Imperator Furiosa

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

Imperator Furiosa
Mad Max character
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
First appearanceMad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Created by
Portrayed byCharlize Theron (Fury Road)
Anya Taylor-Joy (Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga)
Alyla Browne (young, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga)
In-universe information
Full nameFuriosa
VehicleThe War Rig

Imperator Furiosa is a fictional character in the Mad Max franchise.[1] Introduced in Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) and portrayed by Charlize Theron, she serves as an officer in Immortan Joe's army but turns against him in order to free "The Five Wives", Joe's female sex slaves (or "breeders").[2] During her journey, she meets Max Rockatansky. Despite initial hostility, the two become allies and team up to drive The Five Wives to a safe environment called the "Green Place". The character will return in the prequel film Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (2024), where she will be portrayed by Anya Taylor-Joy.


Mad Max: Fury Road[edit]

Furiosa was born in the "Green Place", one of the few locations in the post-apocalyptic wasteland of the Mad Max franchise where plants still grow. She was raised by the Vuvalini of Many Mothers, an all-female survivor civilization. As a child, she was kidnapped along with her mother, who died in captivity. Separated from her clan, she eventually found herself in the employ of Immortan Joe, a brutal warlord who rules the "Citadel", one of the last major human settlements. Furiosa grows up to become a capable driver and soldier. She helps Joe transport valuable trade goods across the wasteland, which is dotted with bandits and thieves. Along the way, she earns the title "Imperator".

At the start of the movie, Joe dispatches Furiosa on a supply run, transporting water, milk, and agricultural products from the Citadel to trade for petrol and ammunition produced by Joe's military allies. To expedite the process, he grants Furiosa command over a small outfit of War Boys (Joe's private army) and entrusts her with the "War Rig", a heavily armed and armoured tractor-trailer.

After leaving the Citadel, Furiosa abruptly changes course and heads off the main road in search of the Green Place, precipitating a battle in which she shows her combat and tactical skills. She successfully defends the Rig from bandits and later from a party of War Boys sent out to stop her. She encounters Max Rockatansky in the desert and the two end up working together, drawing on their respective experiences surviving in hostile environments to overcome the challenge of fighting against Joe's forces.

Eventually, Furiosa reaches her birthplace, whereupon she meets the remaining Vuvalini and is welcomed as one of their own. She learns that in the twenty-odd years since she was kidnapped, the Green Place has decayed into a poisonous swamp. The Vuvalini decide to trek across the salt flats to find a new home, and Furiosa initially opts to join them. However, Max persuades her and the Vuvalini to return to the Citadel, the only confirmed source of fresh water in the wasteland. Max reasons that because Joe has committed the bulk of his army (and his allies' armies) to pursue Furiosa in the desert, the Citadel must be undefended; as such, if Furiosa can get past Joe's army, she will be able to conquer the Citadel. Capitalizing on this opportunity, Furiosa reassumes command of the War Rig and leads the rag-tag group of rebels back to the Citadel, in the process engaging in a running battle with several groups of vehicles driven by the War Boys. Ultimately, Furiosa is able to board Joe's vehicle and slay the dictator. Upon returning to the Citadel in Joe's vehicle, she displays Joe's corpse to the crowd, earning the crowd's admiration. She is last seen ascending into the cliffside Citadel on a lift used to move vehicles up and down the fortress.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga[edit]

One of the scripts completed for a Fury Road sequel was entitled Mad Max: Furiosa, and George Miller hoped to film it after the release of Fury Road.[3] However, in a 2015 interview, Miller said:[4]

I'm not sure, is the answer. She's not in the Mad Max [sequel] story, but in one of the stories, there's an interaction between [Max and Furiosa]. I can't really say more than that because it's still in progress.

In October 2020, it was confirmed that Anya Taylor-Joy would play a young Furiosa in the upcoming stand-alone prequel spin-off Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.[5]


Furiosa's attire

Furiosa has a mechanical left arm.[6] She drives the War Rig, a fast and powerful tractor-trailer that she, Max, and the Five Wives use in their attempt to escape Immortan Joe and find the Green Place. She is also armed with a handgun and an SKS rifle.[7] She stores many additional weapons, including a secret knife and pistol, in the War Rig.


Furiosa is a strong-willed and moral leader. She takes the initiative to save the Five Wives from Immortan Joe with little regard for her own well-being and without any desire for reward, save for personal redemption for offscreen misdeeds. She aims to take the Wives to the Green Place, but is devastated to learn that it is now an uninhabitable swamp.

Her relationship with Max inspires her to return to the Citadel and take it over after killing Immortan Joe, giving the Five Wives and all citizens a safe haven. In an interview, Charlize Theron revealed that Furiosa was originally supposed to be another one of Immortan Joe's wives, but was infertile: "[George Miller and I] talked about backstory, about how she ended up with no arm and that she was discarded. She couldn't breed, and that was all that she was good for. She was stolen from this place, this green place that she's trying to go back to. But she was kind of embedded in [the Citadel] for one thing, and when she couldn't deliver on that one thing, she was discarded – and she didn't die. And instead... she hid out with those war pups in the world of mechanics, and they almost forgot she was a woman because she grew up like them."[8]

