Before you groan about another literary adaptation of sorts, you can breathe a sigh of relief that Starz's Black Sails (which premieres tonight) will not be another Hollywood exploited failure. In a time where audiences are fed endless adaptations of novels, only a few are successful. See: The Harry Potter franchise and most recently, The Hunger Games trilogy.
But enough of that tween shit. Black Sails is influenced by Robert Louis Stevenson's classic adventure tale, Treasure Island, often revered as one of the great coming-of-age novels despite, you know, being about pirates. The new Starz series will work as a prequel to Stevenson's work, and add in a few well-known real-life pirates of days past just for kicks.
Before you get watchin', here's our crash course on Black Sails characters your high school English teachers should've already taught you about. (Plus, a spotlight on a couple new characters that have been added to up the ante.)
1. Captain Flint (Toby Stephens)
Flint's got enough charisma to rival Captain Crunch, except he's also one of the most feared pirates in literary history because of his heinous crimes against fellow crew members. Essentially, he eats pieces of shit like you for breakfast.
2. John Silver (Luke Arnold)
Contrary to popular belief, Silver isn't the owner of a chain of fast food restaurants. Rather, in the book, he becomes the ship's quartermaster, second in command, after Flint picks up the ex-sailor. Before the glory, i.e. on the show, he's just a pirate. The two take daggers to each other's throats, but ultimately team up to find the treasure.
3. Billy Bones (Tom Hopper)
A far cry from the old man portrayed in Stevenson's novels —dude looks like a J.Crew model rubbed in dirt for chrissakes!—Billy Bones is thought to be next in line for quartermaster. His loyalty to the pirate lifestyle will come into question as the young mind gets tangled up in Flint's malicious plans.
4. Captain Charles Vane (Zach McGowan)
Although he's new to Flint's world, Vane did exist in real life. He rolled deep with the infamous Blackbeard, among others. In the show, he's expected to be the next pirate captain of New Providence Island, causing problems for Flint, who wants to take over Nassau, a pirate port on the island. It's not impossible, the short-tempered dude's already got endless booty.
5. Rackham (Toby Schmitz)
Though he's an addition to the fictional story, Rackham's character, quartermaster to Captain Vane, is a nod to the very real pirate known as "Calico Jack". He's the brains in the relationship, but he can be more threatening than the captain himself. Real life Rackham eventually overthrew Vane. Jack's got your back, alright.
6. Anne Bonny (Clara Paget)
Aesthetically, she's basically Jack Sparrow, if Jack Sparrow had a vagina. She's Rackham's beau and Vane's henchman on the show. In reality, she was only Rackham's mistress, since she met him when he was captain. After being imprisoned, the Irish pirate mysteriously disappeared with no records of an execution or release. The ultimate Houdini.
Bonus New Characters:
Eleanor Guthrie and Max (Hannah New and Jessica Parker Kennedy)
As sole heir to her dad's riches, black marketer Eleanor must handle her father's unfinished business with the pirates in Nassau while balancing the possible love triangle that is her girlfriend, Max, a badass French prostitute, and former flame, Vane.