Roads not taken – unmade Science Fiction films & television…
Mad Max: Fury Road was released early last month. Although one of my original rules was not to trace the development of a particular film that is eventually made, I also like to break those rules from time to time. So he’s the exciting adventures of the fourth Mad Max film.
The first Mad Max film was released in 1979, and was followed in 1981 by Mad Max 2 (aka Road Warrior) and in 1985 by Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. The series was created by George Miller and Byron Kennedy and all the films starred Mel Gibson as Max. Miller directed the first two films alone, and after the death of Kennedy, wasn’t interested doing a third film but agreed to direct it in partnership with George Ogilvie. After that he said he was uninterested in doing another Mad Max film.
In 1998 Miller had an idea for a fourth film, which he developed over the next few years, about a fight over humans rather than oil or water. Plans were made to film in 2001, but the events of September 11 and parity between the US and Australia dollar put plans on hold.
The film was greenlit for production in 2003 to be filmed in Australia and Namibia, but a deteriorating political situation lead to the film being shelved once more. Mel Gibson had been cased but lost interest with the cancellation.
In 2006 and 2007 the film was mooted again, written by Miller and British comic book writer and artist Brendan McCarthy. Miller believed that Gibson was too old and Heath Ledger was considered for the role. During this time Miller was hired to make a live action Justice League film Justice League: Mortal that, too, went unmade.
After Ledger’s death in 2008, Miller looked at releasing a Mad Max animated film using many of the elements from Fury Road. The film was planned to be produced by Miller and Doug Mitchell’s Dr D-Studios for a 2011 or 2012 release.
The project was moved to Warner Brothers in 2009 and once again became a live action film. Miller announced that Mad Max: Fury Road would be filmed back-to-back with a sequel Mad Max: Furiosa (now called Mad Max: The Wastelands) and is the first in a trilogy.