Fans just got a first look at the Mad Max spin-off Furiosa, as star Anya Taylor-Joy plays a recast version of Charlize Theron's Fury Road character.
Furiosa is just the latest entry from George Miller's iconic Mad Max franchise, but the first since arguably his biggest and best - 2015's Mad Max: Fury Road.
The critically acclaimed blockbuster introduced audiences to a reenvisioned take on Miller's post-apocalyptic world with Venom actor Tom Hardy taking over for original star Mel Gibson in the titular role.
The film also shined a light on a new character brought to life by Charlize Theron, playing a female survivor named Furiosa who rebels against her oppressors, and is the subject of the upcoming spin-off.
The Furiosa Recast Explained
While Charlize Theron brought Furiosa to life in Mad Max: Fury Road, Queen's Gambit star Anya Taylor-Joy has stepped in to play the role in George Miller's 2024 spin-off donning the character's name, and there is a good reason for that.
Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is a prequel to the events of Fury Road, thus explaining why Taylor-Joy was brought in.
The film will follow a younger version of the character, as she "is taken from her family" and "devote[s] the rest of her life to finding her way home" (via the movie's official synopsis):
"As the world falls, young Furiosa is snatched from the Green Place of Many Mothers and into the hands of a Biker Horde led by the Warlord Dementus. While two Tyrants war for dominance over the Citadel, Furiosa survives many trials as she plots a way back home through the Wasteland.
45 years after the collapse, a young Furiosa is taken from her family. She will devote the rest of her life to finding her way home. This is her odyssey."
As evident by the recently-released trailer for the movie, this "odyssey" will see Taylor-Joy's character caught in the crossfire between two warlords in the post-apocalyptic wasteland (one of which is played by Thor's Chris Hemsworth).
The Queen's Gambit actress was ultimately brought in to play a recast version of Theron's Fury Road character simply because Furiosa takes place years before the 2015 movie (somewhere around 10 to 15 years prior).
In December 2022, Theron was asked by The Hollywood Reporter about the idea of getting recast in Furiosa, to which she replied, "I’m not mad," proceeding to call Anya Taylor-Joy, "One of the greatest fucking actresses [working right now]:"
"Listen, I’m not mad about [Miller doing a prequel instead of a sequel]. One of the greatest fucking actresses [Anya Taylor-Joy] is picking up something that I only imagined."
She also added, "I love George. I know I’ll talk to him again:"
"No, but I get that. It’s always tricky. Who wants to pick up the phone and say, like, 'Hey, we’re going to go do this without you.' No one wants to do that. So, I totally get that. And I love George. I know I’ll talk to him again. I think it was just too hard."
Why Was Anya Taylor-Joy Cast as Furiosa?
Furiosa and Mad Max filmmaker George Miller has been fervent in his praise for Anya Taylor-Joy.
As Charlize Theron bluntly put it, Taylor-Joy is widely considered "one of the greatest fucking actresses [in Hollywood]."
According to Miller, it was seeing the young actress in Edgar Wright's Last Night in Soho that sold him on the idea of working with her.
The legendary director told Empire in 2021, he had "never seen her in a film until [he] saw her in Soho," but seeing that movie, he saw that she was "gonna be huge:"
“I’d known about Anya but I’d never seen her in a film until I saw her in 'Soho.' And I remember thinking, ‘Gee, she’s interesting.’ I started to say to you, ‘I’m looking for someone to cast as Furiosa,’ and I barely got the sentence out before you said, ‘Don’t go any further, she’s great, she’s gonna be huge. She’s fantastic to work with.’ You were so emphatic about it.”
And Miller's support of the actress did not stop there. Even after cameras were rolling he was still right by her side, as the latest star to lead one of his Mad Max films (via Entertainment Weekly):
"He was just incredibly supportive of me. We're such good friends, and I think he deliberately didn't tell me too much, but his overall theme was: You've got this, you're going to be okay, and you've definitely got it in you to handle it. It's going to be wild but you can do it. It's just nice to have support from a friend like that."
While some may miss Oscar-winner Charlize Theron, it seems (at least according to George Miller) audiences are getting a just as capable actress on the ascent to Theron-level superstardom in her stead.
Furiosa races into theaters on May 24, 2024.