It’s an old storytelling adage: You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become Aaron Eckhart. (We’re paraphrasing.) Such are the thoughts apparently kicking around in the head of Mad Max creator George Miller, who thoughtfully fielded questions about the ultimate fate of Fury Road’s breakout badass Imperator Furiosa this week, and came to some not especially cheerful conclusions. (Not wholly surprising, given that Miller’s two most famous film franchises are built around two utterly terrifying ideas: Planetary apocalypse, and a pig being lost in a city.)
“I’ve often thought about it,” Miller responded when asked about Furiosa’s future in a recent interview with Josh Horowitz. “There are two ways to go, One is utopian, which is not an interesting story, really. I’ve somehow imagined that the first thing she would do in line with that, is go up and release the water.” (Coming to theaters in 2025: Okay Max: It’s Good Now!) But the other possibility is a whole lot darker—and more traditional:
Campbell said that the usual story is that today’s hero becomes tomorrow’s tyrant. The hero is the agent of change. They basically relinquish self-interest in order for some common good. He basically says … you love what you’ve built, or saved, too much. You become holdfast. You become the orthodoxy. You develop the dogma and basically then you have to protect it. That tends to be the rhythm of these things.
Of course, Miller acknowledges that Charlize Theron’s Furiosa has probably never read Joseph Campbell, and may very well be a whole hell of a lot smarter than him in any case. “I think she’s too smart to fall into that trap. She’s already seen it with the Immortan Joe,” the director noted. Ultimately, Miller says he’s “torn” between the two outcomes; maybe that explains why his interest in re-visiting the character is solely focused on that Furiosa prequel he’s been floating for years now, free as it would be from all this potentially depressing speculation about the character’s ultimate fate.