George Miller lost interest in the project after his friend and producer Byron Kennedy was killed in a helicopter crash while location scouting. That may explain why Miller only handled the action scenes while George Ogilvie handled the rest. The film is dedicated to Byron Kennedy.
The sandstorm at the end of the film was real, and a camera plane actually did fly into it for some shots. The storm in its entirety hit the crew in the desert, forcing them to ride it out in their cars and wherever they could find cover.
Max's eyes are different; the pupil in his left eye is permanently dilated. This is a nod to Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981): When his car is forced off the road by Wez and Max crashes, he suffers a severe injury to, among other body parts, his left eye. The disparity is easier to see in close-ups, and VERY easy to see in HD versions of the film. In the regular version, it's most prominent when Max first looks down on the Thunderdome.
The film was originally not a "Mad Max" film, but a post-apocalyptic "Lord of the Flies" film about a tribe of children who are found by an adult. It became the third Mad Max film when George Miller was suggested that Max is the man who finds the children.
The script called for Aunt Entity drive a vehicle. All of the vehicles were built using manual transmissions, which Tina Turner couldn't drive, so a car equipped with an automatic transmission had to be constructed.
In interviews about Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) (a.k.a. "The Road Warrior"), George Miller said that while Max's world was after the collapse of the social/political/economic system we know, it was not post-World War III. However, "Beyond Thunderdome" explicitly is set after WWIII indeed.
When Max first meets Aunty a saxophone is heard playing, the camera then reveals that the music is not the soundtrack but happening within the movie itself as One of Aunty's men is playing it. This is a nod to the original Mad Max (1979) where Max's wife playing the saxophone is revealed in the same way.
Jedidiah's airplane is a Transavia PL-12 'Airtruk', a single-engine agricultural biplane designed by Transavia in Australia. First flown in 1965, around 120 had been built by the time this movie was made.
The film takes place 15 years after the previous film Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981), which that film took place 5 years after the original film. That means this film takes place 20 years after Mad Max (1979).
It is a popular misbelief that the vehicle Max is seen driving at the beginning and end of the film is based on a Ford F150 pick-up truck. However a modified early to mid 70's model Australian Ford Fairlane ZF-ZG was used as the base vehicle. Although the exterior of the car has been heavily modified, the vehicle is identified through the remaining pieces of the cars interior. These include a curved dashboard and ignition switch along with steering column positioning (common style of Australian Ford model's between the years 1971 to 1976,) Along with the a ZG seat trim and steering wheel. This can be confirmed through close-ups of the interior during the final chase sequence. The ZG Fairlane shares a very similar body style, chassis and engine (351, 5.8 liter V8 Cleveland) to Max's original yellow Interceptor used in "Mad Max." Making all three of the main vehicles used by Max in each film a similar variation of each other (Australian Model Ford V8, mid 70's Sedan,Coupe).
This is the first Mad Max film in which Max actually uses a firearm other than a shotgun. As an MFP officer in Mad Max (1979), Max carries a revolver, but always reaches for a shotgun - including his iconic sawed-off shotgun - when the need for a weapon arises. In Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981), Max only uses the sawed-off shotgun.
In Australia this film is simply referred to as Mad Max 3. There are four films in the series. Mad Max (1979) is the first in the series. The second film, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981), was released in the United States as simply The Road Warrior (released and referred to as Mad Max 2 in Australia, where it is still referred to under this title). It was not marketed as a Mad Max film upon its American release, for fear of its foreign credentials hurting its US box office. This has caused confusion for Americans who thought it was just a stand alone film, but it is definitely the second in the Mad Max Film Franchise, all produced and directed by George Miller. IMDB now lists the second film as "Mad Max 2 : The Road Warrior", which helps to explain its shared confusing history. In fact, Quentin Tarantino, a teenager when it was released, accidentally calls it "The Road Warrior" before correcting himself and calling it "Mad Max 2" in the documentary Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! (2008), which explored Australian exploitation cinema. The recently released Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) is the fourth in the series and the first film in the franchise to not star Mel Gibson.
The kids assume Max to be the savior who brings them to the civilization known as "Tomorrow-morrow Land." The film Tomorrowland (2015) released just one week after the next installment Mad Max: Fury Road (2015).
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Two scenes were cut from the film to bring down the running time. In the first, Max dreams of his murdered wife and son, wakes up and cries. He realises he's become just as bad as the animals he used to hunt down as a cop. The other is Max takes a dying Gekko to the top of a sand dune at night, sees the lights of Bartertown and tells him they've reached Tomorrow-Morrow Land. A few seconds of this scene are included in the music video for Tina Turner's "We Don't Need Another Hero."
The film was intended to be the final chapter of the "Mad Max' franchise, with Mel Gibson bowing out of the role of Max and ending with Max regaining his humanity and walking away into the sunset. And so it was, until George Miller made the 4th sequel with Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), 30 years later.
It is unexplained on why Max did not kill Blaster in the film. It's possible, Blaster reminded Max of Benno, the autistic farmhand whom was living at May Swaisey's farm in Mad Max (1979), when Jesse and Sprog were murdered by The Toecutter and his motorcycle gang, or there may had still had been humanity left in Max and Max felt it was wrong and inhuman to kill Blaster, who had Down Syndrome. Some believe that Benno and Blaster are the same character, despite being played by different actors, and it's possible Benno may have survived the nuclear war.