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Coma the Doof Warrior, a man in red long johns and a skull mask, blasts fire from an electric guitar while standing atop a vehicle made out of stacked speakers in George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road Image: Warner Bros./Everett Collection

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Who is Furiosa’s equivalent of the Doof Warrior?

We all need another weird, weird hero

How do you top something that’s already ridiculously, joyfully, emphatically over the top? That’s the big existential question George Miller faced in making Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, the hard-charging prequel to Mad Max: Fury Road. The first film is maximalist to a fault, with screaming, bald, white-painted War Boys gleefully spray-painting their teeth chrome before throwing themselves to their deaths, and chase after chase featuring a giant War Rigs and nigh-infinite smaller vehicles covered in skulls, chains, creepy dolls, and anything else the designers could graft on.

But nothing in the movie is more over the top than the Doof Warrior, the fan-favorite hard-rocker who bungie-hops around a giant stack of speakers, dressed in red long johns and his dead mother’s face, wielding a fire-spitting guitar as he plays sick licks to inspire Immortan Joe’s hyped-up collection of Valhalla-minded dummies to go even harder in combat. Recently, a group of Polygon staffers were discussing Furiosa, and someone asked, “Who’s the Doof Warrior equivalent in this movie?”

The most obvious answer is that there isn’t one — at least, there isn’t someone who’s ridiculous in the same way and on the same level. But one of the best things about Furiosa is that Miller isn’t just trying to copycat himself, so he doesn’t, say, throw a flame-spewing brass band into his new movie to up the ante on something that was already perfect. But in terms of who Furiosa’s breakout character might be — who might inspire fan art and fan engagement, once more people have seen the movie — well, we’ve got different opinions on that one. Witness us!

Praetorian Jack

Praetorian Jack (Tom Burke) and Furiosa (Anya Taylor-Joy) sit close to each other in a barren, rocky cave, holding hands and with their heads pressed together, in Furiosa Image: Warner Bros./YouTube

Jack is in some ways the exact opposite of the Doof Warrior — quiet where DW is showy, content to disappear into a crowd instead of living for the spectacle, and a much more stylish dresser. (Red PJs are so pre-apocalypse.) But I think he may be the character who goes the distance in the fandom, because like the Doof Warrior, he stands out as radically different from everyone else. There’s just so little space in the Mad Maxiverse for people who do their jobs without yelling about it constantly and trying to make every success seem bigger and more praiseworthy than it actually is.

And his connection with Furiosa seems designed to leave a mark on viewers — maybe even a bigger mark than it leaves on Furiosa herself. She’s so revenge-driven that she doesn’t have much room in her life for other people, but she makes room for Praetorian Jack, maybe because he’s polite enough not to take up more space there than she’s willing to give. There isn’t a lot of space in the Wasteland for tenderness or compassion, either, as Dementus tells us. The fact that Praetorian Jack manages to bring that into the franchise, too, makes him memorable even as one of the series’ most undemanding characters. —Tasha Robinson

The Octoboss

Octoboss, an armored warrior with huge black horns, riding a motorcycle equipped with a giant fan on the back, rides across the Wasteland in a caravan with Dementus (Chris Hemsworth) in Furiosa Image: Warner Bros./Everett Collection

The only thing the Wastelanders of the Mad Max franchise respect more than power and violence is branding. Surviving on the Fury Road is all about picking a theme, scrapping together a cool costume, and giving yourself a nutso name that people are too scared not to call you. And the person who does all that the best in Furiosa is the Octoboss.

Dementus’ onetime ally, who eventually makes it clear that he’s out for his own gains instead, fills all the criteria of one of the Wasteland’s great weirdos. He’s got a terrific helmet, pitch-black and probably impossible to see out of, with towering horns that surely affect his balance, and a squad of loyal riders who will die at his command. But just as importantly, he also knows how to go out like a badass. Sure, he gets shredded at the end of his ill-fated attempt at conquest, but God, what a beautiful, tentacle-y mess he leaves behind him! As an added bonus, his octopus costume also gives us one of the movie’s most stunning visual moments, and one of the clearest indicators that Miller is going for something far more painterly and strange than the look he attempted in Fury Road. —Austen Goslin


Dementus (Chris Hemsworth), the bearded leader of a group of Wasteland warriors, stands in a tent with a clean white cloth draped over his head and extending down to his feet, surrounded by male acolytes of various ages in George Miller’s Furiosa Photo: Jasin Boland/Warner Bros. Entertainment

OK, to be real, nobody’s going to fixate on Smeg, Dementus’ weaselly, hunched hype man. Smeg’s entire existence appears to be built around standing next to the warlord and reiterating the front-facing emotion of his statements in exaggerated mimicry, cringing low to show sympathy and shaking his fists to show triumph. Like a more versatile, albeit mute Anger Translator.

No, I don’t expect to see much of Smeg at Comic-Con — maybe a couples’ Halloween costume featuring Dementus and his most front-and-center hanger-on. But there’s something compelling in the idea of a Wasteland jester, jingling miserably across the dust. —Susana Polo

War Pup

War Pup (Quaden Bayles, shirtless, painted white, with chrome spray paint across his mouth and circular scarification on his skull) pops out of a hatch in the War Rig in Furiosa Image: Warner Bros./YouTube

Quaden Bayles’ War Pup has just one job: He runs the Bommyknocker, the contraption attached to the rear of the War Rig. Immortan Joe’s mechanics are very proud of the Bommyknocker, and when it hits the road for the first time, War Pup is excited to finally use this ultimate weapon on the Fury Road — which is relatable, because I spent that whole sequence similarly excited about eventually seeing what the Bommyknocker could do! But in the Wasteland, we’re all punchlines. Right when it’s time to finally use the Bommyknocker, War Pup takes a bullet to the brain, and he never gets to see how freaking metal it is in action.

To me, War Pup is most like the Doof Warrior in that he has a very specific function that the audience is hyped to see, but he also seems much more interesting than the limited role he has in the Wasteland. Maybe we’ll learn more about him in some form or another eventually, but meanwhile, the actor who plays him has a story that lives up to the hype. Bayles went viral in 2020 after a bullying incident, picked on for his achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism. When Bayles’ story was noticed by Australian news media, Miller reached out to give him a small role in Three Thousand Years of Longing — and liked him enough to keep working with him on Furiosa. Witness him! —Joshua Rivera