George Miller’s 2015 masterpiece Mad Max: Fury Road introduced Charlize Theron’s Furiosa to the franchise. Now Anya Taylor-Joy will take on the role in the director’s upcoming prequel. The movie— written long ago and shared with Theron as part of her preparation to play the part—will show how the Imperator went from a stolen child to Immortan Joe’s greatest soldier. But the warrior’s past isn’t a total mystery. We’ve learned a lot about the character’s history from her big screen debut, canonical Fury Road comics, and interviews from those who helped brought her to life. And since that knowledge will only make watching her origin film an even richer experience, here’s everything we know about Fury Road‘s heroine ahead of Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.

Where Did Furiosa Come From?

The Vuvalini greet Furiosa in the desert in Mad Max: Fury Road
Warner Bros. Pictures

Furiosa, daughter of Mary Jo Bassa, was born in the Green Place. The matrirchal Vuvalini (also known as the Many Mothers) ruled that lush land of vegetation, rich soil, and crops. Some men and boys lived in the swamps on the outer edges of the Green Place, but the abundant interior was a realm for women only.

The Vuvalini raised their tribe’s daughters together. Furiosa of clan Swaddle Dog named her “initiating Mother” as K.T. Concannon. The warrior women of the Vuvalini taught Furiosa how to survive a dying world, but they also taught her how to read. Her early education made Furiosa both a wise and cunning woman as well as a fearsome fighter.

When Was Furiosa Taken From the Green Place?

Warner Bros. Pictures

Furiosa was stolen from the Green Place as a child. Her mother died three days after their abduction. That occurred 7,000 days (plus all the ones Furiosa forgot about) prior to the events of Mad Max: Fury Road. That places her kidnapping roughly 19 to 20 years before she fled the Citadel with Immortan Joe’s five wives.

What Did Furiosa Do Before Becoming Imperator?

Warner Bros. Pictures

At some point, likely long before Mad Max: Fury Road, Immortan Joe branded Furiosa on the back of her neck with his flaming skull insignia. The War Boys seared that same symbol into Max Rockatansky after taking him prisoner.

Thanks to official comic books based on George Miller’s own internal backstories for characters, along with cast and crew interviews about the movie, we know Furiosa was once Joe’s property. She was one of his previous wives. When Joe learned Furiosa could not have children he gave her to the Imperator of a War Rig, whom Furiosa learned from. The Citadel’s ruler only wanted slave wives who could “breed.”

Warner Bros. Pictures

Furiosa’s path to becoming the only woman soldier in Immortan Joe’s army began when her Imperator died and she assumed command of his War Rig. She eventually established herself as Joe’s greatest warrior, though she did lose an arm in his service. She ultimately rose to the highest rank of Imperator herself, earning the intimidating nickname “Bag of Nails” along the way.

Why Did Furiosa Help the Five Wives Escape?

Warner Bros. Pictures

Immortan Joe did not think any of his three sons could serve as his heir. (Only two of them appeared in Mad Max: Fury Road, indicating the third had died by then.) Joe thought each boy’s health issues they’d been born with made them incapable of ruling. The Citadel’s ruler blamed the unhealthy world of the Wasteland and its nuclear fallout for his sons’ various problems and became obsessed with siring a perfect child. To do that he locked five of the healthiest, most beautiful young women he could find in a bio-dome inside the Citadel. There he gave them fresh air, fresh water, healthy food, and a wise teacher. He also raped them and performed horrific medical procedures on his enslaved “wives” in his quest to impregnate them.

Immortan Joe set his own downfall in motion when he assigned Furiosa to keep the five women safe from his child-like rage monster of a son Rictus Erectus. At first the wives clashed with quiet, serious Furiosa. The Imperator also hit one of Joe’s pregnant wives when she tried to end her pregnancy. But after many weeks together things between the women started to change. The wives, who knew Furiosa had been one of them long ago, came to like their protector. And as she saw the horrible pain Joe inflicted on them, Furiosa became more protective of the “Breeders.”

Desperate to escape, for both themselves and so their children would never be warlords, the wives convinced Furiosa to help them escape. The Imperator eventually agreed and said she would bring them to the Green Place if she could find it. But Furiosa stressed there was no guarantee they’d ever reach her childhood home alive.

Did Furiosa Try To Go Home Before Mad Max: Fury Road?

Furiosa said she tried to return to the Green Place “many times” during her two decades long absence, but she never made it back. She eventually wasn’t even sure where to find the Green Place.

The Vuvalini never knew what happened to Furiosa or her mother, but once she found them they knew her as one of their own. The Many Mothers then welcomed her, the wives, and even Max and Nux into their now small desert tribe. They’d abandoned the Green Place after the land turned “sour” and couldn’t sustain crops years earlier. That once lush area was a poisoned swamp overrun by a group known as The Crows.

What Did Furiosa Want in Mad Max: Fury Road?

Warner Bros. Pictures

Furiosa named her reason for betraying Immortan Joe in Mad Max: Fury Road. She didn’t cite revenge or her long desire to return home. Neither did she say it was to save the five wives and their unborn children. And it certainly wasn’t to usurp Joe and claim the Citadel as her own as she ultimately. Furiosa said she what she wanted was “redemption.”

And while we can guess what she meant by that, in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga we’ll learn exactly what the woman who was stolen as a child only to become Imperator felt she needed redemption from.

The movie will cover many years in Furiosa’s life, including who stole her as a child and how she ended up serving as Immortan Joe’s most celebrated warrior. Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga comes to theaters on May 24.

Mikey Walsh is a staff writer at Nerdist who thinks Mad Max: Fury Road might be the greatest movie ever made. You can follow him on Twitter and  Bluesky at @burgermike. And also anywhere someone is ranking the Targaryen kings.