Movie Reviews

Furiosa: Praetorian Jack & Mad Max Parallels Explained

Warning! This article contains SPOILERS for Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga


Summary

  • Tom Burke’s Praetorian Jack mirrors Max Rockatansky both in appearance and in how he influences Furiosa’s path in the movie.
  • Praetorian Jack becomes a key ally and friend to Furiosa, guiding her on her journey and emotionally healing her.
  • Jack’s similarities to Max in Furiosa enhance Mad Max: Fury Road, as Max likely reminded Furiosa of Jack, which added a layer of tragedy.


Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga only has a small cameo featuring the franchise’s namesake, Max Rockatansky, but it does include a sort of homage to him in the form of Praetorian Jack. Furiosa is a prequel to Mad Max: Fury Road, but Max only has a cameo appearance in Furiosa. The movie instead focuses on the other lead of Fury Road, Furiosa. It charts her transformation from a little girl in the green place to becoming “the fifth rider of the apocalypse.” Anya Taylor-Joy’s Furiosa faces off against Chris Hemsworth’s brutal and villainous Dementus, leading to an epic Western-style showdown.

While Furiosa includes several Fury Road characters, it also introduces several new faces to the franchise. One of the most important new characters was Tom Burke’s Praetorian Jack, the original driver of the War Rig. He may have been a new character, but he was heavily influenced by Max himself, and the similarities between them bleed into every part of Furiosa, from Jack’s appearance down to his role in the movie.


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Who Is Praetorian Jack? Backstory & Furiosa Role Explained

Jack Is One Of Furiosa’s Few Allies & Friends In The Wasteland

Tom Burke's Praetorian Jack grabs Furiosa's knife in Furiosa trailer 2

Furiosa rarely spent time exploring the backstory of any character besides Furiosa herself, and Praetorian Jack was no exception. Almost nothing is known about Jack’s life prior to Furiosa beyond the fact that he was an established Praetorian for Immortan Joe, which meant he drove for deliveries, before he ever met Furiosa. Then, after the first battle on the War Rig, Jack offered to teach Furiosa in the ways of road war and became her mentor. Eventually, after Jack taught her everything he knew, the two were extremely close, and even tried to escape together, before Dementus ruined their plans and sealed Praetorian Jack’s fate in Furiosa.


Praetorian Jack Is An Alternate Mad Max

Jack Is Very Similar To Max In Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior

Praetorian Jack bears several striking similarities to Max Rockatansky, the biggest of which are the two characters’ appearances. Jack wears almost the exact same leather jacket and road leathers with a shoulder pad, and his hairstyle even resembles Max’s. There’s even a shot of Jack that’s extremely reminiscent of Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior: when Jack walked down the road to recruit Furiosa for his team, it seemed just like the iconic image of Mel Gibson’s Max. Additionally, Jack even offers to teach Furiosa how to wage road war, a clear reference to Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior.


Mad Max: Fury Road acted as a sort of soft reboot for the franchise when it cast Tom Hardy as Max. There are some clues that Hardy’s and Gibson’s Max are the same character, but Praetorian Jack imagines how Gibson’s version might have fit into Furiosa if they truly were different people. In many ways, he’s closer to Gibson’s version than Hardy was, even though he wasn’t actually Max.

Praetorian Jack Has A Major Influence On Furiosa’s Path

Jack & Max Both Helped Furiosa Achieve Her Final Goal

Praetorian Jack’s similarities to Max don’t only apply to Gibson’s portrayal of the character, though. Jack played almost the same role in Furiosa that Max did in Fury Road. Both characters became extremely close to Furiosa, as Max saved her life and Jack nearly earned her love, and they both helped her on her quests. Without Max, Furiosa never would have made it to the Green Place, and she never would have been able to take the Citadel. Without Jack’s guidance, Furiosa never would have become the warrior she was, and she likely would have died during her escape.


Jack’s importance to Furiosa’s story may even surpass Max’s. Touching foreheads was a major sign of affection for Furiosa, one she only showed her mother. Jack was the only other person she did this with, indicating that he helped her emotionally heal. Furiosa even painted her forehead with grease, just like Jack, which shows an even deeper bond. Then, Jack’s death at Dementus’ hands acts as the final push Furiosa needed to get her revenge. It was mostly for her mother, but without Jack’s death, Furiosa would have simply left for the Green Place without getting revenge at the end of Furiosa.

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The similarities between Praetorian Jack and Mad Max run very deep, but they don’t simply serve as a reference to the franchise’s history. Like with most of Furiosa, Praetorian Jack directly connects to and enhances Fury Road. Since they’re so similar, Max almost certainly reminded Furiosa of Jack when they and she started seeing how competent he was. It helps explain why she trusted him, and it adds an extra layer of tragedy to Furiosa’s story in Fury Road, as she was constantly reminded of someone she was so close to once. Praetorian Jack further cemented Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga as part of the Mad Max franchise.

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