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Tom Hardy took over the Mad Max franchise after Mel Gibson gave it a whirl, but what would the summer’s hidden gem have looked like with the original headliner in the lead role? See Fury Road re-envisioned with Gibson as our post-apocalyptic hero in the video below.
YouTuber Mike B. pieced this little project together by cutting Gibson’s face onto Hardy’s agile body, even during the opening scene where Max is attempting to flee Immortan Joe’s prison. The video, less than a minute in length, only offers us a few brief moments with Gibson back in gear, but it’s well worth your time — if only to invoke fond memories of the actor.
Gibson portrayed Max, a wandering ronin of sorts traversing a post-apocalyptic desert wasteland. He starred in 1979’s Mad Max, which introduced us to his Australian policeman looking to stop a motorcycle gang; ’81’s Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, in which Max comes to the aid of a small, gasoline-rich community looking to escape the clutch of bandits; and ’85’s Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, in which an exiled Max attempts to overthrow a queen with a group of child rebels.
His director George Miller originally planned to bring him back for Fury Road, but circumstances beyond his control prevented that. As Miller told The Huffington Post, the events of 9/11 forced the U.S. dollar to fall against the Australian dollar, which caused the budget to balloon. Furthermore, Miller noted that by the time everything was in order again, Gibson "had all those troubles." The story was also looking to stick with a younger guy instead of focusing on an older version of Max, so Gibson was cut and Hardy was cast.
However, it doesn’t seem like there’s any bad blood between them. Gibson showed up at the Fury Road premiere to cheer on Miller and Hardy as they promoted the film. Hardy told reporters that he didn’t realize he would come but that he was thrilled to have him there. Miller also told The Sunday Morning Herald that the three of them sat together to watch the premiere. He mentioned that he hadn’t seen Gibson in a long time, and that he’s someone who can’t lie. But, according to the director, his former star started chuckling and digging him in the ribs during moments of the film.
Hardy ended up coming out on top. Fury Road earned a surprisingly large amount of money for Warner Bros. (approximately $374 million), and surprised audiences and critics with the strong presence of Charlize Theron as the bionic-armed Furiosa. Though these characters successfully introduced a new generation to the property, it’s nice to see Gibson pop up again — in some capacity.