The story of how George Miller brought his lunatic’s vision for Mad Max: Fury Road to life has already begun to crystallize into the stuff of movie legend. For the fourth installment of his post-apocalyptic action franchise, Miller moved the production out of his native Australia to the forbidding deserts of Namibia. He set up shop in the middle of a drought-choked hellscape and went to work transforming the barren terrain into his personal demolition zone, gleefully exploding oil tankers and flipping custom-rigged death machines like tiddlywinks.
A key part of this mythos lies in the agonizingly gradual pace with which the Fury Road production came together; it’s been thirty years since the last check-in with survivor-man Max Rockatansky in 1985’s Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Miller spent much of the ’90s and ’00s spinning his wheels on fluffy kiddie entertainment, from pigs that can talk (Babe: Pig in the City) to penguins that can talk and also dance (Happy Feet and its sequel). All the while, he had been planning his next move.
The September 11th attacks effectively derailed Fury Road by altering the Australian-U.S. dollar exchange rate and inflating Miller’s budget, but he had his plans ready to go. In a tweet yesterday afternoon, film editor Will McCrabb posted a photo of an electro-board — basically a white board that could be scanned– printout marked March 15, 1999 that appears to contain Miller’s earliest storyboard for Fury Road.
George Miller’s first draft of MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was this electro-board printout, dated 15/3/99. pic.twitter.com/1ekX7rGZiR
— WILL McCRABB (@mccrabb_will) August 13, 2015
It’s surprising just how much of his vision Miller was able to fully realize. Years and years in advance, he had mapped out the dust storm, the chastity belts, a rough sketch of Immortan Joe — even the sketch of the spiky, weaponized automobiles are pretty much identical in the finished product. Though Fury Road fans will now undoubtedly tear themselves up dreaming of the lost “Gynotopian Warriors”.