Early concepts?

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Early concepts?

Postby Dinki Di » Tue Aug 23, 2016 1:07 pm

Was looking over some of the concepts in the Abbie Bernstein artbook, and while some of it is explained, there's quite a lot in it visually but without much explanation as to what they were thinking, especially of very early concepts of the characters.

The early War Boys look like some expansion from Thunderdome crossed with clothing design from TRW, with some phallic imagery in there... I wonder if this was meant to be a lead-on from TRW aesthetic but was ditched when they decided Immortan Joe was going to have a death cult, and the War Boys were going to want to die rather than gear up to protect themselves. But they don't mention their thoughts on many early concepts in the book on things like war boys facial tattoo meanings and so on.

The People Eater's early design is kind of an enigma too. He looks entirely tumorous, seems to have a colostomy bag and red stilettos on? They toned him down quite a bit, but not the wretched, who still look pretty awful.

The early concepts for "Gynotopia" were toned down too... no sign of an "erotic mud dance"! Not sure what "sky fishing" was meant to be but it's mentioned as some major thing in the main plot they apparently cut out near the crow/"stilt" walker area... were they feeding on crows, or something else?

Is there a reason the Buzzards are heavily bandaged up and suggested as diseased in the early concepts? Or maybe this was just done for a different look from the other tribes?

The filmmakers say that just about everything had a meaning and a logical purpose in the world, which makes me wonder what some of this stuff was about. Does anyone know if there's any information on some of these earlier/unused plot points and designs out there?

It also leaves some questions like... if Max was looking out at the Plains of Silence wondering how to cross them, they then ditched that idea by having Max later say there was no point crossing them, yet he's still looking out at them intently at the start of the film for some reason... was he contemplating a suicide mission across them at the start of the movie?

I heard in passing that some aspects of Mad Max movies were inspired by Burroughs' The Wild Boys, not sure if true, but is an --unusual read, shall we say... had it on my shelf for some time after a game developer friend of mine suggested Burroughs' works influenced some of his early work in the 80s and 90s which I liked, and which centered on post-apocalyptic ideas, so I checked it out. There's similarities for sure, autogiros, claw weapons, human skin clothing, places named like the "Blue Desert of Silence", snakes as weapons, gangs of kids hanging out in the wilderness, "wild boy" cult/ War Boy cult, phallic imagery, metal pincer claws, cannibalism.
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Re: Early concepts?

Postby AquaCola » Tue Aug 23, 2016 3:16 pm

Dinki Di wrote:The People Eater's early design is kind of an enigma too. He looks entirely tumorous, seems to have a colostomy bag and red stilettos on? They toned him down quite a bit, but not the wretched, who still look pretty awful.


Its hard to see but he still has the colostomy bag in the film, its made out of a gas mask and they just made his foot into a tumorous mess. He also nipple rings and boob cuffs at the end of his sleeves so they kept a lot of his weird sexual fetish things in the film.

Dinki Di wrote:The early concepts for "Gynotopia" were toned down too... no sign of an "erotic mud dance"! Not sure what "sky fishing" was meant to be but it's mentioned as some major thing in the main plot they apparently cut out near the crow/"stilt" walker area... were they feeding on crows, or something else?


The sky fishers were the guys on stilts we see. They were fishing for crows and thats how they survived. there is meant to be a scene where Max & co interact with them but it was cut.

Dinki Di wrote:Is there a reason the Buzzards are heavily bandaged up and suggested as diseased in the early concepts? Or maybe this was just done for a different look from the other tribes?


I believe George said they ate a little too much "red meat", which the comics made clear was cannibalism. In the "Who killed the world" videos it says they were bandaged up to protect themselves from the baking hot desert sun. They also needed a different luck than the warboys and since they were so sick they all needed breathing masks.

Dinki Di wrote:The filmmakers say that just about everything had a meaning and a logical purpose in the world, which makes me wonder what some of this stuff was about. Does anyone know if there's any information on some of these earlier/unused plot points and designs out there?


