Mad Max: Fury Road opened this weekend and, taking in 45 million at the box office and maintaining an amazing 98% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, it has thrilled both critics and audiences. From George Miller’s breakneck direction to Charlize Theron’s performance as a one-armed warrior queen, there is much to praise about Mad Max: Fury Road. For many, though, the best part of the film is the “crazy guitar guy.”
If you have seen Max Max: Fury Road, you know exactly who I am talking about. He is the red jumpsuit-wearing, masked man who plays a mean guitar and wields a flamethrower at the same time. When the War Boys chase Furiousa and Max across the desert, he is a passenger on a massive truck. On the back of the truck, drummers pound away. On the front of truck, he dangles above a stack of speakers and amplifiers while playing a double-neck guitar that is also a flame thrower. Though he is known to many as simply being the crazy guitar guy, his character has a name. He is Coma, the Doof Warrior. In just one weekend, he has become a cult hero.
The Doof Warrior is played by Australian musician and theatrical actor, iOTA (born Sean Hape). In an interview with Yahoo Movies, iOTA describes the Doof Warrior as being “a post-apocalyptic drummer boy.” From the drummer boys who played and often died on Civil War battlegrounds to the modern-day soldiers who blasted Rock the Casbah during the Invasion of Iraq, music and war have always gone together. The Doof Warrior’s heavy metal riffs are the perfect battle music for Mad Max‘s hyper-masculine War Boys.
Why, in a film full of crazy characters and exciting moments, has the Doof Warrior become so popular? The most obvious answer is that he looks cool and he has a flamethrower. However, another reason is that we know nothing about him. For all the attention that he has received, the Doof Warrior is only onscreen for a handful of minutes and he has no dialogue. Miller and iOTA worked out an elaborate backstory for the Doof Warrior but none of it is revealed in the movie. Much like Boba Fett in The Empire Strikes Back (and before the character was ruined with Attack of the Clones), the Doof Warrior remains an enigma who can be whatever we want or need him to be.
Beyond that, the Doof Warrior is living the fantasy of everyone who has ever played air guitar or spent hours debating whether James Hetfield or Kirk Hammett is the better guitarist. Anyone who has ever taken a guitar lesson has fantasized about watching an audience go mad while listening to his music. The War Boys may be going to war but the Doof Warrior is playing the greatest concert of his life. No wonder that, even when he is in the middle of a battle, the Doof Warrior never stops playing.
So, before his legacy is tarnished by bad fanfic and tumblr overexposure, let us take a minute to raise a glass to the coolest character in the coolest film of the year, the one and only Doof Warrior.