The plot of “Our Flag Means Death” will transport audiences back to the late 17th and early 18th century, where we’ll meet Stede Bonnet (Darby), a Barbados-born aristocrat who gives up his pampered lifestyle for the rough-and-tumble world of piracy.
“Our Flag Means Death” will be loosely based on Bonnet’s adventures at sea, which means it will also involve exploring the pirate captain’s close alliance with Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard. Per Smithsonian Magazine, Bonnet became an infamous pirate on the high seas of the Eastern seaboard, as well as throughout the Caribbean, in the early years of the 18th century. What makes Bonnet such a notable figure within the golden age of piracy going on at that time, Smithsonian Magazine points out, is that Bonnet had very little sailing experience and practically no reason to take up piracy — which was seen as a “lifestyle, profession, and political cause” — other than some alleged marital problems at home. In the 1710s, Bonnet purchased a ship legally, named that ship “Revenge,” hired a crew of around 70 men, and together took up the lifestyle of pirates. The upstart pirate would seek guidance from Blackbeard and, for a brief time, aligned himself with the more notorious pirate, as the men sailed their ships together for a short time … until Blackbeard realized Bonnet was inexperienced and ineffectual, and that he could seize his ship and crew from him.
It will be curious to see which events from Bonnet’s real life make it into “Our Flag Means Death,” and it will be doubly interesting to see how Bonnet and Blackbeard’s real-life relationship plays out in fictional form through Waititi and Darby’s performances.