Taika Waititi’s New Show Has Blown Marvel’s Popularity Out of the Water

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taika waititi as antonie in free guy

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Marvel’s latest original series Moon Knight on Disney+ starring Oscar Isaac as Marc Spector/Steven Grant/Moon Knight, is taking Marvel fans into uncharted territory. Moon Knight is a big hit with critics and audiences, but to the shock of many fans, Taika Waititi’s new show on HBO Max – Our Flag Means Death – has been beating Moon Knight.

Related: Oscar Isaac Won’t Be A Marvel Super Hero Anymore

Oscar Isaac as Moon Knight being impaled by spears
Credit: Marvel Studios

Moon Knight explores the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s expanding mythology and introduces the Egyptian Gods of the Marvel Universe, the Ennead, and focuses on a character who has Dissociative Identity Disorder and the MCU’s first official Jewish Avenger. After three episodes, the show stands on Rotten Tomatoes with an 87% critics score and a 94% audience score.

There are still three more episodes of the new thriller from Kevin Feige’s Marvel Studios. But Forbes has shared a report that Marvel’s dominance in streaming demand has been toppled, saying:

“Our Flag Means Death, the HBO Max pirate comedy that Parrot lists as its most “in demand” series even two weeks after its finale. Even more impressive is that it has been able to hold off a new Marvel challenger, Moon Knight, even as Moon Knight demand itself has surged 64% week over week.”

Related: Marvel Series Hides Mind-Bending Twist In Plain Sight

Steven Grant with the gun in the van in Moon Knight
Credit: Marvel Studios

Forbes also clarified that:

“The way Parrot calculates things this does not necessarily mean that viewership for Our Flag is higher than Moon Knight, as other things are taken into account like social media chatter, where Our Flag is hugely dominant as fans scream to get it renewed for a second season and post fan art all over Twitter and TikTok.”

If you have not been watching the new pirate comedy on HBO, drop what you’re doing right now and get to it. It stars Thor: Ragnarok and Thor: Love and Thunder director Taika Waititi as Edward Teach/Blackbeard and Rhys Darby (voice Coran Smythe from Voltron: The Legendary Defender) as Stede Bonnet/The Gentleman Pirate.

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What is Our Flag Means Death?

Full Cast Poster for HBO's Our Flag Means Death Starring Taika Waititi and Rhys Darby
Credit: HBO

The show takes place in the 1700s and follows a group of misfits and somewhat inept pirates as they sail the seas in search of adventure. Our Flag Means Death features an incredibly diverse cast, which despite Marvel’s promises, the MCU has failed to deliver on at this level.

It has unlocked a fervent fanbase. Our Flag Means Death has taken social media by storm since the end of its first ten-episode season. Fans have started petitions on Twitter campaigns under the hashtag #renewOurFlagMeansDeath to get HBO to renew the show for a second season.

(Left) Taika Waititi as Edward Teach/Blackbeard and (right) Rhys Darby as Stede Bonnet/The Gentleman Pirate on HBO's Our Flag Means Death BlackBonnet
Credit: HBO

HBO, which has not renewed the series, describes Our Flag Means Death as:

“From creator David Jenkins comes the Max Original OUR FLAG MEANS DEATH. The comedy series is loosely based on the true adventures of Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby), a pampered aristocrat who abandoned his life of privilege to become a pirate. The series also stars Academy Award winner and Emmy-nominated Taika Waititi as “Blackbeard,” history’s most feared and revered pirate. In addition to Darby and Waititi, the ensemble cast includes Nathan Foad, Samson Kayo, Vico Ortiz, Ewen Bremner, Joel Fry, Matt Maher, Kristian Nairn, Con O’Neill, Guz Khan, David Fane, Rory Kinnear, Samba Schutte, Nat Faxon, Fred Armisen and Leslie Jones. OUR FLAG MEANS DEATH is executive produced by Waititi, who is also directing the pilot, alongside showrunner David Jenkins, Emmy-nominated producer Garrett Basch, and Dan Halsted.”

The main plot of the viral series involves one of the most ruthless pirates, Blackbeard, becoming unlikely friends while the aristocrat Stede Bonnet, who dreamt of becoming a pirate despite having no talent for it. The chemistry between the two New Zealand actors elevates the show as they eventually form a deeper relationship. And fans are rabid to see what will happen with the opposites-attract couple in a hopefully second season.

Related: Marvel Actor Gets Arrested, MCU Future Up In the Air

Why is Moon Knight not in high demand?

Oscar Isaac as Moon Knight
Credit: Marvel Studios

Moon Knight could be failing to stay in demand as critics have pointed out that many of Marvel’s new original series has struggled with pacing and consistency. Moon Knight follows a brand-new character in the Marvel Multiverse, unlike WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, and Hawkeye, which all followed characters fans met on the big screen.

It is also leading into a much bigger Marvel release, with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness coming to theaters in a couple of weeks on May 6, 2022. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, it is one the most highly anticipated films in a year where Marvel may have finally oversaturated its fanbase.

Moon Knight also has drawn backlash by playing coy with Marc Spector’s heritage, accusations of “propaganda,” and other Marvel stars like Simu Liu (Shang-Chi) calling out bad “Mandarin.”

Related: Hammer Falls on MCU’s ‘Hawkeye’ as Marvel Confirms Series Is No More

Oscar Isaac in 'Moon Knight'
Credit: Marvel Studios

Moon Knight’s currently streaming on Disney+. Directed by Mohamed Diab and co-starring Ethan Hawke as Arthur Harrow, May Calamawy as Layla El-Faouly, and F. Murray Abraham voicing the Egyptian Moon god, Khonshu. The official description of the series from Marvel reads:

“Moon Knight follows Steven Grant, a mild-mannered gift-shop employee, who becomes plagued with blackouts and memories of another life. Steven discovers he has dissociative identity disorder and shares a body with mercenary Marc Spector. As Steven/Marc’s enemies converge upon them, they must navigate their complex identities while thrust into a deadly mystery among the powerful gods of Egypt.”

Have you seen Taika Waititi’s new series Our Flag Means Death yet, and do you like it more than Moon Knight?

You can stream Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow and the six series in Marvel’s Phase Four so far — Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany’s WandaVision, Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, Marvel’s What If…?, Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, and Oscar Isaac’s Moon Knight — on Disney+ anytime.

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