It’s a surprising decision given the outpouring of love the show has been steadily receiving on social media and the increasing popularity among other HBO Max content. As of the end of April, the show has reportedly spent five weeks atop Parrot Analytics’ weekly list of most in-demand shows. Even Our Flag Means Death creator David Jenkins says he’s not sure what the holdup is on making a second season official.
“It’s a rough one to not pick up on after what happened at the end of it,” Jenkins told The Los Angeles Times in early April. “I hope they figure it out. I hope they want to do more. I know everyone on the show wants to.”
In the same interview, Taika Waititi (who stars as Blackbeard and executive produces the series, in addition to directing the pilot): “I don’t know anything. I just think that they should because it makes sense. Also, I need to know what happens next. [Laughs]”
While the wait is certain to be agonizing, Jenkins and crew have alluded to things they’d like to see from the breakout show, were it to be renewed. Here’s everything we know about season 2 of Our Flag Means Death so far.
[Ed. note: As one might expect, this post gets into some spoilers for the end of season 1. Ye be warned.]
When will season 2 of Our Flag Means Death air?
No word yet! With the show not yet renewed, there’s not a lot of detail yet on when the show’s production will pick back up. In an interview with The Wrap in late April, Jenkins shared that while he had no updates, he’s just as antsy as the rest of us:
“It’s hard because of the analytics. And HBO Max. And then, you know, HBO, Max has gone through a lot. They’ve got this huge merger. People get scared for their jobs, rightfully so. And then their metrics are their own, they don’t really share. They don’t really share their viewership data even with us. It’s pretty unclear what’s going to happen.”
What happens if Our Flag Means Death gets cancelled?
As days turn into weeks of no news, fans are (understandably) starting to get anxious. After one reached out to David Jenkins on Twitter to ask if there was a plan in case of emergency, Jenkins said he had contingencies to give fans an ending they deserved.
“First step would be to see if another streamer would like a hit show that’s become a cultural phenomenon,” Jenkins replied (in an apparently deleted tweet that TV Insider quotes). “I’m told those are desirable.”
HBO Max, for its part, is still tweeting stills from the show. And Jenkins continues to share some of the outpouring of support for the show on his Twitter.
What is the vision for season 2’s plot?
Jenkins has said in interviews that nothing is written for any future seasons, but that he and the writers know what “direction [they] want to take it.” As Jenkins told Polygon earlier this year, it was the last three episodes in particular that he thought were “really working” for 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.”
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.”
What will happen to Stede and Ed in season 2?
Having broken up (in a way) at the end of season 1, the first season ends with Stede returning to pirate life 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. His final actions in the season 1 finale involve returning to the Blackbeard 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.”
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.
Where does Izzy fit into the love story?
While Stede has his work cut out for himself trying to win back Ed, his first mate might not make that easy. Having convinced 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. “[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.”
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, 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?
Given the sheer alleged number of them, 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.