Immortan Joe stares down at the camera, surrounded by his sons and henchmen.
(Warner Bros.)

One of ‘Mad Max’s Most Iconic Villains Is Returning in ‘Furiosa’

Furiosa is barreling down on us, and the movie features an unforgettable Mad Max villain: Immortan Joe. Who is this guy, exactly? Is he a new character, or has he shown up before? Let’s get into it!

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Furiosa is a prequel to 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road, which introduced the character of Imperator Furiosa. Now, in the new film, we get to see Furiosa’s early years, starting with her abduction from her childhood home and showing her evolution into a hardened road warrior.

Immortan Joe, originally played by Hugh Keays-Byrne, was first introduced in Fury Road. Identifiable by his painted white skin and a breathing apparatus that looks like an extra set of teeth, Immortan Joe is the ruthless ruler of the Citadel, a stronghold deep in the deserts of the Wasteland. In the Citadel, Joe hoards a vast supply of water in order to keep the population docile and dependent on him.

Joe is also a cult figure, worshipped as a divinely ordained ruler by the army of white-painted young men known as his war dogs. Any war dog is willing to die at Joe’s command, under the belief that he’ll be granted a spot in the warrior’s paradise of Valhalla.

In Fury Road, Furiosa works for Joe as the driver of his war rig, a giant truck that ferries gas and other supplies to and from his outposts. In Furiosa, we get to see how Furiosa got the job.

Is Immortan Joe in Furiosa?

Immortan Joe does indeed appear in Furiosa. In fact, he’s a major character. As the trailer hints, the movie will lay the groundwork for Furiosa’s future life as Joe’s Imperator—and her determination to someday escape back to her home.

However, Immortan Joe is no longer played by Keays-Byrne. Sadly, Keays-Byrne passed away in 2020, so the torch was passed to Lachy Hulme for Furiosa.

Furiosa hits theaters on May 24, 2024.


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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>