Check out the wiki, interviews, interview videos with George and the cast, the video submissions submitted to the oscars, this forum has a lot of information, old concept art not in the art book etc etc You might find your answers there.

Dinki Di wrote:It also leaves some questions like... if Max was looking out at the Plains of Silence wondering how to cross them, they then ditched that idea by having Max later say there was no point crossing them, yet he's still looking out at them intently at the start of the film for some reason... was he contemplating a suicide mission across them at the start of the movie?


Its hard to know what was exactly happening at the start of the film but the official map says Max was north of the Citadel and run down in a place called the powder lakes. The game was all to do with crossing the Plains of Silence where it was just used as a throwaway line in the film as the huge desert they were trying to cross.
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Re: Early concepts?

Postby Taipan » Tue Aug 23, 2016 11:39 pm

Dinki Di wrote:The People Eater's early design is kind of an enigma too. He looks entirely tumorous, seems to have a colostomy bag and red stilettos on? They toned him down quite a bit

Yeah, basically The People Eater was supposed to be a sexual deviant cannibal. The way i heard it explained is that Gastown was almost entirely male-populated and over time they developed some weird fetishes, which are reflected in some S/M designs of the flame boys and definitely the Peopl Eater. I think the People Eater actually has his colostomy bag in the movie, I'm sure I've seen it in the back seat of his rig. But yeah, again the designed was toned down to limit the visual noise, just like the War Boys. The Wretched were supposed to look 'junky' and somewhat detailed since they don't take part in any action scenes, so it was okay.

The early concepts for "Gynotopia" were toned down too... no sign of an "erotic mud dance"! Not sure what "sky fishing" was meant to be but it's mentioned as some major thing in the main plot they apparently cut out near the crow/"stilt" walker area... were they feeding on crows, or something else?


The Crow Fishers were in fact one of the major things that were filmed and cut out of the movie. There are two versions of their backstory depending on who you ask:
According to Colin Gibson the Crow Fishers were boys (and men) who were banished to roam the swamps by the Vuvalini. Since the Vuvalini rejected all men from their society they wouldn't allow them to join their tribe and let them roam the swamps, only occasionally to be visited by the Vuvalini to procreate.
According to Mark Sexton: they were the Vuvalini who were left behind, so that means there were women as well, they simply decided to stay in the Green Place long after it was uninhabitable, so they adapted to the environment by fishing for crows with kites, nets, walking on stilts and wearing heavy disguise.


Is there a reason the Buzzards are heavily bandaged up and suggested as diseased in the early concepts? Or maybe this was just done for a different look from the other tribes?

They wear bandages because their skin is diseased. Also cannibals. Live underground most of the time. Their vehicles and the whole attitude is just to collect junk to either sell it to the Citadel or weld it onto their cars. They have no desire to reuild but rather to live off of the scraps of the old world.


It also leaves some questions like... if Max was looking out at the Plains of Silence wondering how to cross them, they then ditched that idea by having Max later say there was no point crossing them, yet he's still looking out at them intently at the start of the film for some reason... was he contemplating a suicide mission across them at the start of the movie?


This is a very interesting question, but I doubt Max was contemplating suicide. For what it's worth at the beginning of the movie we see that he collected all the necessary equipment, his gear to only hold onto the past. But was he attempting to get past the citadel and across the plains of silence? I'll have to ask one of the writers about this.
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Re: Early concepts?

Postby Dinki Di » Wed Aug 24, 2016 5:07 am

Thanks for the info!

I did check out as many interviews as I could online or on the DVD, I've only scanned over some of the comics online or bits I could find, discovered a few things about the cannibalism among Buzzards, but had no idea there was a strictly segregated society idea behind the Vuvalini or who those crow guys were... couldn't find much about it.

