Our Flag Means Death Season 2 is almost here, and the theories have been flying ever since the release of the first teaser trailer Aug. 30.

Just to add to the conflama and hype, I thought I’d give my five theories about what could happen this season, in order from smallest to biggest concern/reveal. Here’s hoping some of these turn out to be true.

5. Stede’s wife Mary will make a meaningful appearance

I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Mary Bonnett (Claudia O’Doherty). Last we saw her, she was happily living as a “widowed” artist with her new lover and newfound friend group of widowed, independent women. Seeing how she and Stede (Rhys Darby) are now friends instead of a loveless couple, I bet Mary will somehow help Stede and Ed along their journey of love and togetherness. I don’t know how, but we’ve already been promised surprises, right? I don’t see how a Mary cameo is off the table.

Claudia O'Doherty and Rhys Darby as Mary and Stede in "Our Flag Means Death." (Photo credit: Aaron Epstein/HBO Max)
Claudia O’Doherty and Rhys Darby as Mary and Stede in Season 1 of “Our Flag Means Death.” (Photo credit: Aaron Epstein/HBO Max)

4. Izzy Hands will get his big story arc

This isn’t really a theory as much as it is a fact that’s come straight from Con O’Neil’s mouth in this recent Vanity Fair* article.

O’Neil, who plays Ed’s long-suffering (and toe-eating) right-hand Izzy Hands, told the outlet that Izzy is going to get much more in touch with his feelings this season, and it will send him on his own journey.

“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 of that and also remember that this is fundamentally a comedy,” he said.

So in a nutshell, I think this means what we fans have already suspected–that Izzy will finally admit that he has been obsessed with love for Ed and now he must realize that his dream of being with Ed forever in the way he’d like isn’t going to happen. I also think from the trailer showing us Izzy and Stede working together that the season is going to show Izzy struggling to come to terms with Ed’s love for Stede, sees how Ed is more unhinged and reckless without Stede, and goes on a journey to find Stede and bring him back in order to save Ed’s sanity and life. This journey is going to be all about Izzy learning the art of selflessness for the person he loves, whether or not that person loves him back.

Con O'Neil as Izzy Hands in "Our Flag Means Death." (Photo credit: HBO)
Con O’Neil as Izzy Hands in Season 1 of “Our Flag Means Death.” (Photo credit: Aaron Epstein/HBO Max)

3. Susan could actually be Ching Shih

One of the new characters coming to Season 2 is Susan, described as a “mysterious merchant” played by Ruibo Qian. Clearly, Susan isn’t all she claims to be, but what if her truth is that she’s actually Ching Shih (also known as Zhen Yi Sao), who has gone down in history as the world’s most successful female pirate as well as one of the most successful pirates in history, regardless of sex. She is also described as having led the largest pirate fleet in history.

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The name “Ching Shih” kinda sounds like the name “Susan,” especially if you just take the name “Shih.” But also, it just doesn’t make sense to me that Our Flag Means Death wouldn’t include Ching Shih as a counter to both Stede’s lackadaisical approach to pirating and Ed’s hectic, manic pirating approach. If someone’s going to teach both of them the ins and out of pirating, it’s going to be Ching Shih. Also, if the show is going to include Minnie Driver as Anne Bonny, a real-life pirate, then why not go the extra mile and include the greatest pirate in history?

Ruibo Qian as Susan in Season 2 of "Our Flag Means Death." (Photo credit: Nicola Dove/Max)
Ruibo Qian as Susan in Season 2 of “Our Flag Means Death.” (Photo credit: Nicola Dove/Max)

2. The Ed/Stede reunion will happen quicker than we think

I think most fans, including me, believed initially that the Stede and Ed (Taika Waititi) reunion would be a long-simmering thing that would take the entirety of the second season to get to. But, if the feeling of the trailer is anything to go by, the reunion could come to us much faster than we thought.

It feels as if a good chunk of drama and action will actually take place with Stede and Ed in the same scene, since the ending trailer shots of Ed and Stede running towards danger look like to parts of the same scene. In other words, it looks as if they’re running towards each other as they fight off enemy pirates/navy/whatever. So if that’s true, then does that mean that there will actually be part of the season that has Ed and Stede getting past their bad blood.

The theory is basically fact now with the most recent trailer, which adds more to the storyline regarding Stede and Ed’s eventual reunion.


Executive producer Garrett Basch told Vanity Fair that the season will be one fans will thoroughly enjoy.

“It’s going to be unexpected and surprising, but also very pleasurable and satisfying for those who like the show,” he said.

O’Neil also said to Vanity Fair that the series “doesn’t follow the expected route.”

“I don’t think David Jenkins [the series’ creator] is ever going to follow an expected route,” he said. “I’d hate to drive in a car with him…I think [the fans are] going to appreciate what [Jenkins] wants. Season Two does stick to the original premise that we created in Season One, which is take it on to other levels.”

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The article also gave the hint that during Vanity Fair’s set visit, “there was a major romantic moment between two key characters.”

So with all of that said about the belief that the fans will be really energized by the series, how nothing is going to go the way we are conditioned to expect, and how there was a major romantic scene, it gives me enough to reason that Ed and Stede will not only be back together sooner in the season, but will also have many more scenes where they showcase their love to the wider pirate world.

Taika Waititi as Ed/Blackbeard in Season 2 of "Our Flag Means Death." (Nicola Dove/HBO)
Taika Waititi as Ed/Blackbeard in Season 2 of “Our Flag Means Death” (Photo credit: Nicola Dove/HBO)

1. The big worry alleviated: Lucius could still be alive

Everyone’s waiting on the mystery around Lucius’s “death” to be revealed. I, like a lot of fans, personally believe that Lucius is still alive and living in the walls of the Revenge, or saved by another pirate ship as he floated marooned in the sea. I have to believe that one of the big reveals in Season 2 will be Lucius coming back as either the next villain (a version of Ed’s sins coming home to roost), or as the survivor he is, staying low and keeping out of Ed’s sight until Stede comes back into the picture.

However, the one hitch fans might have is that in the Season 2 press release, Nathan Foad, who plays Lucius, isn’t listed in the returning cast list. But as far as I’m concerned, that still doesn’t mean anything because as we have seen in other projects with characters who must remain secret, actors can still be a part of projects with their reveal given at the opportune moment.

Case in point, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. How many times have we seen actors who weren’t listed in the official cast list pop up in the film as some surprise character? With the MCU, part of the game is guessing who will make surprise appearances in the films and TV shows.

Another example, wildly enough, Fast X. Dwayne Johnson wasn’t mentioned in any of the official releases about the film, but Johnson still showed up in the end credits as Hobbs, signaling his return to the film franchise that left his working relationship with Vin Diesel in tatters.

So in short, don’t count Lucius out yet–he just might be still alive and kicking, ready to take on Ed for throwing him overboard.

Nathan Foad as Lucius in Season 1 of "Our Flag Means Death." (Photo credit: Aaron Epstein/HBO Max)
Nathan Foad as Lucius in Season 1 of “Our Flag Means Death.” (Photo credit: Aaron Epstein/HBO Max)

What do you think will happen this season? We’ll find out together when Our Flag Means Death returns to HBO Oct. 5 on Max with three episodes. The series will also debut two new episodes weekly with the season finale airing Oct. 26.

*The interviews conducted for the Vanity Fair article were completed before the current SAG-AFTRA and writers’ strikes.

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