[[WMG: Max is in hell]]
That is it. Max's experiences in the apocalyptic wasteland are all his soul experiencing some form of hell for whatever reason.

[[WMG: It is all in Max's head]]
The events of the first movie happened as told. Biker gangs, Max's family getting killed, all of it. But Max was already in danger of going mad according to the plot, he even wants to quit the MFP because he thinks he will lose it. After his wife and child are murdered he goes out for vengeance, but it doesn't help anything. He has already lost his mind, and killing all the bikers just pushed him into a state of insanity that leads to his mind creating the "future" that is nothing but desolate wastes and gangs of psychos trying to annihilate order.

His fixation on trying to make things right in each subsequent story, the lack of continuity, and the general oddness each continued story takes is simply his mind creating, recreating, and retconning itself to better cope with his lose of sanity. It even explains why he doesn't age as he still imagines himself as the Max from the days when he lost his family.

"Where" Max is in reality is up for conjecture. He could still be on the road dying and this delusion was created by his blood drained brain. He could be on the farm as an old man, only barely conscious of the world around him. He could be in a hospital (medical or mental). None of that matters tho as the end result is the same. All the movies past the first (and even the game as it is tied through lore directly as a sequel to events in Fury Road, but taking place a full generation later which further explains the continuity errors) are just events made up in Max's mind.

[[WMG: Max is immortal]]
At the time of Mad Max, Max Rockatansky is a young cop with a wife and infant son, maybe in his mid to late 20s. (I'm intentionally aiming low here, and Mel Gibson was 23 at the time of filming.) The Collapse is ongoing in Mad Max but hasn't finished yet. There's still gas, people still have electricity, and there's something like a legal system; things are fucked, but it's not yet apocalyptic.

Fury Road is set between Mad Max and The Road Warrior, but how long has passed since the first movie? Furiosa says she's was taken captive by Immortan Joe almost 20 years ago, when she was 12 (and I'll note that her actress, Charlize Theron, is 40)--but at that time, she was a member of the Many Mothers Tribe, which implies that she grew up with a tribal identity. That makes it very likely that 25-30 years have passed since the Collapse.

The oldest of the Many Mothers remembers television and electric lights, like Max does, but none of the others do. Immortan Joe looks like a fairly old guy--and the actor who plays him is 68--and was an army colonel before the Collapse. Max is played by Tom Hardy (who is 38) and looks like he might be in his 30s at most, despite them being theoretical contemporaries.

Road Warrior happens some time after this, but that's almost irrelevant. Beyond Thunderdome's script notes that 15 years have passed since the events of Road Warrior, which is much more interesting. By that time, Max has a little bit of grey in his hair, but he's still young-looking (Mel Gibson was 33 at the time of filming). Tina Turner is Aunty Entity, the ruler of Bartertown, and she notes she was a "nobody" before the collapse; Tina Turner was 50 at the time of filming.

So by the time of the final chronological film, Max Rockatansky is, by this math, somewhere in his *60s* but looks like a man of 30 or so. Depending on how much or little time is actually between Mad Max and Fury Road, and between Fury Road and Road Warrior, Max could reasonably be anywhere from his late 40s to his mid 70s, but looks like a man of 33 (with some hard living).

My theory: Max is immortal. He strongly fits into the "man with no name" or "cursed wanderer" literary and film archetypes, and one of the genre conventions for such characters is that they're condemned to walk the earth forever (or at least until they're forgiven by god or forgive themselves). Like Cain, Longinus, Clint Eastwood's Drifter, or Roland of Gilead, Max Rockatansky is kept alive by his guilt--in his case, the guilt from watching his wife and son die right in front of him. It's not until Max forgives himself and is redeemed as a human being at the end of Beyond Thunderdome that he can stop wandering and become mortal again.
* This would also explain why he's questioning his sanity at the beginning of "MM:FR"; he's staying the same age in spite of everyone around him aging at a normal rate.
* Word of God says that Fury Road doesn't actually take place in the same timeline as ''The Road Warrior'' and ''Beyond Thunderdome'' at all, and possibly not even the same timeline as ''Mad Max'' itself.