Brent Walter Cline argues that an aspect of Furiosa's personality or characterization that is overlooked but just as important as her feminism is her disability: "That Furiosa should be the one to kill Immortan Joe is appropriate, given Miller's desire for a 'feminist action movie.' It's also appropriate, however, given what the film tells us about disability. The very manner of Immortan Joe's death is telling. Furiosa hooks her metal arm to his breathing mask, and then rids herself voluntarily of her prosthesis, tearing away not only Immortan Joe's mask but his face as well. For him, these things cannot be separated. Furiosa will reveal her impairment, but Immortan Joe can never, and its removal is both the metaphorical and literal end of his reign."[9]


Furiosa's character received critical acclaim. Furiosa has received praise for being a strong female action heroine and bringing feminist themes to the franchise. A. O. Scott and Manohla Dargis of The New York Times said that "Mad Max, which has garnered almost $150 million domestically so far, and near unanimous critical rapture, belongs less to its titular hero than to Imperator Furiosa, the steely avenger played by Charlize Theron. Her mission is to liberate the enslaved 'wives' of the arch-villain, and she receives crucial assistance from a band of gray-haired motorcycle matriarchs."[10]

Richard Roeper wrote for Chicago Sun Times that "Max often takes a passenger seat to Theron's Imperator Furiosa, this is one female-empowered action vehicle."[11] Marc Savlov of The Austin Chronicle wrote that "Furiosa, who more than lives up to her name, is Fury Road's heart and soul – well, after all those nightmarishly souped-up deathmobiles – and this future über-feminist/humanist gets all of the good lines."[12]

Ty Burr of The Boston Globe proclaimed, "About a half hour into Mad Max: Fury Road, you may realize with a start that Max is sharing hero duties with a fiery woman warrior named Furiosa, played with tensile strength by Charlize Theron, and that Furiosa may actually be the central figure in this breakneck and emotionally resonant film. Utterly capable while yearning for 'the green place' from which she was kidnapped as a child, outfitted with a spidery mechanical arm that is one of Miller's many nods to that classic movie dystopia Metropolis, Furiosa is the movie's soul and spine."[13]

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone said, "Hardy and Theron make a dynamite team, but this is Theron's show. She's a knockout in a sensational performance that blends grit and gravity and becomes the film's bruised heart and soul."[14] Lawrence Toppman of The Charlotte Observer agreed, saying that "Theron stands out" in her role.[15]

Claudia Puig of USA Today declared that Theron as Furiosa was "[t]he best female action hero since Sigourney Weaver in Alien", and added that the actress "is riveting as the clever and determined, shaved-headed Furiosa. She lends the role a fascinating blend of toughness, tenderness and gravitas as we learn her tragic back story in the film's final third."[16]


  1. ^ Mendelson, Scott (6 June 2015). "Box Office: 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Tops $300 Million Worldwide". Forbes. New York City. Archived from the original on 13 June 2022. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  2. ^ Romano, Nick (19 May 2015). "Mad Max: Fury Road's Final Chase Sequence Was Designed Around One Crucial Element". Cinema Blend. Archived from the original on 5 July 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  3. ^ Turner, Brook (25 November 2011). "George Miller's new script". The Australian Financial Review. Sydney, Australia: Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  4. ^ Reynolds, Simon (12 October 2015). "Mad Max: Fury Road Sequel Won't Star Charlize Theron's Imperator Furiosa". Digital Spy. London, England: Hearst Magazines UK. Archived from the original on 15 October 2015. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  5. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (13 October 2020). "'Mad Max' Spinoff 'Furiosa' In The Works At Warners With George Miller Directing & Anya Taylor-Joy In Title Role; Chris Hemsworth & Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Along For Ride". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 15 October 2020. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  6. ^ Trameer, Eleanor (23 June 2015). "Mad Max: Fury Road, A Feminist Action Movie?". Moviepilot. Archived from the original on 4 July 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  7. ^ Anthony Lane (25 May 2015). "High Gear "Mad Max: Fury Road"". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on 5 July 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  8. ^ Eleanor Tremeer (1 July 2015). "Imperator Furiosa to return in Mad Max 2? Epic Backstory Revealed!". Archived from the original on 4 July 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  9. ^ Cline, Brent Walter (18 June 2015). "Power and Disability in 'Mad Max Fury Road'". Popmatters. Archived from the original on 5 July 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  10. ^ A.O. Scott, Manohlo Dargis (3 July 2015). "Heroines Triumph at Box Office, but Has Anything Changed in Hollywood?". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 1 May 2021. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  11. ^ Richard Roeper (14 May 2015). "'MAD MAX: FURY ROAD': CRAZY CHASES, TOUGH WOMEN IN ONE OF THE BEST ACTION MOVIES EVER". Archived from the original on 19 May 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  12. ^ Marc Savlov (15 May 2015). "Mad Max: Fury Road". Archived from the original on 3 July 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  13. ^ Burr, Ty (13 May 2015). "'Mad Max' is back — and better than ever". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 18 June 2018. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  14. ^ Travers, Peter (13 May 2015). "Mad Max: Fury Road". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 20 August 2017. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  15. ^ Topmann, Lawrence (14 May 2015). "'Mad Max: Fury Road' whips up a desert storm". The Charlotte Observer. Archived from the original on 5 July 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  16. ^ Puig, Claudia (14 May 2015). "'Mad Max' an opera of velocity and excess". USA Today. Archived from the original on 29 September 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2015.

External links[edit]