Charlize Theron And Tom Hardy Could Join 'Mad Max' Beyond The Thunderdome

The complete and utter collapse of George Miller's planned "Justice League" adaptation hasn't kept the filmmaker down for too long. Why should it, especially when the Australian director has more "Mad Max" adventures up his sleeve?

A fourth outing in the post-apocalyptic "Mad Max" universe has been in the works for several years with casting rumors aplenty. And DE-casting, in the case of franchise lead Mel Gibson. Today brings word of the highest-profile casting gossip to date for the looking-increasingly-likely sequel.

According to E! Online, Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron is Miller's top choice for the female lead in the untitled "Mad Max 4." Meanwhile relative newcomer Tom Hardy, star of "Bronson," is being eyed as a potential replacement for Gibson as the titular Mad Max.

Even though these actors are amongst Miller's top picks for the film, E! is quick to note that meaningful development on the project is "a long way from fruition." Additionally, the director is keeping the plot and character details for the fourth installment very close to the vest.

"Actors auditioning for the film have only been given a letter for their character's name," reports the website. "The studio has yet to sign off on Miller's choices, and no formal offers have been made."

While replacing the iconic Gibson with a less recognizable actor might not be such a bad idea, the casting of Hardy as Max would certainly be a downer for "The Hurt Locker" star Jeremy Renner, who previously advocated for a role in Miller's fourth "Mad Max."

What do you think of the potential casting news? Are you even interested in a fourth "Mad Max" without Mel Gibson's involvement? Sound off in the comments section below!