[[WMG: Max knew the tanker had sand in it.]]
Max doesn't look very surprised to see the sand spilling out of the tanker at the end just a bit dazed from the crash. The plan to escape Lord Humungus and his followers was discussed more than once in Max's presence. The audience never hears the full plan because when Papagallo is talking you don't get to hear everything he's saying. His voice often fades away to inaudible levels because the focus of the scene is on max but that doesn't mean that max hasn't heard every word said in his presence. Max knows the tanker is filled with sand and that driving the tanker is a potentially suicidal distraction to allow the others to escape with the real fuel that's why he doesn't want to drive the tanker at first. It's only when he's lost everything he has and is looking for an opportunity to get a little revenge that he says he will drive the tanker.

[[WMG: driving the tanker wasn't meant to be a suicide mission.]]
Papegallo drives up alongside the tanker sees max is essentially pinned to his seat holds up his hand in a what can you do gesture and drops back to try to convince the feral kid to abandon the tanker. Whilst driving the tanker runs a risk of being killed it was always the plan when they were far enough out that the others had gotten safely away for Papagallo to drive up and collect anyone still alive essentially abandoning the tanker to Lord Humongous and his followers whose attention would be solely upon gaining possession of the tanker and might not realize they had been tricked til Papagallo and any survivors he had picked up had a nice head start.

[[WMG: Johnny is perfectly innocent.]]
We never see him perform any of his crimes, he's only left there at the end of the rape scene. He's thought of as a wimp by the rest of the gang. He visibly refuses to burn Goose alive. And, of course, he may have just found the truck destroyed and needed shoes.
* But we do, however, see him messing around with Goose's bike which causes the crash (though what he did to make the brakes lock up at speed is never explained).
** He loosened the rear axle, and it caused the wheel to lock up, probably when the bearings jammed.
** He also tossed that wheel through the truck's windscreen, causing Goose to crash.

[[WMG: Lord Humungus is actually Fifi]]

Think about it. He wants to bring heroes back to Austrailia. What better way to do it than be the Villain.
* Plus, Fifi was a pretty big guy, as was Humungus.

[[WMG: Mad Max is set in the ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' universe.]]
Australia was physically mostly untouched by the bombs but society broke down just like everywhere else.
* Yet their cars are all modern vehicles and transistors are widely used, whereas Fallout has wide use of vacuum tubes because the transistor wasn't invented until just before the war, and all cars look like either generic postwar era vehicles or the Ford Nucleon concept car.
** Unless America was somehow technologically backwards in the ''Fallout''-verse? Combined with the '50s cultural stasis, maybe there was technological stasis too, and the US was enough of an industrial powerhouse to be resistant to competition from better foreign tech?
*** Wouldn't work. Fallout had AIs, Computers, Robots, Both big and small, laser weapons, plenty of ammo. So did China. China had energy guns themselves, and fully working stealth suits. Australia had to have had something.
* Alternatively, ''Mad Max'' is set in the ''VideoGame/{{Wasteland}}'' universe.

[[WMG: ''Film/TheCarsThatAteParis'' is set in the ''Mad Max'' universe.]]
Fellow [[UsefulNotes/AustralianNewWave Australian New Waver Peter Weir's]] ''The Cars That Ate Paris'' is set in the 1970s of the ''Mad Max'' universe. Possibly 2014's ''Film/TheRover'' is too. Any continuity errors, just like in the ''Mad Max'' films, are caused because they're all retellings of post-Apocalyptic mythology.

[[WMG: The fluid they are obsessing about in the movie (Mad Max 2, at least) is water, not petrol]]
While the film does mention "Guzzoline" a few times, they never actually state the stuff they're pumping is fuel. Also, crude oil requires massive equipment to fraction into burnable fuel, which they simply don't possess there. In the field, you don't see anyone pouring their collections into a car. Water would be precious in a desert environment, and would be a reason for Humungus to attack. If they needed fuel, why were they so profligate with their consumption?
* Max is seen trying to salvage fuel from a crashed buggy in the opening scene. Plus, Toadie checks the Pursuit Special's fuel tanks when it crashes, telling Wez that they're full. They've probably got some kind of storage for it, just a limited supply.
* That said, water is a plot point in ''Fury Road''. It's likely that both are equally important.
* Gasoline isnt the most immediate concern in Fury Road, they're right next to Gas Town which has its own refinery. Hell, its not even really about water, its about PEOPLE being used as commodities. The Citadel, Gas Town and the Bullet Farm have a trade system set up, meaning they have the most direct needs taken care of.

