According to trivia book "Movie Mavericks" by Jon Sandys, one of the more spectacular stunts in the film was actually a serious accident. One of the motorcycle-riding raiders hits a car, flies off the bike, smashes his legs against the car, and cartwheels through the air towards the camera. This was a real, genuine accident: the stuntman was supposed to just fly over the car WITHOUT hitting it. But the near-fatal incident looked so dramatic that it was kept in the movie. The stuntman broke his leg badly, but survived. (If you look at the stuntman's body frame-by-frame through his cartwheels, you can see that one of his legs is bending at a slightly unnatural angle around the knee...ouch.)
The dog used in the film, named simply "Dog", was obtained from a local dog pound and trained to perform in the film. Because the sound of the engines upset him (and in one incident, caused him to relieve himself in the car), he was fitted with special earplugs. After filming was complete, he was adopted by one of the camera operators.
The tanker roll stunt at the end of the chase was deemed so dangerous that the stunt driver was not allowed to eat any food 12 hours before they shot in the likely event that he could be rushed into surgery.
Reasons for Max's strange & mismatched outfit: Right arm of jacket missing - arm was run over by a bike in Mad Max (1979) and medics would have cut the sleeve off rather than pull it over a damaged limb. Squeaky leg brace - kneecap shot through in the previous movie. Harness with spanners and stuff dangling off it - for running repairs on the V8. First two fingers of each driving glove missing - easier insertion/ retrieval of shotgun shells from his sawed-off shotgun.
After Mad Max (1979) was finished, all of the cars were supposed to be destroyed, including the black interceptor. But someone thought the interceptor was too good to lose, so they saved it from the crusher. This was before the film was even released. When was in its planning stage, someone found out the interceptor had somehow survived, so they tracked it down, and bought it back.
Humungus was originaly supposed to be Max's partner Jim Goose. They decided against this, but left a few hints, such as horrible burns behind Humungus' goalie mask, his raider's use of police vehicles, and his own use of a similar weapon to the MFP's standard sidearm.
Contributing to the cost of production was the most expensive set ever constructed for an Australian film: the desert compound built in the desert of Broken Hill, New South Wales. The production also boasted the largest explosion ever created for an Australian film, which destroyed that very set.
The logo on the tank truck is "7 Sisters Oil", reference to a conspiracy theory, popular before OPEC-conspiracy theories took over, that Standard Oil and six other companies controlled the world oil market and bought up and suppressed 200-MPG carburetor and so on to keep oil prices up.
Renamed "The Road Warrior" for North American distribution because at the time, the original Mad Max (1979) had only been released there on a limited basis, so calling it Mad Max 2 would have confused viewers.
The black Interceptor driven by Mel Gibson is a 1973 Ford Falcon XB GT Coupe, a car exclusive to Australia. A limited number of these cars were exported by Ford to New Zealand and the United Kingdom, but never to North America. Since only 949 of that particular model Falcon were ever produced, they have become highly sought after by car collectors on six continents; there are over 100 of them that have been brought over to the United States so far, primarily by importing/replica car companies like www.madmaxcars.com (The largest importer and builder of mad max replicas in the USA) along with several Interceptor replicas assembled from "non-GT" & "GT" Falcon coupes.
One of the factors which led to using the location was the prediction by rainfall charts that there would be virtually no rainfall during the shoot. But during the shoot, it did rain - the first time there had been rain in over four years. Production was shut down for over a week.
Although it might not look it, the location was actually extremely cold. Mel Gibson would spend his time in between takes huddled under blankets despite being kitted out in a leather outfit, while the marauders suffered in particular with their costumes which deliberately exposed their buttocks.
According to cinematographer Dean Semler, the camera rig used to get medium close ups of Max driving required him and an ac to stand on a small platform mounted to the driver's side of the car. They found out during one sequence that they miscalculated the lift, because whenever they went up or down a hill the platform would actually scrape the ground, sending out a shower of sparks. (Initially alarming all involved, they just shrugged and kept shooting without cutting.)
