Kicking off a TCA Q&A for Season 3 of  StarzTreasure Island prequel Black Sails, one TV critic wondered if the show’s pirates were the “terrorists” of their day.

“I take umbrage with that statement,” Ray Stevenson (who plays Blackbeard) said, pointing out that European nations at the time were “raping and pillaging and stealing from whole cultures in South America…They were decimating whole cultures under some sort of righteousness.” Pirates, he said, were just “taking a bit of loot off them. Who’s the real pirates?”

Back then, “you were what you were born to, and condemned to that,” Stevenson continued. “They were living in violent times, but they did have a structure and integrity. I’m not justifying their bloody exploits but [as a pirate], a man could pursue this life and create his station, his destiny.”

Spring
5 months
Today, people are what they are born to, and still condemned for it. Not much has changed....
5 months
today everyone’s called a terrorists

Season 3 opens in the wake of the destruction of Charles Town, with the world in fear of Captain Flint (Toby Stephens). When his campaign of terror crosses over into madness, it falls to John Silver (Luke Arnold) to locate the man within the monster. EP/showrunner Jonathan E. Steinberg this morning re-iterated Black Sails is “a story about people who are on the outside of a system,” describing the program as a vehicle by which to “de-sanitize” the pirate genre.

Check out the new trailer Starz dropped during the panel: