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‘Our Flag Means Death’ Cast Talks Queer Representation and Teases Season 2

Talk it through as a crew!

Vico Ortiz as Jim in Our Flag Means Death

Though it may be hard to believe, it’s already been over a year since HBO Max’s sleeper hit Our Flag Means Death sailed onto streaming and surprised viewers with its heart, humor, and tender queer romance. The unlikely pirate dramedy quickly found a sizable and loyal online fanbase, which has led to a bounty (pun intended) of fan art and a thriving online community in which the show’s stars frequently connect with fans.

This past weekend, three of Our Flag Means Death‘s stars—Vico Ortiz (Jim), Samba Schutte (Roach) and Kristian Nairn (Wee John)—attended Chicago’s C2E2 and took part in the “As a Crew” panel, which gave fans the chance to ask questions as well as a get a taste of what they could look forward to in season two.

Following a pre-show that included fans belting Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” (a song that featured at a crucial moment in season 1), Nairn, Schutte, and Ortiz (the latter dressed in a spot-on Izzy cosplay) took to the stage for the first moderated portion of the interview. Unsurprisingly, a significant chunk of the panel’s runtime was devoted to discussing Our Flag Means Death’s avid queer fanbase—not only does the series itself prominently feature several canonically queer characters including Stede, Ed, Black Pete, and Lucius, but the show is also one of the few to feature a prominent nonbinary character: Ortiz’s no-nonsense assassin/pirate Jim. The C2E2 panel took place just a day after Ortiz was named the winner of a GLAAD award for their Spanish-language interview on Primer Impacto, a prominent global news program.

Ortiz opened up about the impact of the interview and their pride in taking home the win. According to them, Primer Impacto was one of the early news shows they recalled watching as a child in Puerto Rico, so to be featured in a segment of their own was a major accomplishment. Not only that, but later in the Q&A portion of the panel, a fan used their turn at the mic to thank Ortiz for the interview, and for using their platform to promote inclusive Spanish and nonbinary visibility in non-English speaking communities. On their GLAAD win, Ortiz shared:

“I grew up with this show, you know. This would show all the time in my household between telenovelas. My grandma watches this, my aunts and uncles, my family … a lot of households have access to this show and know that I was able to promote the show and then use Jim as a way to segue into ‘this is who I am’ and ‘we’ve always existed’ … It was really wonderful to have access to that and to have the support of the network and the show. It was wonderful—people were like ‘Oh my gosh my grandma saw this and was like, “You’re not the only nonbinary!”‘”

The moderated segment of the panel ended with an (if you ask me, cruel) April Fools’ Day prank from Samba Schutte, who joked that he had brought the Our Flag Means Death season two teaser for fans to enjoy. Of course, it was just a harmless tease for the holiday, but that certainly wasn’t the only time that season two came up in the panel. Though we didn’t get any major spoilers, the cast did drop a few hints about what kinds of emotional arcs to expect from their characters in season two. When a fan asked the panelists to spoil season two without spoiling season two, Schutte was quick to respond: “Oh there’s drama.”

“Sooooo much drama,” Ortiz jokingly added, “So much love as well. Lots of love.”

The panelists volleyed jokingly for a bit about how tight-lipped they had to be about avoiding spoilers (Nairn in particularly seemed very nervous about making sure they didn’t let any details slip), and Schutte did eventually add, “It’s loving drama, and heartbreak. Heartbreaking in the most beautiful way you expect this show to be. Beautifully heartbreaking. Prepare to have a tissue when you watch it”.

For those interested in catching the full panel, “As A Crew: The Crew of Our Flag Means Death” can be viewed in its entirety by those subscribed to Popoverse, or found in pieces on sites like Youtube or Twitter.

(featured image: HBO Max)

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Lauren Coates (she/her)is a freelance film/tv critic and entertainment journalist, who has been working in digital media since 2019. In addition to her writing at The Mary Sue, her other bylines include Nerdist, Paste, The A.V. Club, and The Playlist. In addition to all things sci-fi and horror, she has particular interest in queer and female-led stories. When she's not writing, she's exploring Chicago, binge-watching Star Trek, or planning her next trip to the Disney parks. You can follow her on twitter @laurenjcoates.