For better or worse, George Miller's fourth installment of the Mad Max series -- tentatively titled Mad Max: Fury Road -- is moving forward sans Mel Gibson in the titular role. Previous reports had confirmed UK-import Tom Hardy was in talks for the lead, but in an interview with the MTV Movies Blog, Hardy makes it clear that his involvement is not yet set in stone. Instead, he uses these carefully chosen words: the role of Max Rockatansky is "strongly coming in [his] direction."

While all signs do point to Hardy for Max, it's a bit surprising to hear just how little Miller and Hardy have actually discussed the role thus far. Hardy mentions that he has read the script and has started preparing, and it's heartening to hear him verbalize the desire to take Max in a different direction. Whether this is just a matter of Hardy trying to be as PR-correct as possible (probably) or if there really is some chance Hardy will not end up in the film, the brief interview serves as a excellent opportunity to probe the question: Is Hardy right for the role? And furthermore, should anyone be resurrecting Max at this point?

After seeing Hardy tear up the screen in Bronson, I have to believe the guy deserves a shot at anything. So in that sense, Miller's (likely) casting choice doesn't seem so odd. More than casting though, this one will come down to script and story. Because (and I feel like I'm not alone here) Miller has a bit of an uphill battle to prove why we need to see beyond Beyond Thunderdome.