There’s been a disturbance in the Force, but will the ripple effects be felt at HBO?
News that Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have inked a deal with Disney and Lucasfilm to create a new Star Wars trilogy is raising questions about their in-the-works HBO drama Confederate. Basically, can they do both? Benioff and Weiss will also be credited as EPs on the five potential Game of Thrones spinoffs now in development at HBO, but the duo were poised to be far more hands-on with Confederate. An HBO rep declined to comment.
Confederate, an hour-long, sci-fi drama that envisions an alternate, post-Civil War world wherein “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,” was plagued by controversy from the moment it was first announced over the summer. Critics bristled at the idea of two white men — who have already come under fire for their portrayal of race (or lack thereof) on Game of Thrones — heading up a show about slavery.
HBO’s programming president Corey Bloys conceded in July that the network essentially botched the announcement. “If I could do it over again, [it was] HBO’s mistake, not the producers’,” he said. “The idea that we would be able to announce an idea that is so sensitive and requires such care in a press release was misguided on our part. We heard why they wanted to do the show, what they were excited about, why it was important to them. We had that context. But someone reading the press release did not. We assumed the response. We assumed it would be controversial. I think we could have done a better job with the press rollout.”
Confederate‘s creative team also includes two prolific African-American writer-producers: Nichelle Tramble Spellman (The Good Wife) and Malcolm Spellman (Empire).
Benioff and Weiss are currently in production on Game of Thrones‘ final season.