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Taika Waititi series cancelled despite 94 per cent Rotten Tomatoes score

‘Our Flag Means Death’ is coming to an end after two seasons at Max

Kevin E G Perry
Tuesday 09 January 2024 23:18 GMT
Taika Waititi criticises Apple keyboards

Our Flag Means Death has been cancelled by HBO’s Max streaming service after two seasons.

The pirate period comedy starred Rhys Darby, Ewen Bremner and Taika Waititi.

The series, which debuted in March 2022, was well-regarded by critics and fans alike. It scored an impressive rating of 94 per cent on aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes for both professional and audience reviews.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Max said: “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.”

The spokesperson added: “We also thank the dedicated fans who embraced these stories and built a gorgeous, inclusive community surrounding the show.”

In the UK, the series is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

The show’s second season saw swashbuckling 18th-century pirate Stede Bonnet (Darby) find love with the infamous Captain Blackbeard (Waititi).

The series, which Waititi also executive produces, received widespread praise for its LGBT+ representation.

Taika Waititi in ‘Our Flag Means Death' (Nicola Dove/Max)

Last year, Waititi’s film Next Goal Wins faced early criticism over its handling of a storyline involving a transgender character.

The footballing comedy premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, and received mixed reviews from critics.

In the film, Michael Fassbender plays Dutch-American football coach Thomas Rongen, who managed the national team for American Samoa, an infamously bad sporting team who once lost 31-0 during a match against Australia.

Waititi, known for directing the Oscar-winning Holocaust comedy JoJo Rabbit and the Marvel blockbuster Thor: Ragnarok, also co-wrote the screenplay alongside English writer Iain Morris.

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One of the film’s subplots follows Jaiyah Saelua, the first transgender footballer to compete in a world cup game. Played in the film by non-binary actor Kaimana, Saelua is a non-binary trans woman who is fa’afafine, a third gender recognised in Polynesian society.

Early reviews for Waititi’s film have praised Kaimana’s performance, but many questioned the way her storyline was handled.

“Despite a lovely performance from Kaimana — who has the most dramatic material to tackle — Waititi’s treatment of gender is flippant,” wrote Esther Zuckerman in a review for IndieWire.

“Though Jaiyah is not discriminated against in her own country, Next Goal Wins highlights (and tries to get some laughs out of) her otherness and seems unequipped to handle discussions of hormones and other facets of transness.”

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