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Gather your war boys and (re)watch the entire Mad Max saga this week as Furiosa is here

With Furiosa here, let's break down the watch order of the classic Mad Max movies.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga
Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

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It's time to get all shiny and chrome, as Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is out now. But its more than just a movie - its the newest addition into a franchise that, thanks to us, you can ride eternal into with our guide to watching the Mad Max movies in order.

Mad Max is a classic action film franchise dating way back to 1979. That's right up there with Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and the Alien franchise. After a 30-year hiatus, Mad Mad: Fury Road attracted a new generation of fans to the franchise - and its coming back for more with Furiosa.

Furiosa brings the total to five Mad Max films, just the right amount for a movie marathon. If that excites the wasteland parts of your brain, let's run through the Mad Max films and how to watch the franchise in release and chronological order.

How to watch the Mad Max movies in release order

Mad Max
Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

It's a straight road from beginning to end (so far) for 'Mad' Max Rockatansky. Here's how to watch it as creator/writer/director George Miller intended it (and released it):

Here's a bit more about each film:

Mad Max (1979)

The first adventure of 'Mad' Max Rockatansky hit theaters in 1979. The original film followed our titular Main Force Patrol officer, played by Mel Gibson, on the hunt for wasteland justice. It turns out some marauders killed his entire family, setting Max on a quest for vengeance. He takes off in his iconic black Interceptor on the road to becoming the Road Warrior. That was a rough pun, but it was worth it.

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)

The Road Warriors is the second chronological film in the series. Max, now a lone wasteland wanderer, becomes the reluctant hero of a small community as they defend themselves against a gang of thieving marauders. Mad Max 2 plunges its world further into decay and disorder. This film introduced the concept of Wasteland warlords and set up the Mad Max universe we know today. This film paved the way for characters like Immortan Joe.

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)

Behold is the third entry of the Mad Max saga. Mr. Rockatansky locks horns with the iconic Tina Turner as Aunty Entity, leader of Bartertown. Max becomes a pawn in Auntiy Entity's plot to subjugate the town's refinery leader known as Master. Naturally, chaos ensues, and Max enters the Thunderdome to take on Master's giant bodyguard, Blaster. For context, Master rides on the back of Blaster to create the human Megazord known as 'Master Blaster.' '80s movies are the best.

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Mad Max: Fury Road is the spiritual successor to, and quasi-reboot of, the Mad Max franchise. Max, now played by the stoic Tom Hardy, is captured by the maniacal warlord of the Citadel, Immortan Joe, by his band of War Boys. Max meets and ultimately helps Imperator Furiosa, played by Charlize Theron. The film focuses on Furiosa as she attempts to liberate Joe's harem of enslaved wives by commandeering the War Rig and fleeing to 'The Green Place.'

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (2024)

Furiosa is a fairly direct prequel to Mad Max: Fury Road, but focusing not on Max but on Charlize Theron's Furiosa (in this case, Anna Taylor-Joy's Furiosa). The film explores the origins of the titular War Rig operator, Furiosa, as a young woman in the Wasteland. In it, Furiosa is taken from the 'Green Place of Many Mothers' by Dementus and his biker gang. From there, Furiosa must survive a war between Dementus and a young Immortan Joe of the Citadel and fight to find her way back home. To say anything more would be spoilers, but we have an whole article for that with our Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga ending explained.

How to watch the Mad Max movies in chronological order

Mad Max
Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

And here's where the fork in the road comes. With the release of Furiousa - a prequel - this puts the whole convoy of Australian post-apocalyptic films in turmoil. Good thing we have a road map:

  • Mad Max (1979)
  • Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
  • Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
  • Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (2024)
  • Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

As it turns out, the order is the same as the release order, sans the Furiosa prequel . The timeline gets wobbly once when Mad Max: Fury Road enters the chat. That film is technically the fourth movie, but it reboots Max as a younger man, still in the general timeline of the original films.

There was speculation that Tom Hardy's Max was a grown version of The Feral Boy from Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior. This theory helps align how Max suddenly gets younger, post Thunderdome antics. This theory, however runs afoul when elements in Fury Road show he's Max and not another character.

Is Mad Max in Fury Road the same Mad Max?

Mad Max
Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Yes? The films do not definitely indicate that the two versions played by Mel Gibson and Tom Hardy are different characters. That said, there are time and age inconsistencies between the last time Mel played Max and the start of Mr. Hardy's tenure. It's safe to assume they are the same Max but slightly different. There may be a multiverse of Mad Max variants. Everything has a multiverse these days, so why not?

Should I watch Mad Max in order?

Watching the original films in order will give you a holistic look at the Mad Max world. Not to mention insight into how the current films got their setting and style. It isn't a requirement to understand the franchise. Each film tells a self-contained story with many references to previous films. Enough that you can piece together the ongoing plot. If you want a franchise to binge, you can't go wrong with a Mad Max marathon.

Will Charlize Theron be in Furiosa?

Mad Max
Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

It's been announced Charlize Theron will not be reprising her role as Imperator Furiosa in the upcoming prequel. Because the film covers the origins of a young Furiosa taken from her home, the production needed a younger actress to portray the titular hero. Anya Taylor-Joy steps into the dusty boots of Furiosa in the next film. When asked about the recast, Charlize told The Hollywood Reporter, "It's a tough one to swallow."

Is the 2015 Mad Max game in continuity with the Mad Max movies?

Continuity's a tricky thing in the Wastelands, beginning with the fact the lead character was re-cast with a much younger actor. But add to that is 2015's Mad Max game, a game produced to coincide with Fury Road. At the time, the game's developers said it wasn't connected with the movies, but recently a noted film critic said they read thr script to Furiosa and it explicitly makes the 2015 game canon. Take that one with a grain of salt for now...

Will there be another Mad Max movie after Furiosa?

With Furiosa in 2024, there is possibly one more Mad Max film on the horizon. After the release of Mad Max: Fury Road, director George Miller mentioned at least two other films. One was Furiosa, and the other was tentatively titled Mad Max: The Wasteland. While Furiosa follows the character Charlize Theron made famous, Mad Max: The Wasteland will continue the story of Max Rockatansky. There is no release date or information on whether it is still coming on. Look for more information after Furiosa hits theaters in May.

The Mad Max franchise continues its 45-year tenure as one of Hollywood's preeminent post-apocalyptic action franchises. Mad Mad: Fury Road marked the franchise's resurgence, breathing new life into the dormant IP. Adding Furiosa gives the franchise new avenues to explore and characters to follow.

You can't be mad at that.

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