Dates are probably of little importance to the people who exist in the post-apocalyptic world depicted in the Mad Max tetralogy, but of interest to the viewer:

  • Is it stated in what year(s) the Mad Max stories are taking place?
  • How much time elapses during and between each film?
  • Is the in-universe chronological order determined by the release date of each film or have the stories been told (filmed) out of order?

5 Answers 5


They never actually cover it in-universe.

The first Mad Max begins with some text on the screen : A few years from now...

That's about as much info as we're given over the four movies.

The timeline of the original trilogy is covered nicely here, on the Mad Max wikia. But no dates are provided.

From the flashbacks Max has in Fury Road:

His daughter being run down by and killed, which takes place in the first movie. Although in the flashback it looks like a car that kills her but in the film it was a motorbike.

It seems like it takes place an ambiguous amount of time after the first movie.

  • 2
    Was that supposed to be his daughter? In the first film he had a son.
    – Boelabaal
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 21:15
  • I just remember a kid in the first one. Assumed it was his daughter since it was a little girl in the Fury Road flashbacks.
    – Daft
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 21:19
  • There were several characters saying something like "help us, Max" in his hallucinations/flashbacks at the beginning of Fury Road, so the girl could just be someone he failed to save who weighed particularly in his memories, not his own child (she definitely isn't the baby from the first Mad Max movie, who was a boy named Sprog).
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 22:17
  • 2
    Also, this post says one of the prequel comics is going to feature Max looking to recover his car from gastown, and the synopsis says "But the stakes are much higher than the fate of Max’s ride… an innocent girl, Glory, has also been kidnapped by the depraved Buzzards. By the time Max arrives, it may already be too late…" And they say the credits of the movie also list the girl's name as Glory, so this suggests it wasn't meant to be his daughter, just someone he met in the post-apocalyptic world.
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 23:03
  • 4
    Then there's also this interview with George Miller where, when asked about when Fury Road takes place, he says "If you put a gun to my head, I’d say after Thunderdome, but it’s very loose. I can’t even work out the chronology of the first, second and third, let alone the fourth thirty years later." He also says "The apocalypse of some form happens, and you wind up 45-50 years in the future. That's where we pick up." Feel free to incorporate into your answer.
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 23:05

After having played the game start to finish and watching Fury Road, the timeline is a little clearer.

The main villain in the game is named Scabrus Scrotus, and his bio information names him the son of Immortan Joe (white haired, tooth mask respirator wearing), antagonist of the movie.

There are three main encampments of their faction. The Citadel (pictured in fury road), Gastown (pictured in the game) and the Bullet Farm, not pictured in either.

Hope, and her daughter Glory are introduced late in the game and both end up dying. Both of their haunting voices egg Max on as the final boss battle ensues, after which he re-acquires the Black on Black.

During the credits of Fury Road, the little girl haunting Max is named as Glory, the deceased girl from the game.

Hence I feel that the movie Fury Road occours DIRECTLY after the game.


The original Mad Max, which released in 1979, opens with the caption “A few years from now”. That, and a piece of graffiti on a road sign in one scene dated December, 1984, puts the events of the first film squarely in the mid-'80s, most likely 1985.

  • 7
    This is a good find on the road sign graffiti as no one else seems to have spotted it. You should edit in an image of it to back this up as it gives a better rough estimate for the start of the series. Also whilst partial answers are perfectly fine, this only states when the series starts so expanding this to cover when the other films take place in relation to the first one would really turn this into a good answer!
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 9:19

To summarize information found by searching for Mad Max chronology. Without comic book tie ins or other outside-of-movie clues, here's the information available.

Mad Max: "a few years from now" and roadside graffiti dated 1984 places it mid-80's.

Road Warrior: A few years after the first film (I did not rewatch to confirm but internet sources say 3 years after).

Beyond Thunderdome: In the valley with the surviving children and the crashed airplane, there's writing left by an adult who went looking for help and never came back, which bears a date of 199-something - so the movie is happening some years later. In the script, the date is given as 2005 but that's not stated on screen.

Fury Road: Max gets tattooed after his capture, with a date: day 12405. So it's 34 years after the start of something - either the start of Immortam Joe's rule over the oasis, or the war that destroyed civilization. The movie came out in 2015 and features the remains of cars/technology from the time it was released. Figure the end of civilization happens a few years after the movie's release, and we get a date somewhere in the 2050's or later. This does not jibe with the other three films at all, obviously.


The timeline of the series was originally laid out in 1979 and the few years from now probably meant today's world in many ways. Without doubt we are perhaps in the Mad Max first movie world with organised crime declaring war on the nation states of the world and admittedly ISIS make the Toecutter look lovely by comparison! The Toecutter showed kindness to the man in the train station for example, the real version would not! We are not told in the first film what was happening but the notes to it said that a war between America and Iraq lead to the situation. Definitely this is the here and now!

By film two, we are lead to believe that a war happens between 2 superpowers. We are not told who they are but the two mighty warrior tribes are America and Russia for certain. The backstory says that this is caused by an initial outbreak of war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The film was made shortly after the Iranian revolution. Tying in with today, it could start as a Shia Sunni war out of the Iraq and Syria wars and then the drawing in of the superpowers. Perhaps, Saudi Arabia being taken over by ISIS and the coalition of America, Russia, Iran, EU, UK and China breaking down when ISIS are eliminated and oil is scarce causes the bigger wars.

If film 1 is set in 2016, we will say film 2 is in 2021. The notes to the films say the nuclear war happened around the 2nd film and film 3 is definitely after that. Whatever was happening in the background was conducted by countries that still existed. So Mad Max 2 was happening at a time when states functioned. The oil wars are documented in the first set of films but Fury Road introduced the water wars. Immortan Joe was part of them and the oil wars too. He is clearly as Western leader with a name like that and clearly had become a bad person too. He may have been a military dictator of Australia after the first film who took advantage. We will say film 3 is around 2036 with film 4 in 2038. This is how I would see it.

  • 2
    I doubt the makers of the films had either of the two Gulf Wars in mind in 1979. Nor could they predict what would happen in 2016, or 2021. Will your timeline still be valid if there has not been an apocalypse by 2021? A lot of this answer is speculative, but it seems the question was looking for either direct evidence from the films (i.e. a stated year) or statements from the producers.
    – Adamant
    Commented Aug 20, 2016 at 0:37
  • 1
    @adamant researching a point made on facebook, I have to say your comment aged well… Commented Sep 12, 2020 at 11:22
  • @AbstractChaos - I must have missed the nuclear war.
    – Adamant
    Commented Sep 12, 2020 at 11:54

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