[[WMG: Cars in the ''Mad Max'' have been optimized for maximum fuel efficiency.]]
Cars in the second film, despite fuel being scarce, appear to be in little danger of running out (apart from the Pursuit Special's low fuel warning light at the beginning). With the little he salvages from the crashed buggy, Max is able to stave off his fuel problems until he gets to the refinery. The Lord Humungous' army seems to have little problem for the moment. Cars must be very efficient at this point. Of course, lean burning engines still burn, hence the need for a long term solution. This is further supported by the fact that the bikes Furiosa brings with her can carry enough fuel to travel for 160 days.

[[WMG: Every movie after the first is a part of the legend that didn't necessarily happen]]
After the first movie, the other movies are being told through oral history. The reality is that, like King Arthur and Beowulf, the legend of Max has been added to over time. All of them are really the stories of men who didn't identify themselves that later got attributed to the original Max over time.
* With the possible exception of ''Fury Road'', which is the only sequel to have Max narrate.

[[WMG: Immortan Joe is Toecutter]]

Toecutter somehow survived the horrific crash from the first movie but still suffered major damage, which is why he needs the mask as a breathing aid. Surviving something that should have killed him (and could still kill him without the appropriate equipment) is how he gained the nickname "Immortan" and him renaming himself to Joe could be an attempt to gain anonymity so Max wouldn't immediately go after him again. It's no coincidence that they're played by the same actor.
** [[spoiler: Seemingly Jossed. Immortan Joe is dead by the end of Fury Road and the film makes no reference to Toecutter. Furthermore, Joe doesn't seem to recognize Max]].
** Definitely Jossed by the promotional materials. Immortan Joe is, in fact, a former army Colonel named Joe Moore.

[[WMG: Tom Hardy's Max is [[GenerationXerox Sprog]].]]
The original Max's son somehow survived what happened when he was young. He grew up in the post-apocalyptic wasteland and, by necessity, became much like his father without realizing. He suffered his own losses, which isn't surprising given the general roughness of things.
* Adding some weight to this theory is Furiosa's backstory. [[spoiler:It's been at least 20 years ("Seven thousand days, and the ones I don't remember.") since the War Boys kidnapped her from the Many Mothers, and by that time the Mothers had already evolved their own distinct traditions of greeting and mourning. That means it's probably at least 25 years, and probably a lot longer, since civilization broke down.]]
* Alternatively, he could be the grown up wild kid from the second movie, as he does seem a bit madder than Mel Gibson's Max.
* Then where did he get the Pursuit Special? It was supposed to be the very last one. Also, he mentions in his opening narration that he was a cop.
* Also, he is wearing a knee brace, just like old Max. And suffering from hallucinations that directly reference the experiences that Gibson's Max had.

[[WMG: Mad Max is the Wasteland's [[Film/ThePrincessBride Dread Pirate Roberts]].]]
Eventually, he picks a successor and retires. Word of mouth keeps the legend going. Alternately, Max dies and someone ''has'' to assume the role. Or...

[[WMG: There's more than one Mad Max out there.]]
The Wasteland's a big enough place...

[[WMG: Mad Max take places in the ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40K}}'' at the beginning of the age of strife.]]
The earth is ruined, strange cult and wild faction. There aren't any high tech just because the action take place in a lost part of the old earth.

[[WMG: There might actually ''be'' a [[TheRemnant fragment of]] [[HiddenElfVillage civilization]] somewhere in the wasteland.]]
In a quiet moment in ''Fury Road,'' one of the rescued women wonders upon seeing [[LostTechnology an orbiting satellite]] passing through the night sky whether someone out there might still be using them. Given how vast the wastes are, it's possible that somewhere, a remnant of the old world might still exist, possibly biding its time before coming back in force to "restore order." Which could play a part in ''Mad Max: Furiosa.''

[[WMG: ''Mad Max'' and ''FistOfTheNorthStar'' take place in the same universe.]]
Thanks in part to very similar aesthetics and premises, not to mention a nuclear war in 20XX. The big difference though is that no one in the wastelands of Australia knows or cares about martial arts.

[[WMG: [[Franchise/TheDarkTower The world has moved on.]]]]
Max isn't immortal, nor is anyone else, but time itself has become strange and unreliable.

[[WMG: The Pursuit Special is cursed.]]
It feeds off Max's madness. When he drives it, he loses his humanity. Jessie and Sprog's deaths are enough to tip him over the edge, allowing the car to take control. Any time he loses the car, the curse is broken and Max begins to regain his humanity.