Rhys Darby and Taika Waititi in Our Flag Means Death

OFMD’s Main Queer Couple Just Topped This Fandom Juggernaut

The gay pirates have taken over!

With a little more than a day left before the season 2 premiere of Our Flag Means Death, pirate fever is extremely high. It’s hard to believe that the little (formerly HBO) Max show only sailed into our lives in March 2022. It seems like forever ago that Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby) left his life of privilege to become the Gentleman Pirate. On the high seas, he encountered the infamous Edward “Blackbeard” Teach (Taika Waititi). Unexpectedly, sparks flew between the two very different men.

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Since the infamous kiss between two pirates, OFMD has taken over in fandom communities. We love everything about this show, from the crew (it’s all about Izzy Hands) to the love between Stede and Ed—even if it results in heartbreak and tears. Just looking around the internet you can see the copious amounts of fan art and fanfiction devoted to the main couple. Their takeover is so complete that Stede/Ed just beat out a pillar of the fan fiction community in a head-to-head bracket challenge.

The people have spoken

In an effort to see which ship reigns supreme, Tumblr user @ao3topshipsbracket created a bracket challenge among the fandoms. Using the most popular ships on Archive of Our Own, spots on the bracket were filled accordingly. According to the Tumblr account’s FAQs,”Matchups were seeded according to number of works,” meaning there was a fair fight between opposing pairings. Voting for each round of matchups then opened up on Tumblr.

During the first round, Stede and Ed beat out Clarke Griffin and Lexa from The 100. The second round is where the upset took place. Stede and Ed went up against Marvel super couple Steve Rogers/Captain America and Bucky Barnes/the Winter Soldier, also known as Stucky. For those outside of fanfiction circles, Stucky is one of the most prominent Marvel pairings. Oftentimes, the only pairing more prominent is Steve Rogers and Tony Stark/Iron Man. Even before the Marvel movies, these guys were a big deal. They are everyone’s favorite couple of old men.

However popular Stucky is (or was?), Stede and Blackbeard took the win. With over 56k votes, the new guys on the block had 50.7% of the votes. That may be a marginal win over the 49.3% of voters who went for Stucky, but it speaks volumes about the popularity of the ship. The queer pirates have made their claim in our hearts and aren’t leaving anytime soon. It’s also worth noting that Stucky is not a canonical couple and only thrives because of the fan culture. Stede and Blackbeard is a canon romance that we can actually see in the show. Does that make a difference for fans?

Voting in the next round of challenges is going on now. The top fandom pairing should be announced on October 19. It will be interesting to see which ship reigns supreme.

(featured image: Max)


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D.R. Medlen
D.R. Medlen (she/her) is a pop culture staff writer at The Mary Sue. After finishing her BA in History, she finally pursued her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer in 2019. She expertly fangirls over Marvel, Star Wars, and historical fantasy novels (the spicier the better). When she's not writing or reading, she lives that hobbit-core life in California with her spouse, offspring, and animal familiars.