Controversial ‘Confederate’ Coming to HBO

The Game of Thrones show runners are no strangers to controversy, but with the recent announcement of their next project, Confederate, they may now be actively courting it.

Per HBO’s July 19 press release, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’s 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.”

There’s no doubt that Benioff and Weiss and HBO were keen to figure out what was next for the Game of Thrones team, and the fact that the answer is basically Civil War alternate-universe fanfiction is, to say the least, an unexpected decision. Not only is Confederate a hugely ambitious idea, but it’s the kind of concept that requires incredible deftness and sensitivity, a combination some are skeptical that this team and this network can pull off. Especially since they apparently have no concept of Black people on TV. Have you seen any Black folks cast in Game of Thrones?

Benioff and Weiss say they aren’t surprised by the push back to Confederate, nor are the Spellmans. But the fact that HBO granted Vulture an unusual damage-control interview following the response to the initial press release indicates that the network wasn’t quite prepared for the vehement reaction it got, which is maybe the biggest surprise of all.