Within the yr and a half because the season 1 finale of Our Flag Means Loss of life left awkward pirate captains Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby) and Edward “Blackbeard” Educate (Thor: Ragnarok and Thor: Love and Thunder director Taika Waititi) emotionally staggered and bodily separated, the present’s vocal, expressive fandom appears to have steadily grown, getting louder, extra organized, and extra excited for the second season with each passing month.
That’s loads for collection creator and showrunner David Jenkins to cope with. There was no assure that the present — which begins out as an ensemble office comedy based mostly in actual historical past, then turns right into a giddy queer fantasy romance — would discover its footing, not to mention earn the sort of engaged fan base that the majority exhibits dream of.
The primary season’s success made one significantly seen affect on season 2: The present shifted manufacturing from a Los Angeles sound stage to a way more formidable location shoot in New Zealand, which let the crew convey some significantly formidable fantasy components to the present. Simply forward of the season 2 premiere, Polygon sat all the way down to meet up with Jenkins on the followers’ affect on his season 2 planning, what he desires for the collection’ future, and why he sees Stede and Blackbeard as a pair of awkward youngsters simply beginning to mature previous the fairytale part of their story.
This dialog has been edited for readability and concision.
Picture: Nicola Dove/Max
Polygon: Essentially the most shocking factor for me in regards to the season 2 episodes critics have gotten to preview is the fast pacing. You’ve stated previously that you’re pondering of this as a three-season present, and I used to be anticipating this to be the season the place Stede and Blackbeard have separate adventures, and work their method again towards one another by the top of the season — the grimace in your face tells me that was by no means a consideration!
David Jenkins: Everybody would have been so pissed! That’s the factor about being a fan of your personal inventive work — we’re creating the present I’d wish to watch. Discovering a tool to maintain them aside — that may have simply felt like a tool. The purpose of the primary season to me is that these two individuals are studying what love is for them. Within the final episode, Stede’s ex-wife tells him what love is, after which he’s like [perky Stede Bonnet impression] “Oh! Then I’m going again!” After which Blackbeard is like [Blackbeard impression, grumbling sulky noises]. Within the final episode, he’s coping with the truth that he even made himself weak.
The second season to me is like, you might have the kiss, you determine you’re gonna run away collectively, you determine to not do it, in the end. So watching these two characters navigate one another — on the finish of the primary season, they’re 14-year-olds, emotionally. On this season, it’s extra like they’re of their late 20s. They’re like, [Blackbeard impression] Oh, man, ought to we transfer in collectively? What would that be like? Whose dwelling would we stay in, yours or mine?
Watching these two characters cope with that, on this setting, is attention-grabbing to me. It’s in regards to the work of a relationship — what does it imply to have a mature relationship? Can we wish to try this? And might we do it? Do we now have the gear to do it? That’s an attention-grabbing story to comply with the fairytale story of “We met one another and we kissed.”
The final time we spoke, you stated that the precise writing course of on season 2 would most likely change lots of your story plans. How did that find yourself figuring out?
It was a superb course of. It was a further problem capturing in New Zealand. They’re fantastic. They work shorter days in New Zealand, which is how mainly all the things ought to work. They’ll shoot an 11-hour day. Producing this in LA, or anyplace else, we may go to 16-hour days, and have all this time. And after capturing this season, I believe that’s an excessive amount of time — capturing shouldn’t go that lengthy! Taking a look at these scripts whereas we had been capturing, we had been saying “Oh yeah, this must be tighter! We have to pull this again a bit bit.”
In a present that has such a big ensemble, ensuring you’re doing everyone justice is the most important problem, after the writers’ room has wrapped and also you’re going by means of all the things. After which within the room itself, the problem of the present is servicing all of the characters, and ensuring everybody has a semblance of an arc, that each one the Muppets get one thing cool to do, and that we get to see all of our favourite Muppets. That’s the problem of the present — to inform a giant, sprawling story in little 30-minute increments, with two fewer episodes than final season. You actually need to select your pictures.
Provided that Stede and Blackbeard had been the massive breakout characters of final season, and also you’re introducing much more key characters in season 2, how did you handle that stability, and work out what everybody’s particular person story wanted?
It’s fairly natural, as a result of as we’re going by means of and monitoring everyone’s journey for the season, we’re watching the factor that holds us collectively — what stage of Stede and Blackbeard’s relationship are we in? As a result of the overarching arc is, are these guys going to discover ways to settle right into a relationship? Two individuals who run and who disrupt their relationships — what does it appear like after they attempt to commit?
Whereas we’re telling that arc, there are smaller arcs. Black Pete and Lucius sort of mirror Stede and Blackbeard’s relationship in some methods, and in some methods, they’re a counterpoint to it. After which the person crew relationships — we’re going by means of, simply attempting to say, The place am I bored? The place are we not bored?
Writing it was thrilling to us, as a result of we’re all followers of the present as we’re writing it. So it truly is simply us saying, OK, we haven’t seen this character shortly. The place are they? Let’s examine in on them. How can we dramatize what they’re going by means of on the within? Which a part of this exterior story can we use to dramatize the issues they’re going by means of emotionally?
Picture: Nicola Dove/Max
Whenever you had been writing season 1, you didn’t have an enormous, vocal fandom for the present. How did consciousness of that viewers change season 2?
It made us writing it, and everybody performing in it, designing for it, and all the things else really feel just like the wind was at our again, otherwise. Now it’s like Oh, folks know what the present is! The second season is extra overtly about romance, and extra a relationship story. The primary season, the strain of it’s like, Oh, are these guys falling in love? You’re watching that slowly construct. This season, it’s extra like, The household exists. We all know these characters care about one another.
Watching how the fandom processed the primary season was enjoyable and energizing for all of us, however on the identical time, you need to overlook them whenever you go into the writers’ room. And as I say, we’re followers too. So we’re writing issues for the characters that we like. The time period fanfic — it’s simply fic! Try to be a fan of your personal factor. Your individual writing about your personal factor ought to really feel like fanfic. It simply means you’re into it, and also you prefer it, and also you wish to see the characters in several circumstances. And the truth that folks try this at no cost, as a result of they prefer it, is simply the very best feeling. What an honor.
Are you continue to pondering you wish to do three seasons in whole? Did the method of scripting this season shift that in any respect?
I believe three could be good. I believe threes are good generally. We’re taking a look at three phases of a relationship — coming collectively, realizing you’re in love, then determining what you need to do to maintain that love, and transfer previous it. After which I believe there may be one other story to inform, the place it’s like, How do you retain that love alive? When you might have a relationship, what’s your duty to one another?
There are occasions when it’s not all the time enjoyable. You’re like Shit, I don’t know, you stopped rising and I’m nonetheless rising. I ended rising, and also you’re nonetheless rising. These are the issues I wish to see in a fantasy story about love, as a result of I believe lots of occasions, we don’t. We get this idealized model of affection. However love is figure. And I’d wish to see that in my fantasy a bit bit. I believe that’s a useful factor to see, so we don’t all suppose, Oh, I’m gonna fall in love, and that will probably be it. I’ll meet my one. It’s like, “No, motherfucker, love is figure! And it’s laborious! And then you definitely do the work, and hopefully, it really works out!”
Polygon may have extra from this dialog with David Jenkins later within the season, digging into some Our Flag Means Loss of life season 2 spoilers. New episodes arrive on Thursdays on Max.