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Why Was Black Sails Cancelled? Season 5 Return Explored

Why Was Black Sails Cancelled? Season 5 Return Explored

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Pirates are great. As popular as high-seas adventures and romance are, there’s a definite shortage of swashbuckling series. Enter Black Sails, the show that taught us pirates were more than drunkards with peg legs.

For four seasons, fans followed Captain Flint in this prequel to Treasure Island. Unfortunately for fans, this exceptional series walked the plank before it could reach Season 5. With Black Sails gone, we’ll have to get our buccaneering fix elsewhere.

That said, why did such an influential show suddenly end? And on that note, is there a chance these corsairs come back for more piracy and debauchery in a fifth season? Perhaps more importantly, does the show need another season to wrap up its plot?

Black Sails Had a Perfect Ending

Black Sails will likely never have a fifth season because the show ended just as the showrunners intended. From the beginning, showrunners Jonathan E. Steinberg and Robert Levine had a clear vision of where the series was headed.

It’s a rare privilege in television to be given the kind of creative freedom we’ve enjoyed on this show over the last four years,” Steinberg noted in a 2016 interview with Deadline.

Steinberg also explained why Black Sails wouldn’t go beyond Season 4. “We simply couldn’t imagine anything beyond it that would make for a better ending to the story,” he told Deadline.

Captain Flint in a jungle in Black Sails season 4

Since the series was constricted by Treasure Island‘s plot, it’s safe to assume Black Sails ended just when it had to. With Jack Rackham setting the groundwork for the novel, all the pieces fell in place by the time Black Sails Season 4 came around.

The Finale is Open to Interpretation

Though pleasing, the Black Sails finale leaves some space for fan theories. Followers of the show have speculated about Captain Flint’s ultimate fate since the show ended in 2017. After all, we know of his final moments through Long John Silver – and he isn’t precisely a trusty narrator.

There’s a chance Flint got his happy ending. In the show, we see him reunited with Lord Thomas Hamilton. However, there’s still some debate on whether or not this happened, or if it was just a fantasy of what should have happened.

At the time of the finale’s release, online discussions made all sorts of theories about what really happened to Captain Flint. As one Reddit user points out, the showrunners seem to prefer the series’ happier ending.

Considering what we know of Treasure Island, it wouldn’t make sense for Silver to kill Flint. The novel describes Flint as dying from “alcohol poisoning” – no mention of any bullet.

Screenshot from Black Sails season 1 episode 2

Still, the mystery surrounding the finale is something that might fuel Black Sails discussions for decades. Perhaps that was the showrunners’ intention. After all, mystery is at the heart of any great pirate drama.

Black Sails Alternatives

With Black Sails over for nearly a decade, pirates have again fallen out of fashion on TV. Still, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any good alternatives to the series for swashbuckling aficionados.

In 2022, HBO debuted Our Flag Means Death, helmed by Taika Waititi. The series offers a more comedic approach to buccaneering, as seen through the lens of the Jojo Rabbit director.

While certainly not as dramatic as Black Sails, Our Flag Means Death offers a fresh look into the world of piracy. Starring Rhys Darby, the show focuses on the escapades of real-life pirate Stede Bonnet. Known as the Gentleman Pirate, Bonnet learned the ropes of plundering from Edward “Blackbeard” Teach himself.

The series takes a much more relaxed approach to history and storytelling than Black Sails. Fans of Waititi’s trademark humor will surely love this one, and for pirate lovers in general, Our Flag Means Death might be the next best thing since Black Sails ended. Be warned, though, that the HBO Max series was just canceled this past January, so it’s best to enjoy its two seasons while they last.

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Tuesday 5th of March 2024

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