There's a 'fan theory' going around about Mad Max: Fury Road, and if you're anything like me even the very sound of the words 'fan theory' make you want to tear out your own intestines and hang yourself from the local pre-school, just to give the growing children the kind of traumatic shock that will force them to spend their lives in therapy as opposed to concocting 'fan theories.'
Anyway, this latest 'fan theory' is an iteration of the classic James Bond 'fan theory,' which is "it's a different guy this time." For people who subscribe to the Bond version they believe that James Bond is a code name given to any agent with the 007 number. They believe this despite immense amounts of evidence to the contrary, including Roger Moore's Bond mourning the dead wife of George Lazenby's Bond and Skyfall establishing that James Bond's parents had the last name Bond.
How does it work for Mad Max: Fury Road? Well, they think he's the Feral Kid from The Road Warrior all grown up. It's all over Reddit, and Nerdist put together an article about it using reasoning like:
Hardy’s lines from Fury Road could likely fit on one page double spaced, but his grunts could be pages 2 through 10. Coincidentally, those are the only sounds we ever hear The Feral Kid make. We know he learned to speak over time since, as mentioned, he narrates Road Warrior as an old man. So the argument could be made that Hardy’s grunts are left over from his days as a wild-haired mongrel.
They're also both men!
Before I completely debunk this, I have to ask why this theory even exists. Part of it is because the Mad Max films have profoundly loose continuity, and this bothers people. The world of Mad Max is very,very different from the world of The Road Warrior, and fans have been scrambling for decades to fill in the gaps between the films. It gets even worse with Fury Road, which seems to take place decades after the apocalypse, even though Mad Max is set in a dystopian world hurtling towards the apocalypse. How could Max be so young in Fury Road?
Well, because continuity isn't the issue, much as with the Bond films. George Miller fills Fury Road with callbacks but not real easter eggs - the music box mechanism in Fury Road plays a different song than the one in The Road Warrior. They're echoing elements, not actual things that reoccur over the course of the narrative. The narrative is loose, mythical in nature.
This drives fanboys wild. They need to be able to connect every dot, to know how everything works, to open the unicorn up and look at every one of its entrails and kill the magic. They don't approach movies as art but as puzzles, and not just puzzles to be solved but puzzles to be bested. It's an attempt to prove superiority over the movie, to mount it and conquer it, to dominate it in a way they cannot dominate much else in real life. There's a refusal to submit to the world of the film, and a desire to outsmart it at every turn. They hate ambiguity - it needs to mathematically check out, because emotions are beneath them.
Okay, now that I have vented this, how do I know Max isn't The Feral Kid in Fury Road? Even if we ignore the ending of The Road Warrior, where The Feral Kid tells us what happens to him and his people, take a look at this still:
That's from the beginning of The Road Warrior. That's pretty iconic Max for me.
Now look at this still from Mad Max: Fury Road:
Note that Max has the same leg brace. At the end of Mad Max he is shot in the leg and constructs that leg brace to help himself walk; he wears it in every film after. Including this one. It's part of the iconic look of Mad Max, as much as the V8 Interceptor and the leather jacket. It's Bond's tux and Walther PPK.
If you're going to keep being the kind of jackass who needs to outsmart the film, for whatever reason, you'll say that the Feral Kid just replicated Max's look, down to the leg brace. I'd say you're an idiot. That's my fan theory.