War Boys' life
War Boys are hand picked at a young age by the guardians of the elevator platform of The Citadel and are indoctrinated as zealots in the cult of V8 with Immortan Joe as their immortal leader. They were based on the Japanese Kamikaze pilots of World War II. They are completely loyal, blindly following their leader, never questioning the morality of his actions. They view death in service to Immortan Joe as an honor.
Becoming a War Boy is a privilege, unbeknownst, however to the subject. The guardians of the elevator platform select healthy and strong individuals upon their descent into hordes of The Wretched. In a deleted scene of the movie it is shown that The Wretched want their children to be taken atop The Citadel seeing it as the only chance for their children to survive. That request is often denied in a rather brutal fashion.
Upon arriving at The Citadel, children are given new names and become War Pups. They are taught to believe in the cult of V8 and worship all things mechanical. They become mechanics, "rev-heads", or "black thumbs", crafting all kinds of mechanical devices, usually involving vehicles and combat, however are not allowed to go into battle yet.
If War Pups survive long enough they become War Boys. Most of them are plagued by cancer, the most common one being lymphoma, others resulting in partial or complete blindness. They require blood transfusions to prolong their lives and it's one of the reasons they hunt for unsuspecting wanderers of The Wasteland such as Max. Max's utility as a source of blood is what kept him alive after being captured.
“These War Boys have no choice. They're culturally impoverished: There's no books, there's no internet, there's no theaters, no radios, no music. All they have are the detritus of the past and they refashion it so a steering wheel becomes a religious artifact; they do the sign of the V8; the engine they scarified on their bodies, because an engine is much more permanent than the human body; they chrome their teeth, because chrome is such a rare thing. So like all cults this is another cult invented by the Immortan Joe in order to get people to die on his behalf.”" - George Miller
For the most part, War Boys learn about and cherish mechanics. Their life is filled with boredom except for an occasional raid or a supply run.
All Warboys have their torsos, arms, and heads completely covered in a white powder. It is both a tribute to their revered leader Immortan Joe who uses white powder as medication but the white powder is also meant to give War Boys a skeletal appearance as they are 'half lives' - essentially on their deathbed. They also use grey clay pigment around their eyes, mouths, or foreheads to give themselves more of a skeletal look. They are distinct from Joe's imperators who are in fact 'full lives' and not covered in white powder, though as Imperators their rank is signified by black grease on their heads. During their downtime, War Boys - wary of their short lifespan - carve, or brand mechanical autoparts onto themselves such as engines, pistons, etc... Fury Road's costume designer, Jenny Beavan explains:
“Our idea was that the War Boys, that was all they knew—their cars and the mechanics of cars. They knew how to make them work but, you know, they didn’t know how to make their ailing bodies work. So, they scarred themselves up like car pieces and car parts because they knew how to mend those.” "They cover themselves in white dust to mirror the preferred stylings of their leader"
The War Boy ranking system is based on age and role. The War Pups are seen to be taken care of by the older War Boys. The youngest War Pups are painted plain white whereas older War Pups have black rimmed eyes. As they get older they transition into becoming War Boys. There are two ranks of War Boys. Lower rank War Boys do not have any markings on their heads. Higher rank War Boys such as Slit and Ace have grey pigment on their heads. Above them are Imperators that have black mechanical grease on their heads, i.e. Furiosa and Immortan's other Imperators.
War Boys are indoctrinated into believing that Immortan Joe is their absolute benefactor and savior, and that the car, and the V8 engine is the source of their strength and power.. They are brought up thinking Immortan Joe is actually immortal and by loyally serving him, will be granted entrance through the gates of Valhalla in the afterlife, rendering them immortal as well. They believe in a completely developed cult which translates onto their speech and actions:
"He is the one who grabbed the sun!"
Fully aware of their short lifespans dubbed "half-lives" they only care for serving the Immortan Joe to live again in the afterlife. They are utterly willing to die for their cause, and will call upon their fellow warboys to "witness" their deaths in combat. They despise the idea of "dying soft", and prefer to go out chrome on the fury road to Valhalla.
The steering wheel has become a powerful religious symbol for the cult.
Brought up as mechanics, they are worthy of fixing vehicles until they reach a certain age that allows them to drive and customize their own vehicles. They seem to have a somewhat personal attachment to those vehicles however, symbolized in their custom steering wheels and cars. The cars serve them as chariots capable of reaching Valhalla, despite being regarded as "shiny and chrome".
Their history is unknown, where or what era they were founded in as well as how long they have stayed in power. They control scarce resources such as water, food, ammunition and crops that they acquired by unknown means and use these resources to stay in power.They are allied with Gas Town and the Bullet Farm, extorting resources like "guzzolene" and ammunition. They rarely engage in battle amongst their own, as they are dependent on each other in order to survive.
The War boys all appear to suffer from some sort of terminal disease - most commonly lymphoma. Healthy children are a rarity in the wastes and for those born with the affliction, signing on with Immortan Joe is the only way to prolong their short, miserable lifespans. This is achieved through regular blood transfusions from "blood bags," rare, disease-free slaves whose purpose is to provide fresh, clean blood in a world without a means to preserve it. They are covered in ritualistic scarification, perhaps as an outward representation of their station, and dusted in white pigment to achieve a fearsome, skeletal appearance. This dusting may also serve to disguise their generally sickly appearance and make it harder to distinguish one from another to outsiders.
The War boys are indoctrinated into a death cult dedicated to the worship of a living god - Immortan Joe. Their highest aspiration being a glorious death in battle so that they might one day ride forever beside Joe in Valhalla. When a War Boy senses this moment in Valhalla approaching, he will "chrome" himself and ride willingly to his death, taking as many enemies and vehicles with him as he can. A war boy's station is represented by his position on a vehicle when riding into battle. This ranges from clinging tentatively to the hood of the car, feeding "guzzolene" into the hood scoops to provide extra horsepower, all the way up to manning the on-board weaponry and the pinnacle, the much coveted drivers seat, like Immortan Joe himself.
List of members
- Immortan Joe - Leader
- Rictus Erectus - Commander and co-leader.
- The Prime Imperator
- Coma-Doof Warrior
- Nux (formerly)
- Ace (formerly)
- Imperator Furiosa (formerly)
- Scabrous Scrotus - Warlord
- War Boy's act of spraying their teeth with chrome paint was inspired by a 1981, Oscar nominated documentary entitled "Front Line". It follows the career of Tasmanian-born combat cameraman Neil Davis, particularly his time in South Vietnam and Cambodia in the late 1960s and early 1970s. George Miller said in an interview:
|“||I saw a documentary where young [Cambodian] soldiers would go into war, they had little jaded deities -- and before they ran into battle, they put them in their mouths and just held them with little straps.||”|
– George Miller
Seeing this peculiar act on screen inspired him to create a similar ritual for the War Boys whom would spray their teeth with chrome paint before battle (or more precisely, before an attack) which would help bring them to Valhalla. Additionally, this ritual is analogous to a real world act of 'Chroming', i.e. inhaling intoxicative volatile vapors or gases of chrome paint via the nose and trachea. A third reason for this ritual is that the War Boys - weary of their dwindling health desire to be more like 'indestructable' machines, not only through body modification representing mechanical parts (engine blocks, spanners, cog wheels etc), practicing the religion of the "V8", but also ultimately spraying their faces with chrome paint - regarded as the most beautiful finish on a machine, which might help them reach 'Valhalla'.