The next HBO show from the "Game of Thrones" team will start a civil war

"Confederate", from "Game of Thrones" producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, looks like a political grenade

Published July 19, 2017 6:24PM (EDT)


HBO just released a statement confirming that "Game of Thrones" producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are already in development on their next series for the network, "Confederate." Damn if it isn't ever the hottest hot potato ever to come down the premium-cable pike.

The statement reads: "'Confederate' chronicles the events leading to the Third American Civil War. The series takes place in an alternate timeline, where the southern states have successfully seceded from the Union, giving rise to a nation in which slavery remains legal and has evolved into a modern institution. The story follows a broad swath of characters on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Demilitarized Zone – freedom fighters, slave hunters, politicians, abolitionists, journalists, the executives of a slave-holding conglomerate and the families of people in their thrall."

Got feelings? We know you've got feelings. Indeed, everybody in America is bound to get up in their feelings about this one.

It's enough to say that, 152 years after its legal abolition, slavery still remains controversial in the United States with various persons — some of them holding elected office — defending the practice. The secession of the South, as well, is still being ahistorically recast as a more well-mannered philosophical disagreement over the conflicting agendas of state and federal governments that somehow accidentally wound up sparking the bloodiest conflict in our nation's bloody history. Men in cargo shorts are still defending Confederate monuments. The National Confederate Museum will open its doors soon.

More than that, there are just as many Southerners of good will and spirit who are tired of seeing their region reduced to a single historical note. Add to that the millions of black people who are very much done watching movies or TV shows about slavery created by white people. Sure, "Confederate" executive producers Nichelle Tramble Spellman and Malcolm Spellman are Africian American — but still... damn.

“We have discussed 'Confederate' for years," say Benioff and Weiss in the statement, "originally as a concept for a feature film." They continue, "But our experience on ‘Thrones’ has convinced us that no one provides a bigger, better storytelling canvas than HBO. 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.” Scrabble? For real?

Perhaps "Confederate" will indeed be a strong, thoughtful premium-cable indictment of America's inability to confront and overcome its original sin of slavery and the resultant racial disparity that still remains. Perhaps it'll be a bunch of hot, sweaty naked people running from men in white hoods instead of zombies in white armor where rape is used as a plot catalyst and gore is played for thrills. Perhaps it will be both. Either way, anyone with a Twitter account will find a way to growl about it, commanders-in-chief included.

So, is this a good idea? Is this a bad idea? Well, it's certainly an idea — no debating that.

Production on this loaded gun in the hands of a giddy three-year-old starts after the final season of "Game of Thrones" wraps in 2018.



By Gabriel Bell

MORE FROM Gabriel Bell