speculate if the new Max is perhaps Max's Rockatansky's son or even a clone. Nick Lathouris - originally working as a script and story analyst on Fury Road - was given the task of co-writing the movie around the time Tom Hardy was cast. Lathouris introduced script changes that not only would accommodate a new - young - actor as Max, but also during the second delay in 2009, his and Miller's writing resulted in creating extensive backstories for characters (with contributions by actors who ultimately played roles of Nux and Furiosa), vehicles and even weapons. The extended universe of Fury Road then took shape of two additional Mad Max movie scripts and prequel comic books which were originally going to be drawn by Brendan McCarthy, but were not due to his obligations at that time.
Eventually, due to changes, the original, direct 'sequel' approach by McCarthy and MIller was abandoned and reworked as a reboot with an altered timeline and backstory to distance Fury Road from the original trilogy and better fit the new actor and appeal to new moviegoers, unfamiliar with the franchise. Miller explained that it was simply easier for him to abandon the continuity of the original trilogy and tell the story of Max strictly as a campfire tale, similar in fashion to Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.
|“||This movie is an account of the Road War which follows. It is based on the Word Burgers of the History Men and eyewitness accounts of those who survived.||”|
– George Miller, August 2012
Sequel, Reboot, Re-imagining?
The final movie started its life as a sequel to the original trilogy still operating within a vague timeline like previous movies, but over a decade it was altered to become a reboot strongly rooted in its sequel origins. This explains Miller's ambiguousness in describing what this movie really is. Many times he hinted at the movie taking place "40 years from next Wednesday" as well as being set after Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome - both statements are true. The script itself was not changed much from the original, however many elements were altered and added to better fit within its new 'reboot' concept and to divorce Fury Road from the original trilogy. The most notable change was a different ending. Originally - in Mel Gibson's Fury Road - Max would go up the elevator to finally join society after many years of wandering the wasteland and also finding a person worthy of himself - Furiosa. Since Mel Gibson's departure and replacing him with Tom Hardy, the weight of Max's character was reduced and he became more equal to Furiosa herself, which along with Max's now younger age - did not agree with the theme of an old and troubled warrior finally finding his place in the society among a warrior worthy of himself. The change of the main actor affected other areas of the original script, which was now set 40 years after 2010's: modern cars (Nissan Skyline R32, Hummer), items (Nokia 6100 circuit board on Immortan Joe's chest piece), references to modern events and people (Fukushima, Tony Abbott), were strictly designed to put a modern spin on Mad Max: Fury Road. The new backstory now focused more on the environmental issues with the introduction of Water Wars and placing the nuclear holocaust before the events of Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (contrary to the original timeline, where nuclear bombs dropped after The Road Warrior). As much as Fury Road is set in a different timeline from the original trilogy, the complementary comic books attempted to directly connect the events of the original trilogy with Fury Road. This resulted in many timeline inconsistencies with the original trilogy.
Timeline of events
This timeline of events is based on comic book information and additional information found in interviews with cast and crew.
In an unspecified time 'before the fall' the world was fueled by greed, commodity and black fuel. The wastes were poisoning the world's water and the sky. Eventually, the black oil started to run out and wars were fought to control the little that remained. The people awoke from their complacency and realized their peril, urging to 'save the planet' and protesting against the Australian government ran by Tony Abbott. Those actions were met with force, directed by those who held onto power. But it was too late. The streets were filled with fire and blood. Anarchy reigned. Gangs and militias took control, while the citizens hid under their beds. Colonel Joe Moore, a veteran of the Oil Wars and a hero of the Water Wars, forms his gang.
Events of Mad Max take place.
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
Events of Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior take place.
Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome
Events of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome take place.
Post-Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome
Max wanders out into the wasteland yet again. Still clinging onto the past he is hell-bent on rebuilding his Interceptor. He finds his way into Gas Town where a fight to the death against The Buzzards in Thunderdome Plus wins him a Boss 351 V8 engine for his Interceptor. The Thunderdome battle is hosted by none else but Dr. Dealgood himself. Upon winning Max is attacked by the Buzzards, his vehicle taken and he is left to die. A mysterious woman helps him in exchange for saving her daughter - Glory - from the Buzzards' hideout. Max accepts the offer and retrieves both her and his beloved Interceptor. Unfortunately, the mother and child are killed in the process. Max buries them and again goes out into the wasteland to seek solitude.
Mad Max: Fury Road
An unspecified time after Max's encounter with Glory and her mother, Max is tormented by the demons of his past, the people he could not save. Max reverted to his most feral state, behaving like an animal. He does not know his own voice because he hasn't spoken out loud for many years. He talks only to voices in his head. His rebuilt Interceptor is in a very bad shape. He is captured by Immortan Joe's gang and ultimately regains part of his humanity by helping Imperator Furiosa in escaping from the tyrant. Max refuses to join society once again and wanders out.
