Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional information shared following the initial news.
The critically-acclaimed (and Popverse-darling) comedy Our Flag Means Death has been canceled after two seasons on Max. To add insult to injury, in a statement provided to The Hollywood Reporter (followed by a more personal message from co-creator/showrunner David Jenkins), it's been made clear that its not feasible for the show to be shopped around to other platforms, as some shows have tried and done over the years.
"[Our Flag Means Death] won’t be returning for a third season," Jenkins wrote on Instagram. " We’ve sailed at the pleasure of the fine people at Max, and it brought them no joy to see this journey come to a premature end. [Max executives] Casey Bloys, Sarah Aubrey, Suzanna Makkos, Billy Wee, and David Ruby have been incredible champions of this show. They allowed us to make something authentically weird and heartfelt, cheering us on the entire way."
Jenkins calling the cancelleation "premature" harkens back to statements he's made about hopes (and ideas) he's had for a third season. However, that's been counter to co-creator/former main actor Taika Waititi, who recently said he felt his time involved with the show had reached its "natural end."
“I love the show so much and maybe it can survive without Rhys and I. Maybe, I don’t know," Waititi said in November 2023 to Consequence TV.
At the time, Jenkins commented on Waititi's availability being a factor for the show's future.
“[If we get a third season,] I feel like that’s about as long as you can hang on to somebody who’s directing 50 things at once.”
When Waititi was asked directly about the possibility of third season of the show, again back in November 2023, it was reportedly that his initial response was “Have you seen the end?”
However following news of the show's cancellation, Jenkins made it a point to say on social media that "Taika was fully on board and behind a S3 😘. Dude’s the best."
Business-wise, you can begin to see how Our Flag Means Death isn't an easy thing for Warner Bros. Discovery to do. As the company has turned away from plans to make numerous shows exclusive to its streaming service Max, Our Flag had limited sales for non-US airings and didn'y seeminyly justify the expense of doing a home video release as it does some of ots other streaming shows. Add to that the rising costs with a show as it enters the third season - a factor which we believe had already led to a lower order of episodes for season 2 - and co-creator/co-lead actor Taika Waititi seemingly seeing season 2 as the "natural end" to his and Rhys Darby's on-screen roles on the show, and it's not the biggest surprise that Warner Bros Discovery has balked at doing more.
“While Max will not be moving forward with a third season of Our Flag Means Death, we are so proud of the joyous, hilarious, and heartfelt stories that creator David Jenkins, Taika Waititi, Rhys Darby, Garrett Basch, Dan Halsted, Adam Stein, Antoine Douaihy, and the entire superb cast and crew brought to life," reads an unsigned statement from Max provided to THR. "We also thank the dedicated fans who embraced these stories and built a gorgeous, inclusive community surrounding the show."
With Warner Bros Discovery leaning more and more into creating shows, but selling off rights to other platforms as it's done with Sandman (on Netflix) and Batman: Caped Crusader (on Amazon), it's possible that this cancelation is due more to Warner Bros Discovery being unable to recoup costs while relying on Max streaming exclusively, and not being able (or willing) to license this show out for another platform in exchange for a set fee.
"We’ve spent two seasons in a bizarre, beautifully-rendered world populated by some of the greatest actors and creatives working," Jenkins wrote in his Instagram post. "And the second season was made possible by the enthusiasm of one of the most likable fan communities in the history of this medium. Your voices made a difference, your art made a difference, your viewership made a difference in securing more Our Flag. Getting to share this show with you and watching you make it yours has been a dream come true."
...Now, how soon can we begin talking about a reunion special or a movie?