It's interesting the Vuvalini are suggested as like the most 'sensible' or 'noble' tribe, even by the writers ("most capable of bringing sanity to the world"), but if that's their way then they basically dumped their male children at the swamp or turned them away when they got a bit too old and left them to fend for themselves? Noble. :P I guess it's likely a bit of both explanations, with the refugee Vuvalini they meet being distrustful of men. But even if they were distrustful they seem to trust Nux and Max (including his plan) pretty quickly? I guess these are concepts that were stronger in the beginning and rounded off later to make these things possible.

Makes me wonder as well where the crows are getting their food if there's enough of them to feed on. Human carrion, maybe, since we almost never see an animal in the environment? There would need to be a lot of that to support enough crows to feed humans, though. . .

I was intrigued by the crow/stilt guys.. you only see them for a moment and you just wanna know more about them.

Gastown sounds pleasant :P

Taipan wrote:This is a very interesting question, but I doubt Max was contemplating suicide. For what it's worth at the beginning of the movie we see that he collected all the necessary equipment, his gear to only hold onto the past. But was he attempting to get past the citadel and across the plains of silence? I'll have to ask one of the writers about this.


On page 27 of the book there's this paragraph which is being attributed to Nico Lathouris:

"It's literally the very first panel of the storyboards, where he's just in the Wasteland, looking out. He wants to get across the Plains of Silence. People have crossed them, but nobody's ever come back. I think [the Plains] represent [an] almost suicidal, self-destructive wish to end it all. He wants peace. He wants to quiet the voices in his head."

I'm just curious about any changes they may have made between screenwriting/storyboards and final cut about Max's mental state here in the movie, because as we know he's much farther 'down the road' than in TRW or BT and here they're suggesting he's contemplating whether or not to go out there and die, even though he never says it. But then they have that "engage to heal" idea where he decides the only way to deal with the issue is to help some people, or just not go 'out' alone. If what the screenwriter is saying stands, then being captured and turned into a slave saved Max's life, or reignited some will to survive that was all but gone at the start of the movie. I never assumed this when I first watched it, but it makes sense from his character progression in the series. At some point he might well have thought about suck-starting that shotgun or driving into nothingness because he can't engage with people any more and can't fix himself unless literally forced to find the instinct again. Maybe it's just me but that adds another facet to Max here and his potential reasons for the decision to stop the Vuvalini from crossing the plain and face even more danger. Not necessarily because of the kid/guilt that haunts him continuously, and against the only thing he apparently cares about - survival - but because death is knocking at his door and he needs a reason not to answer it. Any reason.
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Re: Early concepts?

Postby Taipan » Wed Aug 24, 2016 7:43 am

That information about the Crow Fishers was told to me by Colin Gibson directly and I haven't seen it mentioned by him anywhere else. He's told me a few more interesting bits but I'll keep them to myself :D

My first thought upon finding out that the Vuvalini were so cruel was exactly like yours - that they're not so innocent after all, in fact it looked to me like they're a mirror image of Immortan's cult in that they objectify men instead of women.
It was told to me that the Crow Fishers are literally the remnants of 'a failed matriarchal state'. Of course once I mentioned that online - that the Vuvalini aren't so innocent after all - it was met with a lot of criticism that it would be impossible for women to be cruel like that and drawing the analogy to Immortan's ideology is wrong. But the fact is that this version of the story clearly underlines the failings of each extreme ideology and the only way to survive is to work together, not further separate each other. Oh the irony, the hatred I got from trying to show how equality works in that movie...

Does it make that theory less legitimate because it comes from Colin? Not at all. There's a consensus among all of the writers about most background stories in Fury Road but there's also a little leeway for their own interpretation. Knowing what I know and how big Colin's contribution was to the backstories of that world (believe me, he did contribute a lot more than you think) I wouldn't undercut his version at all, even if Mark Sexton's vision slightly differs.

