“She would have been able to do that”: George Miller Might Have Killed the Mad Max Franchise by Not Bringing Back Charlize Theron as Furiosa Struggles in Theatric Wasteland

Instead of de-aging Charlize Theron for ‘Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga’, George Miller chose to cast Anya Taylor-Joy.

George Miller, Charlize Theron
Credits: Wikimedia Commons / JJ Georges

SUMMARY

  • Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga’s disappointing opening weekend performance was not expected.
  • The film, directed by George Miller, had a stellar ensemble, making it one of the most anticipated films of the year.
  • However, the absence of Charlize Theron as Furiosa in the prequel raises concerns about the magic that could have been created if she had returned.
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The weak first-weekend performance of Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is concerningly indicative of larger issues with the Hollywood box office. Note that the latest flick, under the direction of George Miller, is a prequel to 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road. Sure, the stellar cast that it brought together made the movie one of the most anticipated of the year, especially in the film enthusiast community.

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Thus, one can’t help but wonder: What magic could Charlize Theron have woven had she returned as the indomitable Furiosa in Miller’s ambitious saga? Sadly, her absence in the anticipated prequel, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, is obvious.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga’s disappointing opening weekend performance was not expected.
Chris Hemsworth in George Miller’s Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga | Warner Brothers

Despite Anya Taylor-Joy picking up the mantle with grace and Chris Hemsworth shouldering a new dynamic as a warlord, a studio insider suggests that the lack of Theron’s magnetic presence might have contributed to Furiosa’s struggles to draw audiences into theaters.

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Can George Miller’s Mad Max Franchise Thrive Without Charlize Theron? 

The iconic post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max has enraptured audiences for over 40 years, yet it appears that it is facing a major crisis. With the latest installment, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, struggling to find its footing at the box office (see The Numbers), an insider has recently pointed fingers at director George Miller’s risky decision not to bring back Charlize Theron as Furiosa.

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) featured Theron in a role that was nothing short of iconic, as Furiosa Jabassa. Fans fell in love with her fierce and fearless performance, and many were eagerly anticipating her return in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.

But instead of sticking with the tried-and-true formula that had worked so well in the past, Miller opted to cast Anya Taylor-Joy as a younger version of Theron’s character in the latest installment.

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The absence of Charlize Theron as Furiosa in the prequel raises concerns about the magic that could have been created if she had returned.
Anya Taylor-Joy as a younger Furiosa in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga | Warner Brothers

The decision not to bring back Theron has been met with criticism from a studio insider (via THR), who argued that the actress’ star power could have significantly boosted the film’s box office performance:

I think Furiosa suffered without Charlize. People who see the movie love it. The problem is getting them into theaters. She would have been able to do that.

The film’s box office performance dropped to a meager $26 million between Friday (May 24) and Sunday (May 26), according to another report from The Hollywood Reporter. As far as Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga’s global performance goes, it does not get much better.

George Miller’s Vision for ‘Furiosa’: Why De-Aging Technology Fell Short

George Miller considered employing de-aging technology to cast Charlize Theron in his latest film, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, even though he believed “it would have been difficult” to pull off. But, ultimately, chose to appoint Anya Taylor-Joy, 28, to play the role of Imperator Furiosa instead.

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In an interview with Variety, Miller said he had seen the use of de-aging in films such as The Irishman, directed by Martin Scorsese, and Gemini Man, helmed by Ang Lee. The former said the following about technology: 

Both of them were masterful directors, but it was never persuasive. I thought all people would be watching is Charlize looking young and knowing it’s an effect. And as time went on and we got into litigation with Warner Bros, we had to find someone younger.

George Miller considered employing de-aging technology to cast Charlize Theron in his latest film, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, even though he believed “it would have been difficult” to pull off.
Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road | Warner Brothers

The 79-year-old filmmaker continued by stating that one of the things that most interest him is the profusion of new effects tools in modern films. However, these were not good enough tools, as Miller noted:

I mean basically, we’re following someone from the age of 10 to 26, 28, something like that. It would have been difficult.

Thankfully, Taylor-Joy—best known for being the lead character in Netflix’s hit series The Queen’s Gambit—was up for playing a character that Theron had already established as a major figure. Miller said of The Northman actress:

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She had, in that physical sense, all the makings of that character — someone who has a lot of natural skills and abilities and someone who could survive in the wasteland, which is a pretty uncompromising world. 

Anyway, it seems that Miller’s decision not to bring back Theron as Furiosa may have been a fatal blow to the Mad Max franchise. But for now, fans can only wait and see if the Wasteland will continue to thrive without its iconic characters at the helm.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is available in theaters, while Mad Max: Fury Road is streaming on Max.

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Written by Siddhika Prajapati

Articles Published: 1731

Between everyday normalities and supernatural abnormalities, Siddhika Prajapati finds the story in everything. Literature Honors Graduate and Post-Graduated in Journalism (from Delhi University), her undying need to deduce the extraordinary out of simplicity makes her a vibrant storyteller.

Serving as a Senior Entertainment Writer at Fandom Wire and having written over 1700 pieces, Siddhika has also worked with multiple clients and projects over the years, including Indian Express, India Today, and Outlook Group.

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