David Benioff and D.B. Weiss caused outrage on Twitter this week when the first details of their new show Confederate were revealed. The Game Of Thrones showrunners will follow up their hit HBO show with a new show for the network set in an altered future in which the South ceded from the Union during the Civil War, and slavery is still legal.
The pair rarely give interviews but spoke to Vulture in response to the online reaction to the show, which is not yet written and has no confirmed transmission date. They chatted alongside Confederate executive producers Nichelle Tramble Spellman and Malcolm Spellman, who are black and have worked on The Good Wife and Empire respectively.
Explaining the origins of the idea for the new show, Weiss said he and his creative partner are both "history nerds" and had become interested in the idea of alternate timelines after reading a history of the Civil War written by Shelby Foote.
Weiss could not specify why this timeline interested him but added that they are "hyper aware" of the sensitivity of the subject they are tackling and that it will be "dealt with in very, very different ways" to the fictional world of Game Of Thrones. As noted at the time of Confederate's announcement, a lot has been written about Game Of Thrones and its dubious race politics.
Malcolm Spellman, meanwhile, was better able to articulate why he was keen to take on the project. "What people need to recognize," he said, "is the shit is alive and real today. I think people have got to stop pretending that slavery was something that happened and went away. The shit is affecting people in the present day. And it’s easy for folks to hide from it, because sometimes you’re not able to map it out, especially with how insidious racism has become. But everyone knows that with Trump coming into power, a bunch of shit that had always been there got resurfaced. What they need to be imagining is how fucked up things are today, and a story that allows us to now dramatize it in a more tangible matter."
Game Of Thrones is scheduled to end in 2018. Confederate will go into production shortly after.