About Max attempting to cross the Plains of Silence:

I don't have that artbook - I should get it one day before the prices skyrocket. But if indeed it does say that Max contemplates a suicide mission then it makes things really interesting and quite obvious judging by the state Max is in the original storyboards as opposed to the movie.
In the movie Max's insanity was downplayed a lot compared to the storyboards, if you saw the first panel of the storyboard with the original storyboard description you'll know in how bad shape Max was in. If not, let me just quote it:
The first panel:

"The ROAD WARRIOR sits on a hill in the vast, pitiless wasteland.
A man UTTERLY ALONE, rocking to and fro... murmuring to himself.
This is not meditation. the voice and the movements are too jagged.

In response to some far off sound, he turns, and for the first time we see his face...
his eyes glisten with crazy-man tears."

So you see, originally Max was a complete mess, I wouldn't rule out the possibility of him just wanting to end it all in a suicide attempt. BUT, in the movie the whole thing has been really downplayed to the point you have to wonder what he's doing there and if he really wants to go anywhere or just hang around and 'exist in this wasteland'. Colin Gibson told me that Max was collecting all the necessary items, his gear, and his car to hold onto his past. The radio he used in the opening sequence was a hopeless attempt at trying to contact the HQ like a Japanese soldier trapped in Philippines after the war had long ended. That's why I never assumed he would want to go on a suicide mission, but if Nico says that was the plan then it does make sense in the context of the original storyboards.
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Re: Early concepts?

Postby AquaCola » Wed Aug 24, 2016 10:45 am

^A lot of good information there. I hope someday you tell us more since we are all so fascinated with FR here haha

Dinki Di wrote:Makes me wonder as well where the crows are getting their food if there's enough of them to feed on. Human carrion, maybe, since we almost never see an animal in the environment? There would need to be a lot of that to support enough crows to feed humans, though. . .


They would be feeding on worms and other insects since they can survive in very harsh conditions. We know the water turned poisonous so the humans had to get out but various animals and insects could live there for much longer. We know from the comics that farmed insects are a big source of food in the wasteland.
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Re: Early concepts?

Postby Dinki Di » Wed Aug 24, 2016 11:36 am

Taipan wrote:Of course once I mentioned that online - that the Vuvalini aren't so innocent after all - it was met with a lot of criticism that it would be impossible for women to be cruel like that and drawing the analogy to Immortan's ideology is wrong. But the fact is that this version of the story clearly underlines the failings of each extreme ideology and the only way to survive is to work together, not further separate each other. Oh the irony, the hatred I got from trying to show how equality works in that movie...


A lot of people missing the main point of the movie-- I can believe that. Yeah, when I first watched I just saw it as what's left of humanity weak through multiple divisions, the women vs men, the haves vs have nots in Joe's society, the strong vs weak... and human progress going nowhere fast beyond what level of civilization exists at that point. Ultimately the Vuvalini were going nowhere fast too, more so than the other societies. They seemed like the "dying tribe" to me, in terminal retreat instead of terminal advance like the War Boys. But the extreme feminist projection by some fans over the film makes my brain hurt, as does some of the stuff about how Max was somehow emasculated by a female co-lead... I'm not surprised the themes about co-operation went over the heads of some of that crowd, people getting along doesn't seem to be what some of them want in real life.

The first panel:

"The ROAD WARRIOR sits on a hill in the vast, pitiless wasteland.
A man UTTERLY ALONE, rocking to and fro... murmuring to himself.
This is not meditation. the voice and the movements are too jagged.

In response to some far off sound, he turns, and for the first time we see his face...
his eyes glisten with crazy-man tears."

So you see, originally Max was a complete mess, I wouldn't rule out the possibility of him just wanting to end it all in a suicide attempt. BUT, in the movie the whole thing has been really downplayed to the point you have to wonder what he's doing there and if he really wants to go anywhere or just hang around and 'exist in this wasteland'. Colin Gibson told me that Max was collecting all the necessary items, his gear, and his car to hold onto his past. The radio he used in the opening sequence was a hopeless attempt at trying to contact the HQ like a Japanese soldier trapped in Philippines after the war had long ended. That's why I never assumed he would want to go on a suicide mission, but if Nico says that was the plan then it does make sense in the context of the original storyboards.


