There are, as far as I can tell, no clear references to either Mad Max 1 or 2 in Thunderdome.

Does the story take place between the first two movies or after Mad Max 2?

  • Its definitely after, Max retains some of the lingering injuries from the first two films in Thunderdome.
    – Moo
    May 17 '15 at 16:37
  • @Moo: If you can point out an injury from mad max 2 that can be seen on thunderdome, it would be a nice answer, perhaps a screenshot from the movie. May 17 '15 at 16:50

According to this interview with the film's writer; George Miller, Mad Max 3 was set approximately 15 years after the events of Mad Max 2:

"In my mind, it's now about 15 years later. In that time, I imagine, he's had a number of adventures and has basically survived them all. As resources have diminished, he's probably built up his capital, which is his wagon train. He collects things, finds things, is resourceful enough to improvise. By the start of this movie, there's no fuel, so he just scavenges about finding things necessary for survival. Essentially, he's a prince of his particular world and someone who has survived very well in it. He can defend himself if anyone, by and large, tries to take things away from him.".

This article from American Cinematographer, concurs that the third film was set considerably after the events of the second film. Cinematographer Dean Semler speaks to the change in (global) tone:

The new film picks up on the warrior of the wastelands some 15 years after the events which climax The Road Warrior. The much sought after gasoline which precipitated the action of the previous saga is no more and what remnants of civilization are left in Australia have either banded together in small groups or wander the post-holocaust land alone. Max (Mel Gibson) is one of these loners - a quietly powerful individual making the best of what can be found in the immense deserts which he travels with his camel train.

"Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome proved far more challenging than The Road Warrior," says Dean Semler. "We were dealing with more varied environments than before and it was essential that each of the worlds created for the film have a distinctly different look.".

  • AND I can't help but to believe Blaster (BTD) is a reoccurring character from the first film, although he was "Farmboy 1" in Mad Max. May 18 '15 at 8:06
  • 15 years after seems quite a stretch considering the age of some of the children. May 18 '15 at 8:48

Well George Miller stated continuity wasn't really an object with him. All the stories start similarly and end with our nice little lone wanderer walking off into the sunset. There is a story that is chronological (at least until we see Fury Road, then it becomes more subjective), it's just vague as to when, where, and how.

With good reason at that - it's more a mythos rather than an actual, intentional, continuing storyline. The three movies following Mad Max don't have a specific intent at a specific destination. The first two sequels are narrated at least in part by people who knew Max, so it's safe to assume we're seeing the story as those people who met him know it, not necessarily as it actually was (explains recasting of the 'gyro man' as a totally different character, both knowing how to fly planes - the character is the same, just put in a different place and time). The reason a true story starts as a true story and then becomes a legend - the fact that it's spread by word of mouth from different people means it will change and take on different aspects while still bearing the same concept and character.

It's a brilliant concept really - a great way to play with movie ideas without any shackles to bind you, because you can bend the rules that way. The story isn't about a specific time or wasteland, it's about a specific person - a hero (or more appropriately a semi-anti-hero) and the point of it all is that there's a legend surrounding this person because he was/is such an astounding person and the story is always different and inconsistent with what should be because it always comes from different perspectives at different times.

That's why the hero appears, saves the day, and fades away into a dusty wasteland background - why would such an important, legendary person just disappear in one place at one time and pop up in a new place in another? Because he's an idea and a legend, not just a person. Time gap plus the fact that the story is a legend told by a different mouth, seen by a different set of eyes each time explains the how and why. That's the magic of the great legend, Max Rockastansky. He isn't bound by any formula involving an explanation of time and event placement because he isn't just a man, he's an idea, a legend. The hero in a desolate world where memory and perspective twist the story and make things changing and inconsistent - magical really. Max Rockastansky is a magical legend. A kickass magical legend, but a magical legend nonetheless.

  • Hello, and welcome to the site. This might be a great answer, but it is difficult to tell without line breaks and paragraphs. Can you format it to make it more readable?
    – Wad Cheber
    Jul 18 '15 at 8:14
  • 3
    @WadCheber - snarkyshakespeare.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/…
    – Valorum
    Jul 18 '15 at 8:37
  • @Jeri: I agree with Wad, I think your answer is pretty good but it would benefit a lot from just a little bit of formatting. Jul 20 '15 at 15:58

The car provides continuity.

He has 'the last of the V8s' in the first two I believe, it is destroyed at the end of 2. He would not switch to a camel train and then back to the car again.

  • I'm not sure we can take that statement ("the last of") literally. They may simply mean the last being driven
    – Valorum
    May 18 '15 at 11:27
  • Still, it's a good point. Switching to the camels then back to the car wouldn't make any sense. May 18 '15 at 16:47

Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome (just finished watching) is definitely after Mad Max 2 aka The Road Warrior. We are lead to believe oil or gas is now either nonexistent or off limits for some but not all (The pilot has some sort of fuel for the plane and the methane for Barter Town).

To answer an earlier post: there is one clear reference to the earlier films with Max saying he was a cop and a driver. This describes his roles in the first 2 films and before that. Also you will see Max's knee injury from the shot to it in the first film throughout the third as well. Plus the cop leather uniform.


This one is a bit more of a longshot. But I also believe, at the moment when Max has to hand in his weapons in "Beyond the Thunderdome", a revolver with a scope attached to it is among those firearms, very similar to the one equiped by the main antagonist in the second movie. It's very believable he has salvaged that one after the events of the second movie.

  • I'd love a screenshot of that. Nov 16 '16 at 17:16
  • I take back what I've said earlier. After watching the weapons check scene again (youtube.com/watch?v=yDvMPaspKds at 00:30) I saw that it was just a regular revolver, no scope or anything else. It's been a while that I've seen this movie and I must have imagined the scope.
    – Superdemus
    Dec 14 '16 at 14:26

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.