Post-Mad Max: Fury Road
The Citadel has been claimed by Furiosa and The Five Wives and is being operated with help of Corpus Collosus. The Wretched had built a city at the base of The Citadel and its population seems to be thriving. Children are being taught history by The History Man.
Mad Max (video game)
The 2015 video game shares a lot of concepts with Mad Max: Fury Road and comic books, but it is not chronologically connected to the franchise. It borrows the setting of the movie with its main location: Gas Town along with the main antagonist briefly mentioned in the Nux & Immortan Joe comic book: Scabrous Scrotus (Immortan Joe's son). Most vehicle designs are based on Fury Road, familiar tribes make an appearance (The Buzzards) as well. This is where the similarities end.
In the game, Max is shown to have lost a daughter instead of his son. Max's Interceptor is reminiscent of the Mad Max 2 version. Glory's and her mother's (dubbed Hope) story line is different from the comic books and the general plot of the game - with Max reclaiming his vehicle at the end - conflict with the comic-books and the movie which makes it its own separate entity.
Timeline differences and inconsistencies
The original trilogy could be treated as separate stand-alone stories, however they all share a number of chronological cues which ultimately formed a cohesive trilogy with a fairly consistent timeline. Since Mad Max: Fury Road was changed from being a sequel to the franchise by abandoning its continuity with the original movies and shift the timeline to some odd "45 years from next Wednesday", the marriage of the original trilogy's timeline with Fury Road proved to be problematic and it presented a variety of continuity inconsistencies.
The comic books explain that the events which lead to the downfall of society were ignited by Fuel and Water Wars. While Fuel Wars could be attributed to wars fought before the events of Mad Max in the original trilogy, there is also an introduction of Water Wars to signify the environmental message presented this time around in Fury Road. The motivation for the people's uprising against the governments was presented differently as well, as it was not motivated by the lack of fuel, but rather reckless approach towards the environment. It is also worth mentioning that the people explicitly protested against the government led by Tony Abbott - the PM of Australia from 2013 to 2015. References to environmental disasters such as Fukushima are mentioned as well, which gives a slight hint of when the fabric of society started to crumble, placing it roughly in 2010's. After the Fuel and Water Wars this timeline inserts the original trilogy, which is where most inconsistencies occur.
Events of Mad Max are inserted after 2010's when the downfall of society happens in the comic books. It ignores the fact that in the original trilogy, Main Force Patrol was established in response to the ever growing anarchy on the roads - in 1983.Another obvious inconsistency is that the MFP post-2010 uses vehicles from the 1970's. According to the comic book, the nuclear holocaust happens between the events of Mad Max and Max Max 2: The Road Warrior, contrary to the original trilogy's timeline. The events of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome provide a date: 1999 written by Cpt. Walker, signifying his departure from the Crack In The Earth in search of civilization. That would be 10 years before the downfall of the society even begun in the comic book. Heading towards the events of Fury Road we learn from comic books that Max had rebuilt his Interceptor after the events of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome and wears a jacket with Bearclaw Mohawker markings on it - which is a remnant of consistency from Fury Road's original sequel idea. But then again, Fury Road introduces modern vehicles such as Nissan Skyline R32 all covered in computer motherboards, Nokia 6100 circuit board on Immortan Joe's armor - clearly modern items designed to establish Fury Road 45 years after 2010's. Finally, Max has been caught by The Immortan Joe's War Boys on the 12045th day after 'the fall' - roughly 32 years after the apocalypse. Had Mel Gibson played Max in his 50's as originally intended - that number would make perfect sense. However, this produces an inconsistency in Fury Road because Max is in his 30's in the movie. According to that tattoo Max would have been born into the apocalypse which is definitely not the case. The final and most visible inconsistency is the age gap between the Vuvalini and Max. Both of them are supposed to come from the 'old world' (seeing as Max was an active member of still functioning police force before the collapse). Yet, Max in Fury Road is almost the same age as Furiosa who had been born into the post-apocalyptic world and has no recollection of the 'old world' whatsoever. The number of inconsistencies with the original timeline of events disqualify it as being a direct continuation of the original trilogy, but rather creates a new timeline of events.
- http://www.indiefilmacademy.com/ifa-21-mad-max-fury-road-co-writer-brendan-mccarthy/ (39min : 36sec)
- Cameron Manewell - Fury Road's action vehicles mechanic and builder.
- Main Force Patrol
- Timeline of events