Mad Max sequel: The case for casting Ragnar Lothbrok

HOLLYWOOD, CA - MAY 07: Actors Mel Gibson (L) and Tom Hardy attend the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' "Mad Max: Fury Road" at TCL Chinese Theatre on May 7, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MAY 07: Actors Mel Gibson (L) and Tom Hardy attend the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' "Mad Max: Fury Road" at TCL Chinese Theatre on May 7, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

After years without a trace, we’re seeing the return of Mad Max. However, is it time for a Viking to fill the Road Warrior’s boots?

It’s tough to deny the cultural impact of Mad Max. From 1979 to 1985, writer-director George Miller made an unforgettable mark on the dystopian genre with his iconic trilogy of action flicks. His post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland full of leather-clad maniacs and vehicular carnage has inspired countless other works the world over.

On top of that, he captured a whole new generation of fans with the 2015 revival, Mad Max: Fury Road. With a bigger budget and years of experience under his belt, Miller was able to craft a slick work of high-octane art that had people talking months after they left the theater. Of course, audiences quickly wondered what was next. The filmmaker answered with vague promises of a new trilogy and possible spin-offs, but this gave way to years of silence and uncertainty.

More from Movies

Now, we finally know a bit more about Miller’s plans. He intends to make two more movies to follow up on Fury Road. One of them is a straight-up sequel with Max as the hero while the other is a spin-off revolving around Furiosa, the scene-stealing savior played by Charlize Theron. Moreover, we recently learned that the latter film would feature Anya Taylor-Joy of The Witch and Split fame in an unspecified role.

However, that leaves a ton of mystery surrounding Max himself. Namely, who will be involved? Initially, the role was practically synonymous with Mel Gibson, who played Max in the original trilogy as he went from cocky cop to merciless Road Warrior. The mantle was then passed to Tom Hardy for Fury Road, who portrayed the character as far more feral and neurotic after years of wandering the wasteland.

Granted, Hardy has voiced his continued interest in the character, saying that he’s just waiting for the green light to venture back into the desert. Unfortunately, we know all too well how cumbersome production delays can be to the creative process. Actors drop out of projects all the time, be it due to scheduling conflicts or the simple fact that they’re not suited for the part anymore. If Hardy departs, who should step into Max’s boots?

HOLLYWOOD, CA – JUNE 06: Actor Travis Fimmel attends the premiere of Universal Pictures’ “Warcraft at TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX on June 6, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA – JUNE 06: Actor Travis Fimmel attends the premiere of Universal Pictures’ “Warcraft at TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX on June 6, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images) /

Well, I think the case could be made for Travis Fimmel. No stranger to action after starring in films like Danger Close and Warcraft, this unassuming actor may not be whom audiences think of to head a blockbuster franchise. However, anyone who watches Vikings likely knows why he’s such a good fit. Over the first four seasons of this historical drama, Fimmel kept audiences glued to the screen as the fabled Ragnar Lothbrok, a Scandinavian farmer who sailed west and eventually became the reluctant king of his people. This showed his believability as a leading man.

More to the point, however, it allowed him to play out a character arc very similar to Max’s own. Ragnar starts with a confident attitude and a curious twinkle in his eye. Unfortunately, years of battles, betrayals, and impossible expectations leave him an embittered old warrior, and Fimmel sells it all potently and naturally. He takes who could have been a brutish barbarian and makes him a deeply sympathetic figure through his magnetic presence, enigmatic charisma, crazed intensity, and passionate pathos.

On top of that, Fimmel’s acting style goes right in line with the new direction for Max seen in Fury Road. He’s able to say so much with his body language, facial nuances, and piercing blue eyes that he can carry an entire scene with nary a word. For reference, he once did an entire episode of Vikings with no dialogue apart from the Lord’s Prayer. Such methodology would be perfect for this more deranged and monosyllabic rendition of Max while harkening back to the soulful tragedy of Gibson’s portrayal.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 18: Actor Travis Fimmel attends AOL Build Speaker Series – Travis Fimmel, “Vikings” at AOL Studios In New York on February 18, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Eisman/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 18: Actor Travis Fimmel attends AOL Build Speaker Series – Travis Fimmel, “Vikings” at AOL Studios In New York on February 18, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Eisman/Getty Images) /

Finally, the icing on the cake is that Fimmel is an authentic Aussie, having grown up on a farm between Melbourne and Sydney. What more could you want? Obviously, an actor doesn’t need hail from a specific region to play someone from that region. Sometimes, though, it’s nice to have the homefield advantage, especially as a callback to the series’s roots. I doubt many people would criticize the Australian accent of an Australian.

With all of this going for him, it’s hard to discount Fimmel’s ability to play the Road Warrior. The only thing left to do is to give him the chance.

Next. Who will Anya Taylor-Joy play in the Mad Max spin-off?. dark

What do you think of this choice? Are you looking forward to the further exploits of Mad Max? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

All four films in the Mad Max series are available in physical formats and streaming platforms.