Rhys Darby of Jumanji: The Next Level and Flight of the Concords has been cast to star in the new HBO Max period comedy, Our Flag Means Death. The show follows the adventures of Stede Bonnet, an aristocrat who left his life of privilege to become a pirate in the early 1700s. The show is created by David Jenkins, who created TBS’s People of Earth, with Taika Waititi serving as executive producer and will direct the pilot.
But for those worried this might interfere with Taika Waititi’s upcoming Star Wars film, Our Flag Means Death is just one of many previously announced television projects Waititi currently has a hand in. The last year has brought about announcements that Waititi is writing, directing, and executive producing two animated series for Netflix based on Roald Dahl’s Charlie and Chocolate Factory novel. In addition to that, Waititi is co-writing and executive producing Reservation Dogs for FX, and Waititi is also producing and directing the pilot for the Showtimes series, The Auteur.
HBO Max gave the series order for Our Flag Means Death back in September of 2020, well before Disney reconfirmed that Taika Waititi was working on a new Star Wars film, which he will direct and co-write with 1917 co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns. If Disney had any worries about Waititi’s packed schedule, they certainly wouldn’t have reaffirmed Waititi’s involvement in this project.
For many shows, the title of executive producer isn’t much more than an honorary title, and having Taika Waititi’s name on any of these projects could just be a way to get them more attention. For example, with Our Flag Means Death, it doesn’t seem as though Waititi’s participation will be that involving, beyond directing the pilot. Back in September, it was confirmed that Waititi would direct the pilot after he finished production on Thor: Love and Thunder, so this project has always been part of his schedule.
A recent post from entertainment gossip writer Daniel Richtman’s Patreon page gave a bit more detail about the Taika Waititi show. Supposedly the show will start filming in May of 2021 in Los Angeles and is looking to cast about a dozen male series regulars for the production. Richtman also states that there is interest in having Samuel L. Jackson appear as Blackbeard, although considering the character is also a series regular, it could be a conflict of schedules getting him on another series, in addition to Secret Invasion.
This marks the latest in many collaborations between Rhys Darby and Taika Waititi. The two originally worked together on Flight of the Conchords, the HBO series which Waititi wrote and directed for. Darby also appeared in Waititi’s vampire parody film, What We Do in the Shadows. Darby will also appear in Waititi’s next film, Next Goal Wins, which also stars Michael Fassbender, Elizabeth Moss, and Armie Hammer.
Yet there shouldn’t be any fear that Taika Waititi’s schedule is becoming too packed for him to work on the biggest film on his upcoming slate. All of these various projects he’s working on, including Our Flag Means Death, were well-known prior to Disney confirming Waititi’s involvement in the upcoming Star Wars film. Plus, Disney clearly believes strongly in Waititi, letting him direct both Thor: Ragnarok and Thor: Love and Thunder, as well as directing The Mandalorian. Even if Waititi does get too busy, it seems as though Disney would make the new Star Wars film work around his schedule.