I hunted for material in different places on Fury Road over the past few weeks and it's hard to remember where I encountered each bit of info, whether in an interview or a webpage or a book but I heard this too... this idea of Max being a total wreck at the beginning rocking back and forth, and you know what, I'm not sure if I prefer that sort of visual introduction than the "hallucinations" popping up accusing him of stuff (or saving him from fatal head injuries). But I guess it's not easy to convey high amounts of internal turmoil or mental illness without hitting the audience over the head with it a bit. I always preferred the subtler hints at Max's inner problems just though expressions like in Mad Max and Road Warrior... being left to think about them and what they might be yourself. The hallucinations are a bit jarring for me in this movie for some reason.

That said I still always wonder exactly what the filmmakers intend to convey in each scene, and whether I missed anything... is there a place to find all of the storyboarding for this film? I've seen a few boards around but probably only about 20 or 30 of what appears to be thousands. I love reading screenplays for the information about the original vision/details of a film or the extra world-building they can convey that is sometimes left out of or toned down from the finished movie, and far as I know there wasn't really one for this movie, only extensive storyboarding with notes?

AquaCola wrote:They would be feeding on worms and other insects since they can survive in very harsh conditions. We know the water turned poisonous so the humans had to get out but various animals and insects could live there for much longer. We know from the comics that farmed insects are a big source of food in the wasteland.


There's a lot of crows living close to my house (like a scene from Hitchcock at dusk) and yeah they do enjoy them some worms when they cut the fields, that said if the swamp was toxic wouldn't the toxins accumulate in the birds/insects and eventually the people living off them die of sickness? I suppose almost everyone in the Fury Road world is sick, though. Man, it's depressing when you start thinking about that aspect of the FR world. Healthy kids and people would be valuable, yet freakish. The Bullet Farmer scoffs at it - like it's a pipe dream and the People Eater is totally disinterested. Immortan Joe is at least interested in recitfying some of the rampant disease, you gotta give him that.

I've been in two minds as to get the comics. I kind of want to, I don't collect much but of the few franchises I really like I tend to want to collect a few things. Then someone I know went apeshit over the Furiosa comic and gave their reasons, so maybe not that one, lol.
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Re: Early concepts?

Postby Taipan » Wed Aug 24, 2016 12:05 pm

Nah, the 'storyboard only' narrative is largely just a publicity talk. In fact the very first version of Fury Road was a rough script that was turned into storyboards shortly after. And after the storyboards were completed there was also a regular script for the movie, I know because I've seen it. The storyboards are there online, whatever WB didn't catch or straight up allowed to show like in the bonus features for the Fury Road blu ray (those are the earliest storyboards by McCarthy I believe, the black and white ones). I think including them there would be up to 100 storyboards out there total. The rest is on lock but it's not like all of them were hand drawn, I've seen a good chunk of storyboards made of very rough and ugly CG models, but they count too
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Re: Early concepts?

Postby Dinki Di » Wed Aug 24, 2016 3:28 pm

Were you involved in the production? Pretty cool you've got to see the development and the ideas behind it. =D

So more of a conventional start for FR then, I guess a full screenplay would be ridiculously long if they hadn't focused on storyboards at some point. Just reading the screenplay for Road Warrior's end chase I can sense it was easier for George to draw pictures for people on the day/night before for that one.

They mention in interviews a lot about the unconventional loose approach, if not from relying on the boards but also what George was explaining to everyone from what he was seeing in his mind's eye when it comes to action scenes, but given that TRW and FR are pretty damn engaging action films, whatever particular method they used to make it happen works wonders.
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Re: Early concepts?

Postby Taipan » Wed Aug 24, 2016 9:21 pm

No, I wasn't involved in the production :)
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