As the hit television series “Game of Thrones” nears its end, creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are putting plans in motion for their next HBO creation entitled, “Confederate,” which has already triggered criticism from potential viewers.
The television hitmakers are slated to executive produce a new high-concept, drama whichcenters on events leading to the Third American Civil War. The series takes place during an alternate time period, where the Southern states have successfully withdrawn from the Union, giving rise to a nation in which slavery remains legal and has evolved into a modern institution.
Although there will be characters illustrated across both sides of the Mason-Dixon divide, including freedom fighters, slave hunters, politicians, abolitionists, journalists, the executives of a slave-holding corporation and the families of people under their control, people have still expressed their dismay.
Confidential to HBO: Nobody on here thinks #Confederate is a good idea.
David M. Perry (@Lollardfish) July 19, 2017
Benioff, Weiss and producers Nichelle Tramble Spellman (“Justified”) and Malcolm Spellman (“Empire”) were interviewedby Vulture about thebacklash and confirmed that no scripts had been written yet, in a an effort to diffuse the growing outcry.
“So everything is brand new and nothing’s been written,” Benioff said. “I guess that’s what was a little bit surprising about some of the outrage. It’s just a little premature. You know, we might f*** it up. But we haven’t yet.”
For Benioff and Weiss,”Confederate” would mark the second TV series collaboration for the award-winning twosome, aside from “Game of Thrones.”
“We have discussed’Confederate’for years, originally as a concept for a feature film,” said Benioff and Weiss. “But our experience on’Thrones’has convinced us that no one provides a bigger, better storytelling canvas than HBO.”
The pair further described, “There won’t be dragons or White Walkers in this series, but we are creating a world, and we couldn’t imagine better partners in world-building than Nichelle and Malcolm, who have impressed us for a long time with their wit, their imagination and their Scrabble-playing skills.”
Although both Nichelle Tramble Spellman and Michael Spellman say they understand the concern, they also believe that the show can be done well, which will open a door for discussion after the show airs.
“I wish their concern had been reserved to the night of the premiere, on HBO, on a Sunday night, when they watched and then they made a decision after they watched an hour of television as to whether or not we succeeded in what we set out to do,” said Nichelle Tramble Spellman.
“The concern is real. But I think that the four of us are very thoughtful, very serious and not flip about what we are getting into in any way. What I’ve done in the past, what Malcolm has done in the past, what the D.B.s have done in the past, proves that. So I would have loved an opportunity for the conversation to start once the show was on the air,” she continued.
Michael Spellman shared similar thoughts: “Me and Nichelle are not props being used to protect someone else. We are people who feel a need to address issues the same way they do, and they should at least humanize the other end of those tweets and articles.”
The show’s commitment to depicting slavery as it would have potentially been practiced in today’s tech-progressive age is one of the most problematic pieces to the “Confederate” puzzle, to those that oppose.
“Racial history in this country is a very open, sensitive wound,” said Dodai Stewart, the editor in chief ofFusion, a social-justice culture and news site.
“Nothing’s settled, nothing’s healed,” Stewart told The New York Times. “I want to believe that this will be handled sensitively. But it’s an emotional subject, and for too many people it’s uncomfortably close to the reality they already experience.”