Game of Thrones fans who have been busy preparing for the end of times as the final season of the series draws nearer can finally breathe a sigh of relief - there is more to come from the show's visionaries, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. This time, however, they are taking on the complex story of the (fictional) Third American Civil War in the South - and it is sure to be just as mesmerizing as its medieval predecessor.
The show, aptly titled Confederate, is set to begin filming just as things are wrapping up with the White Walkers - but what exactly do Benioff and Weiss have in store for us?
The narrative of Confederate tackles a storyline lightly reminiscent of the GoT conflicts that viewers have watched play out over the years - but this time, it's on American soil. The primary conflict of the show follows a dystopian alternate reality in which the United States had endured not one, not two, but three Civil Wars that resulted in the secession of the South from the rest of the country and the continuation of institutionalized slavery into the 19th century.
Just how this will play out is anyone's guess, but it is sure to bring with it the fantastic imagery and gory battle scenes that GoT fans have grown to expect from the filmmaking endeavors of Benioff and Weiss.
The concept behind Confederate is a few years in the making, and it turns out that it was originally meant to be the concept behind a feature-length film. However, once the highly esteemed directors got their hands on the manuscript, they quickly realized that the complexity of the storyline would be far better played out more slowly in the living rooms of HBO subscribers. In a press release, they explained:
“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.”
The subject matter of the proposed HBO show is bringing up a fair amount of controversy, particularly with regard to the current socio-political climate of the US. Many critics are drawing attention to the unsettling details within the premise of the show, as its storyline tackles the complexities within a reality where slavery still exists, while the show Underground - depicting the struggles and successes faced by those involved in the Underground Railroad - was recently canceled.
The differences in perspective and storyline between the two shows is drastic and continues to garner significant criticism for the network as they move forward with plans for Confederate.
In the week since HBO announced Confederate, the incipient series has faced more than a small amount of public outcry. The producers and writers have attempted to answer the criticism – mostly concerned with the fact that the series is "slavery fan fiction" – but now they've been backed up by HBO programming president Casey Bloys.
During the HBO panel at the Television Critics Association press tour, Bloys acknowledged that the rollout could have been handled better: "If I could do it over again, our mistake was the idea that we would be able to announce an idea that is so sensitive and requires such care on the part of the producers in a press release was misguided." He went on to say, however, "We will rise or fall based on the quality of that material... If you can get it right, there’s a real opportunity to advance the racial discussion in America."
Looks like HBO is banking a lot on "getting it right." Let's hope they do.