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Photo Courtesy of Warner Bros.

It seems like a lifetime ago since Mad Max: Fury Road hit theaters as a heavily marketed summer blockbuster reboot of the cult-classic film franchise. The 2015 dystopian film, the franchise’s first since 1985’s Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, brought Australian director George Miller back to the world he first created in the 1970s, though with an extensive arsenal of special effects technology.  A success critically and financially for Warner Brothers, a sequel appeared to be in short order but, four years later, there’s no signs of life regarding the next installment.

Bringing Miller’s unique, and visually-stunning, storyline to life was no easy task, costing the studio an estimated budget just north of $150 million.  In the end, Mad Max: Fury Road tallied a healthy $349 million worldwide – just under half of which was domestic revenue – and while many dismissed it as another junk food action film, it racked up 10 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director.  Despite failing to win any of the heavy-hitting awards, it proved to be the talk of the night, winning six Oscars for technical accomplishments such as Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing and Best Sound Mixing.  It achieved something action films of this caliber rarely receive – recognition from the academy. With the franchise revived, it seemed poised to be Hollywood’s next juggernaut, pumping out a steady stream of sequels.

Rumors immediately began to swirl about the potential of two sequels, both with Miller at the helm, in the works at Warner Bros. but it took a backseat to a legal feud surrounding the franchise.  It all came down to financial compensation, with Miller’s production company accusing Warner Bros. of failing to deliver a $9 million bonus to Miller for bringing the film in under it’s targeted budget.  The two sides went back and forth, with a lot of legal mumbo-jumbo mixed in, as Warner Bros. claimed production delays caused the film to actually go over budget.  It’s unclear if the two sides settled out of court, though there’s no indication a verdict has come from the court case, continuing to log jam any future films.  But, as the battle wages on, there might be some hope.

Last February, rumors that production might soon begin on the untitled sequel came from Fandango managing editor Erik Davis, claiming the sequel was “beginning to rev its engines” though he offered no further details.  That was several months ago and there have been no other rumblings. While it’s excitable news, it would appear as though Davis heard wrong. And here we are, back where we started, with occasional rumors, no concrete evidence and still no sequel to arguably the greatest reboot of the last decade.  Then there’s the worry that Miller’s age could become a legitimate factor the longer the next film gets caught up in the process.

At 74-years-old, Miller is well into his twilight years.  Sure, a sequel could be made with a different director but it would be an incredible injustice to the story, as fans would be deprived not only of the director’s bizarrely intriguing vision, but his stunningly gorgeous film style.  Between six months of grueling filming and a wealth of planning, Mad Max: Fury Road was an elaborate process, with post-production accounting for the majority of the time, thanks to more than 2,000 visual effects shots.  In total, it took Miller and his crew almost three years from start to finish – that’s an extensive amount of time to ask someone to devote to a project at his age.

Not to mention, the actors would likely have to set aside about six months.

A quick check on IMDB for the main stars of the film, Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy, would show both actors have several projects announced that have not yet started filming – Hardy with a sequel to Venom and a project titled War Party and Theron with Atomic Blonde 2.  Their schedules could make planning it a nightmare, however there’s no guarantee Theron’s Furiosa character returns at all, which is one of the longstanding rumors.  Mad Max: The Wasteland is listed as announced for Hardy, though no other information within the last two years is available on the internet. Keep in mind, the site has been known to provide misinformation based on rumors.

The window for a sequel in the same vein as the 2015 blockbuster is closing and with legal battles, studios seemingly dragging their feet and the potential for scheduling conflicts, there’s little indication that Mad Max: The Wasteland will happen anytime soon – or at all, for that matter.  But some things just take an absorbent amount of time in Hollywood and hopefully this sequel is one of those things.