— Warner Bros.

The Mad Max saga may center its desert dystopia on the title character, but he’s definitely not the series’ only hero. In Mad Max: Fury Road, the Road Warrior shared the spotlight with Imperator Furiosa, portrayed brilliantly by Charlize Theron. Furiosa is one of many scene-stealers in the 2015 film, and she’s arguably the most primed for a spin-off. Her backstory pairs well with Fury Road’s quieter moments, so when director George Miller first announced plans to develop Furiosa in 2020, it felt like a natural extension of his fictional universe.

Now, almost 10 years after Fury Road, Furiosa is nearly here. Rather than exploring the character’s future, Miller is turning the clock back to Furiosa’s origins. The Queen’s Gambit’s Anya Taylor-Joy takes over for Theron, with Chris Hemsworth and Mank’s Tom Burke rounding out the cast. Per The New York Times, Miller wanted to “answer questions about what the character’s life was like in the idyllic ‘Green Place,’ why she was plucked from the group of woman warriors known as the Vuvalini, and how she became the hardened warrior we meet by the time Fury Road begins.” Watch the trailer for Furiosa below.

Character-centric prequels have been a Hollywood staple for years, but it feels particularly appropriate for Furiosa. Over the many years Miller was developing characters for Fury Road, the filmmaker wrote an in-depth backstory for Theron’s character. “It was purely a way of helping Charlize and explaining it to ourselves,” Miller told the Times. But that exploration eventually spawned an entirely separate script, one that likely formed the foundation of Furiosa.

Fury Road is a tough act to follow, but Furiosa is poised to hit the ground running. Taylor-Joy described the film as “an epic” to the Inside Total Film podcast. Where Fury Road had the structure of a lean, mean road race, Furiosa’s origin story “takes place over a long period of time, and you kind of get to know [Furiosa] better in that way.”

Taylor-Joy also seems like the ideal successor to Theron. The actress has never been afraid to dive into dark, daring roles, although she admits that Furiosa is the “dirtiest and the bloodiest” she’s ever been. Given her show-stopping portrayals of Feral Girls in The Witch, The Northman, and Last Night in Soho, the role Theron helped create in Fury Road is clearly in good hands.

Furiosa opens in theaters in 2024.

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