Our Flag Means Death cast tease LGBTQ+ storylines ahead of season 2 release

Rhys Darby as Stede (L) and Taika Waititi as Blackbeard (R) in Our Flag Means Death.

Everyone’s favourite gay pirate series Our Flag Means Death returns to Max this October for season two – and with more LGBTQ+ action than ever.

Since it first aired in March 2022, Our Flag Means Death has developed a devoted LGBTQ+ fanbase. The historical comedy-drama, created by David Jenkins, follows the shenanigans of aspiring 18th century pirate Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby) as he joins Captain Blackbeard’s (Taika Waititi) chaotic crew on the high seas.

Most importantly, the series does not shy away from portraying a range of LGBTQ+ relationships and identities. This includes the heartwarming romance between Stede and Blackbeard; the shipmates embracing their fellow pirate Jim’s non-binary identity (played by non-binary actor Vico Ortiz); and the heart-warming trope of found family, which is one of the show’s central themes.

So, naturally, fans are ready for brand new episodes filled with wholesome queer hijinks. In an exclusive interview with Vanity Fair – which also provided our first look at the highly-anticipated second season – cast members Con O’Neill and Ortiz hinted at what’s to come.

Con O'Neill as Izzy Hands.
Con O’Neill as Izzy Hands. (Max)

O’Neill, who plays Blackbeard’s devoted second-in-command (and likely unrequited lover) Izzy Hands, told the publication that Izzy “goes on a remarkable journey” in the upcoming season.

“He understands what love is and whom he’s in love with,” O’Neill said. “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.”

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It looks like choppy waters are not the only difficult thing Izzy will have to navigate in season two – O’Neill says the new series treads a fine line between tragedy and comedy.

“We’re almost operatic in our darkness at times, and then we swing back to the sweetness of the simplicity of the love of our two guys. It’s been challenging just to get the tone right,” O’Neill explained. He later encouraged fans to trust Jenkins’ vision which takes the show “to other levels”.

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Meanwhile, Ortiz promises many more iconic moments are in store for our beloved swashbuckling pirate, Jim. “Jim really evolves in season two,” they shared.

“They’re a bit more chatty and a bit more conversational … Most of the first season you see Jim in disguise, hiding, but in this one you see them a bit more [thinking] ‘Oh, this is my chosen family, and I feel good.’ There’s a bit more zaniness and a bit more softness.”

Ortiz went onto praise the “beautiful” community LGBTQ+ fans have built through the show.

Vico Ortiz as non-binary pirate Jim.
Vico Ortiz as non-binary pirate Jim. (Max)

“It’s about creating spaces where we feel safe and seen,” Ortiz added. “And it’s so great to see that so many people watch the show and feel validated in their experiences, whatever that may be.

“A lot of people that watch the show are like, ‘Yeah, I’m a guy and it’s good to see all these dudes being vulnerable.’ We can just shake up [ideas about gender].”

Executive producer Garrett Basch admitted the fan reaction “made a lot of sense” since the explicit LGBTQ+ content in Our Flag Means Death is filling a much-needed gap in the TV industry.

For many LGBTQ+ viewers, TV shows are falling short of explicit representation, such as Netflix’s Wednesday where fans hoped there would be a romance between the eponymous character and her roommate Erin.

There’s also frustration that shows featuring LGBTQ+ lead characters, such as Amazon Prime’s A League of Their Own and Disney+’s Willow, were cancelled before they could become established.

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“The mainstream aren’t delivering that promise or that setup, and we have. That’s really why the fans have gone wild for it,” Basch concluded.

Our Flag Means Death season two comes to Max this October.

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