After finally learning the shocking, tragic story of the real man behind the terrifying facade of Captain Flint last season on Black Sails, we’re going to learn even more about him this season. But instead of diving back into his past, season three is going to focus on what kind of a pirate Flint wants to be moving forward.
“It is what happens at the back end of season two that propels him into this particularly nihilistic phase,” Toby Stephens, who plays the former officer of the English Royal Navy turned violent and feared pirate Flint, said at the 2016 TCA Winter Press Tour. “But I think that what is great about the journey of this character, and it is really a journey, is that although he goes to these depths of trying to negate his human side, he can’t really escape it.”
After losing (one of) the love(s) of his life in the season three finale, Flint is determined to become the pirate that everyone believes he already is, since his civilized past is still a secret. But Stephens revealed that he won’t be able to forget his past so easily.
“That’s his struggle, is really with himself and his own humanity,” Stephens said. “Trying to remove and isolate that from himself, he can’t do it. He’s constantly reminded that he is a human being. This particular [season] is really him finding his purpose again.”
Black Sails executive producer Jonathan E. Steinberg agreed with Stephens, adding, “If season two was about, at least in terms of Flint’s story, a guy who was at war with himself, and trying to figure out which of these two identities that both inhabit him is the one he wants to identify him with, and then you reach this end point where he decides, ‘I’m just going to be the monster everyone thinks I am,’ we wanted to the tell the story of how his humanity was going to resist that.”
He continued, “At the end of the day, part of what makes Captain Flint this tragic figure is that he is seen as this monster by everyone but himself and that there is this war going on for him to reconcile that and try to find a place for his humanity again. As we got through what became structured as an odyssey for him through the third season of a guy who went off to war and couldn’t find his way home, it became a story about him locating that humanity through people he loves who are not with him anymore and then finding a place to point this. Part of this is about, for him, trying to find meaning in the violence and in the sacrifice he’s made and a way to stand up against civilization and not have it just be nihilism.”
But a major plot point this season will be civilization’s push to take back control of Nassau from the pirates who call it home, hoping to exterminate the pirate way of life for good.
“Underlying all of this story is this idea that when they were just thieves, everyone tolerated it,” Steinberg said. “It was just factored into the way you did business in that world. When they start talking about unwinding the social order and it starts to stick, that’s when people get scared. Both of those stories are on a collision course with Flint and Teach [aka Blackbeard, played by Ray Stevenson] and Vane [Zach McGowan] on one side and the new character of Woodes Rogers [Luke Roberts] on the other, this governor who is coming in to finally stamp this down and try to make it go away and push the frontier back a little further.”
Black Sails season three premieres January 23 on Starz.