After a rocky response following the announcement of Confederate, HBO programming president Casey Bloys is admitting the premium cable channel made mistakes in the project’s announcement, but is defending the decision to make the series.
Last week, HBO announced that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss — aka the masterminds behind Westeros — would be teaming up with Nichelle Tramble Spellman and Malcolm Spellman for their first Game of Thrones follow-up project.
According to the press release, Confederate, a one-hour sci-fi series, would take place in an alternate reality where the Confederates won the Civil War, seceded from the Union, and the institution of slavery continues to exists.
Backlash for the project was pretty immediate (and frankly, justified), with detractors criticizing the idea of two white men (Benioff and Weiss) spearheading the telling of a story about slavery — especially with their Game of Thrones track record. Many others questioned the *need* for a show like Confederate, considering it’s most certainly going to be painful for many people of color whose ancestry is tied to slavery.
But it seems HBO is going to take sole responsibility for the backlash.
The backlash was so intense that Benioff, Weiss, Tramble Spellman and Spellman sat down with Vulture to defend the series. Tramble Spellman and Spellman admitted to Vulture that while they understand that the material is “weapons grade” in terms of sensitivity, they feel that Confederate could spark an important discussion about race and history.
While we’re certainly apprehensive about this project, we can definitely agree that a simple press release was not the best way to unveil a show as sensitive in subject matter as Confederate. It looks like the series is at least a few years away — it won’t go into production until after the final season of Game of Thrones wraps up — so HBO and the four producers have plenty of time to seriously consider how, and if, the project will move forward.