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Everything the creator of Our Flag Means Death has said about season 2

Drink up, me hearties, yo ho!

Ed standing between Stede and a British naval officer on the deck of a ship in Our Flag Means Death Photo: Aaron Epstein/HBO Max
Zosha Millman (she/her) manages TV coverage at Polygon as TV editor, but will happily write about movies, too. She’s been working as a journalist for more than 10 years.

It’s been a long, long road to the second season of Our Flag Means Death, which was officially renewed more than a year ago, just after the first season aired. But now, it finally has a release date (ish).

The series’ return isn’t terribly surprising, given the outpouring of love season 1 earned on social media, and its increasing popularity among other Max content. When it was airing, the show reportedly spent five weeks atop Parrot Analytics’ weekly list of most in-demand shows. Season 1 ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, so even the show’s crew has expressed their eagerness to see what happens next.

There aren’t many new details about what to expect from season 2 — just enough to tantalize fans and clue us into what might be coming for Stede and Blackbeard. Here’s everything we know about season 2 of Our Flag Means Death so far.

[Ed. note: This post gets into some spoilers for the end of season 1. Ye be warned.]

Stede Bonnet blindfolded and wincing as he waits to be shot Photo: Aaron Epstein/HBO Max

When is season 2 of Our Flag Means Death coming?

According to a Vanity Fair profile from August, the new season will launch in October. No specific release date is available yet.

What is season 2 of Our Flag Means Death about?

Per the Vanity Fair report, season 2 kicks off with Stede (Rhys Darby) and Blackbeard (Taika Waititi) still separated, at least to start. Con O’Neill, who plays Izzy, teased that the season “doesn’t follow the expected route,” which, for those dying to see the pair reunited, physically and romantically, might be tough.

As for tone, Jenkins told Polygon back in 2022 that the last three episodes of season 1 were “really working” as far as what he has in mind for the show moving forward:

It’s great, the stories are really popping. There are like four different stories going on there, which to my mind is like “Eughhh, it’s a lot!” But it flows really nicely. I think the fun for me in constructing this show is to have moments that are really violent, because pirates are criminals, and moments that are really broad and genuinely laugh-out-loud funny, and then moments where we really just settle in and get to see people feel. As long as all those three things are alternating, I’m happy. One might take precedence in an episode, but if all three are there, it’s healthy and it’s working.

Of course, Waititi did tell Decider he had a complaint to raise for season 2’s costume choices: “It was all that hair and beard, I felt like no one would talk to me,” Waititi said. “It was so hot. I would sit in this little tent with the air conditioning on. I would feel lonely.”

Vanity Fair also hints at some major locale changes, noting that The Revenge (the ship Blackbeard commandeered in season 1) is returning, but there’ll be a second pirate ship as well. Additionally, there are sets for “a floating market, Stede’s cabin (empty when we visit), and the Republic of Pirates.” Plus the costuming department reportedly needed costumes for “around 150 Chinese pirates and a fleet of 100 navy officers.”

The crew of Our Flag Means Death is about to throw a tied-up Izzy over the side, but Ed has just hopped over the other side of the boat in the background Photo: Aaron Epstein/HBO Max

Is Lucius really dead?

It seems unlikely, given how much fun Nathan Foad was in the role and the general tone of the plot. But when Collider asked Jenkins, he simply said. “You got to wait.”

Upon renewal, Foad continued his reign of humor:

What will happen to Stede and Ed in season 2?

After Stede and Blackbeard broke up (in a way) at the end of season 1, the first season ends with Stede returning to his pirate companions having found peace with who he is.

“So he started to feel, obviously, physically — by being very severely wounded — and then emotionally, by finding someone that he felt love from and love toward,” Darby told Indiewire. “I think he’s heading back out to sea just because he’d never felt so alive in his life when he was practically dead. So I think he’s obviously going to look for Ed, but really the other thing he’s going to look for is getting the gang back together, getting the ship, and feeling love in whatever capacity that means to him.”

Unfortunately, he’ll have his work cut out for him, since Ed went completely the other way following their breakup. He finishes out season 1 finale by returning to the Blackbeard persona he once was, and hardening himself against the world: He cuts off Izzy’s toes and feeds them to him, maroons members of Stede’s crew he doesn’t have use for, and even lashes out violently at those he does.

“The show is the relationship,” Jenkins told Decider. “So, we end in a place where there is this breakup. What happens after a breakup between these two people who, one’s realized he’s in love and the other one is hurt in a way that he’s never been hurt before? What does that do to each of them in an action, pirate world with them trying to find each other again? So again, I really love those rom-com beats.”

