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The final act of 2015's Mad Max is concerned with a race back to the citadel, where Furiosa and her party remark that as all war parties are out hunting, the Citadel is relatively undefended, with only "Joe's war pups and a handful of War boys too sickly to fight" left behind.

Max, Furiosa, the Vuvalini and the Breeders seek to punch through enemy lines and make it back to the citadel first, to claim it... but why?

How would they hope to defend the sanctuary against the remainder of the war parties, albeit with their leadership removed?

By their own distinction, the Citadel remains defenceless. The Vuvalini are wiped out in their entirety and Max abdicates, leaving only a near death Furiosa to defend the Citadel?

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The 3 leaders of the clans are all dead. Furiosa essentially becomes the new leader upon her return with the full support of the 'milking mothers' and the entire population of war pups and 'commoners' supporting her. In addition, as far as I can tell, once you're back 'in' the citadel, you have complete control as the only access is via the raised platforms.

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    Agreed. To hopefully further this explanation, the Citadel in-and-of-itself is self contained. You have food and water. Once inside, you are protected by what the Citadel is, therefor the Citadel protects itself. Having the platform is the key to having that protection. Furiosa is not Joe, or even an Aunty Entity, for that matter. She is a fair minded person who is tough and will rule to rebuild a new Vuvalini. Everyone left behind at the Citadel will follow her to the ends of the Earth ... well, they are at the end of the Earth, aren't they? – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Sep 5 '15 at 15:14
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The leaders of the Citadel, Gas Town, and the Bullet Farm have all died. When Max planned to go back, the idea was to collapse the only passage way. By destroying the bulk of the war parties, and the only way back, they would ensure that there would be no one to hurt them. The canyon was far enough that the remains of the war boys couldn't walk back. The canyon prevented them from driving over. And the collapsed rock bridge was too much for them to clear manually, unlike the first time.

The Citadel itself can't easily be climbed, as the Mothers noted earlier, but in the Prequel comics, that is how Immortan Joe's gang first took over the Citadel, by a small party climbing up.

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