When Max comes back to the tractor to retrieve it. A squealing sound is heard as the engine is trying to turn over. This sound is caused because the truck has an AIR starter as opposed to an electrical starter. Air starters were used briefly in the US in the 80's, then phased out because they did not perform well in cold temperatures.
Only two original Interceptors were used in the Mad Max movies. The one that was used in Mad Max (1979) was modified and reused in all of the interior and close up car shots in Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981): the Road Warrior. After filming was over, this Interceptor was bought and restored by Bob Forsenko and is currently on display in the "Cars of the Stars Motor Museum" in England. Another car was built for the chase scenes in the second movie but that one was destroyed when the script required it to be pushed off the road and blown up. The wreckage used to be viewable at Broken Hill, Australia but due to thefts it can't be found there any longer. The Planet Hollywood Interceptor is a replica and was never used in any of the films.
The set for the refinery compound was blown up on 22 July 1981. The shot of marauders in the compound just before the explosion was filmed soon after dawn, with a waning gibbous moon visible in one scene.
The picture of the nude woman on the vertical stabilizer of the gyro is Karen Price, Playboy's January, 1981 centerfold. (She is most noticeable when Max first approaches the machine while the Gyro Captain is hiding under the sand.)
In the opening scene, Max stands near a roadside sign that says "Mundi Mundi Look Out", where the movie was shot. The other locations on the sign are One Tree Hill 50, Los Angeles 3500, Casablanca 3500, London 4500.
Opening scene was originally shot with Max driving past a farm that Wez and others were ransacking while the bodies of the owners that they killed were hanging dead from a tree. During the massacre the sound of a high powered V8 approaching is heard by Wez. In the distance he sees the interceptor with it's large fuel tanks drive past. Wez jumps on his bike and he and the others make chase. The camera then panned out of the car's charger to signify a short passage of time and THEN the scene is as we know it with just Wez and two cars still in pursuit due to the Interceptor's power.
Max's dog was saved from being euthanized by the filmmakers. One day before he was to be put to sleep, members of the crew visited his shelter looking for a pet to cast for the film. He was picked out of a number of other dogs due to him picking up a rock off the ground and playing with it like a toy. The crew members realized the dog could have a real presence on film and had the potential to be trained. Mad Max 2 ended up being the only film he appeared in.
Original cut of the movie was lot bloodier and more violent but it was cut down heavily by Australian censors. When it was submitted to the MPAA, two additional scenes (Wez graphically pulling an arrow out of his arm and close-up shot of him pulling the boomerang out of his dead boyfriend's head) were cut down. Although there is a version that includes MPAA cuts, there never was any full uncut version with pre-MPAA cuts included.
The purpose of the narration and footage from the original "Mad Max" at the beginning of the film, was to reintroduce the character of Max and to connect the world of "Mad Max 2" with "Mad Max" and to explain the back-story of why gasoline supplies were low, why crime was out of control and why the nuclear war, which happened a couple of weeks after "Mad Max" happened and the story was told from The Feral Kid's point of view, which is why he is the narrator.
Max befriending The Feral Kid foreshadowed the following film "Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome". Which Max is rescued by a tribe of children, after he is banished and left to die in the post-apocalyptic Australian desert by the evil ruler of Bartertown, Aunty Entity.
Originally "Mad Max 2" was the conclusion of the "Mad Max" story, which Max's fate would never had been revealed and George Miller, Terry Hayes and Byron Kennedy had no intentions of making a 3rd installment. However, George Miller had planned to make a post-apocalyptic "Lord of the Flies" film about a tribe of children living in the wild, who are found by an adult. When Miller was suggested that Mad Max is the adult who finds the children, it became the 3rd installment "Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome".
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Most of the final action sequences (including Pappagallo's death by trident machete, Wez's final attempt to kill the Feral Kid, then the collision between Max's truck and Humungus' hot rod) were filmed on 24 July 1981. The collision caused more damage to the truck than expected, so the truck's turnover (scheduled for the same day) had to be postponed. The truck was repaired, then crashed the following day.