This Is Happening: ‘Our Flag Means Death’ Finally Renewed For Season 2 on HBO Max
HBO Max has finally, finally announced the renewal of its word-of-mouth sensation Our Flag Means Death for a second season. After months of speculation, wildly dedicated fan campaigns, and the gnashing of nervous teeth worldwide as we awaited word, the David Jenkins-created pirate romcom starring Taika Waititi and Rhys Darby is officially set to return. We did it!
Our Flag Means Death seemed like such an instant candidate for renewal that the wait has been bizarre and agonizing, even for the creatives. After a slow build in awareness, the series exploded following its masterful final two episodes, which saw Waititi’s Blackbeard and Darby’s Stede Bonnet confess their feelings and share a kiss before the finale left them in more uncertain waters. The show proved that it was a love story all along—one that also happened to be queer. A long-suffering audience used to queerbaiting, buried gays, and minor “first gay characters” broke into paeans of joy that have echoed from sea to sea. Beyond queer representation, OFMD has also won praise for its diversity, body positivity, and razor-sharp critiques of racism and colonialism. Since the March 24, 2022 finale, word-of-mouth excitement, viral social media posts, and renewed media interest have driven the show to new heights, as it became the most in-demand title on HBO Max. It has surpassed many new high-profile shows, like Marvel’s Moon Knight, as the most in-demand new TV series, period.
Despite this unprecedented upswell in popularity, there had been basically crickets from the corporate side of things in response to the show. It was abundantly clear that the network didn’t grasp the powderkeg it was sitting on in advance; initial marketing was minimal, and OFMD didn’t even have an official Twitter account until six days after the finale aired and the show was trending nonstop. HBO hasn’t been shy about quickly renewing its hits in the past, so the fact that there wasn’t an immediate renewal announcement to cap this spectacular buzz was confusing and frustrating. The Warner Media / Discovery merger likely threw a wrench into things, but still, we’ve been holding anxious prayer circles for ages here, folks. After the Warner Bros. Discovery upfronts came and went in May without mentioning the show (though some presentations featured brief images of it), the agonizing wait continued.
My most hopeful read of the situation is that the cast and creatives were busy renegotiating more lucrative contracts based on the show’s success, which can take a while. I hope this was the hold-up. There’s also the matter of wrangling schedules, especially Waititi’s, which is probably the most packed in Hollywood at any given moment. My less generous read is that HBO Max was spinning in confusion amid its own internal upheavals, deploying overpaid media analysts to explain the phenomenon, and also decided to enjoy the intense, non-stop publicity that has been generated for months by fans’ pleading for a second season. Then someone in marketing was no doubt like, “Hey, what if we waited to announce it’s coming back during Pride Month? Won’t that be clever of us! Hashtag Yay Gay!” And here we are. I’m sad to say I predicted a corporate Pride Month renewal reveal several months ago. At least there have been no rainbow pirate flags waved by HBO Max. Yet.
HBO Max on June 1st: CHEERS ME QUEERS— oj 🏴☠️🐈⬛🏳️🌈 (@breakupearring) May 30, 2022
Our frayed nerves notwithstanding, it would have been absurd for HBO Max not to renew Our Flag Means Death with the whole world still talking about it. Not to mention had HBO passed, another streamer would have snatched it up in heartbeat. You cannot buy the kind of mass fan dedication, creative outpouring, admiring media coverage, and exuberant word-of-mouth this show has generated. Studios know this, and I like to imagine there have been a lot of shouty meetings in boardrooms across Hollywood, with execs shrieking “Bring us the funny, touching, affirmingly positive queer content! The kids apparently like that!” The adults do, too. Pretty much everyone I know is obsessed with this series, and that doesn’t look to abate anytime soon.
Now our collective nightmare wait is over at last. Our Flag Means Death will be back on HBO Max. Creator/showrunner/writer David Jenkins has expressed that he sees the show as a three-season arc, so we hope this is now in our future. But if they wanted to go for, say, twelve seasons, we’d happily salute that plan of action.
(image: HBO Max)
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