Ed reaching out and touching Stede’s cheek in a still from Our Flag Means Death Photo: Aaron Epstein/HBO Max

Jenkins remains very much committed to thinking of Our Flag Means Death as a love story between Ed and Stede. But that might not mean their issues get resolved completely in season 2. He’s thinking a bit more long-term, as he told Polygon ahead of the finale:

I think three seasons is good. I think we could do it in three. I mean, I don’t know — your perception of what the story really is changes so much in the writers’ room. If it doesn’t, you’re doing it wrong. Because you’ve got all these other super-smart writers who have their own life experiences, and you talk through the season with them, and then you’re like, “Oh, man, there’s all this other stuff there.” But right now, I feel like we could probably do it in three. The thing that fascinates me about this story and makes me want to write the show is asking who is Stede to Blackbeard, and who is Blackbeard to Stede. To me, that’s the through-line that cuts across the entire series. And I don’t know that you want to see that go on for five, six seasons.

Who is in season 2 of Our Flag Means Death?

Pretty much all of the cast is returning: Waititi and Darby, of course, alongside O’Neill, Leslie Jones as Spanish Jackie, Matthew Maher as Black Pete, Vico Ortiz as Jim, Kristian Nairn’s Wee John, Joel Fry as Frenchie, Samson Kayo’s Oluwande, Ewen Bremner as Nathaniel Buttons, and Samba Schutte as Roach. Foad was name-checked in the Vanity Fair article as a love story of the series, but it wasn’t clear whether he’s definitely returning.

Additionally, the Vanity Fair profile promises some new faces, including Minnie Driver, who will be guest-starring as the real-life Irish pirate Anne Bonny, and Ruibo Qian, who will play a mysterious merchant named Susan with some goals of her own. Also joining the cast is Anapela Polataivao, along with Madeleine Sami (of Deadloch).

Where does Izzy fit into the love story?

For those who are curious about Izzy’s feelings for Blackbeard, O’Neill’s comments to Vanity Fair seem pretty telling, noting that this season was pretty “demanding” for him, as Izzy goes on a “remarkable journey” in season 2. “He understands what love is and whom he’s in love with,” O’Neill told Vanity Fair. “Physically it’s been quite demanding, and also emotionally it’s been quite demanding to be playing a man enraged by unrequited love, who’s basically a hopeless romantic, and to be able to play all that and also remember that this is fundamentally a comedy.’’

While Stede has his work cut out for him in making peace with Ed, Izzy might not make that easy, especially after persuading Ed to revert to full Blackbeard form. Izzy’s devotion to Ed’s wild side is something Jenkins says is deeply rooted in its own form of affection. And while he agrees with the idea that Con O’Neill’s Izzy is “playing the only human with a bunch of Muppets,” there’s certainly menace behind that devotion.

“I think Izzy’s deeply in love with Blackbeard, and it’s a very dysfunctional kind of love, and he’s like the jilted spouse who’s losing his man to fucking Stede Bonnet, and he can’t believe this is happening,” Jenkins told The Verge in April 2022. “[Con O’Neill] plays an exhausted quality that’s really lovely because this character could just be generically evil, and the way Con plays it is like, he’s credible. I believe that he can do some damage if he wanted to.”

Ed choking Izzy against a wall Photo: Aaron Epstein/HBO Max

Is Our Flag Means Death season 2 based on the true pirates’ story?

Our Flag Means Death is good and cheery, but Blackbeard and Bonnet’s actual history is far darker. But ultimately, Jenkins doesn’t see the show as a reexamination of the real historical record.

“You wouldn’t want to meet the real Blackbeard. The real Blackbeard was a rapist who handed women over to his crew. The real Stede Bonnet was a slave owner. When we tell these stories, we have to be clear with what we’re doing because all of these people were despicable,” Jenkins told The Verge.

“We wanted a show where these characters can exist in a fantasy world and their race or gayness doesn’t automatically lead to a traumatic storyline for them.”

Plus, as Jenkins told The Wrap in April 2022, the real ending of Blackbeard and Bonnet’s relationship was not as “generous” as season 1: “In reality, their falling out was pretty bad. And then they never saw each other again.”

Will we meet more of Spanish Jackie’s husbands?

It’s been confirmed that Leslie Jones is returning to the series, and given the sheer alleged number of husbands her character has, it seems like a sure bet. Plus Leslie Jones told TV Insider that she thinks there’s a story in how Jackie got her name: “I think it has something to do with a dude, with one of her ex-husbands or something, because I don’t think she’s Spanish.”

So maybe we’ll meet a past one, or a former-potential Mr. Spanish Jackie.

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