HBO Officially Nixes ‘Confederate,’ Benioff & Weiss’ Slavery Drama

     January 15, 2020

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During the middle of Game of Thrones, executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss announced their upcoming HBO follow-up: Confederate, an alternate-history sci-fi series positing a future where the South did not lose the Civil War, and slavery still exists as an institution in modern day America. This idea is, as you are undoubtedly feeling based on your increased heart-rate and sweaty brow, incendiary at best and tasteless at worse — particularly coming from two white, male showrunners whose show was often derided for its poor depictions of women and POC. Since then, the two have moved on to different projects and deals, including a now-aborted Star Wars trilogy and an overall deal with Netflix. So what did this all mean for Confederate, the show absolutely no one was asking for? Was it dead?

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Image via Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Unofficially — yes. All of Benioff and Weiss’ moves more-or-less confirmed the show’s lack of a future, alongside several cryptic statements. But it still never got an official axe until now. According to TVLine, HBO president Casey Bloys has officially confirmed the ending of Confederate. The series is done, before it had a chance to make us all cringe and ponder the unfortunate politics of representation in Hollywood. This is, I think, a Good Thing. Despite the creative team’s attempts to explain why their show was necessary, alongside the hiring of black writers like Nichelle Tramble Spellman (The Good Wife) and Malcolm Spellman (Empire), it feels like this series would never escape its initial controversies, and it feels like Benioff and Weiss would never escape their less-than-sterling reputations for non-problematic representations and, frankly, storytelling skills.

In the meantime, if you’re still interested in watching an HBO-produced, genre-leaning examination of America’s complicated, volatile relationship with POC, might I kindly suggest forgetting about Confederate and watching Watchmen? And if you’re still interested in watching an alternate history horror project about what would happen if slavery still existed in modern America, squarely from the perspective of POC, how about the Antebellum trailer?

For more on the dynamic duo of Benioff & Weiss, TV producers at large, here’s intel on their Lovecraftian horror flick coming to Warner Bros. Plus — did you know they directed Leslie Jones‘ newest stand-up special?

Television