HBO Orders Controversial Series

Game of Thrones fans may have rejoiced when the critically acclaimed fantasy series returned for its final season on July 16, but the biggest twist didn’t come from Westeros. The following week, HBO announced that it had ordered a full series for Confederate.


Helmed by GoT showrunners David Beinoff and D.B Weiss, Confederate “takes place in an alternative timeline, where the southern states have successfully seceded from the Union, giving rise to nation in which slavery remains legal and has evolved into a modern institution.”  The show is set to feature characters from both sides of the spectrum, including “ freedom fighters, slave hunters, politicians, abolitionists, journalists, the executive of a slave-holding conglomerate and the people in their thrall.”


The controversial series is slated to premiere sometime in the fall after GoT concludes in August. Since the announcement, many voiced their disapproval in the subject matter, calling it inappropriate and untimely. However, controversy is no stranger to Beinoff and Weiss. Game of Thrones, which is based on George R.R Martin’s best-selling novels, is known for its constant use of incest, murder and rape. Additionally, the provocative series has been scorned for its depiction of people of color, having them mostly portray slaves.

While the backlash is fresh, the idea for the show is not. Shortly after the announcement, Beinoff and Weiss said the period piece is something that has been in the planning process for quite some time. Naturally, one of the missing pieces were writers that could do the series justice.


Enter seasoned African-American writers Nichelle Tramble Spellman and Malcolm Spellman. The two, who have lent their talents to Empire, Justified and the Good Wife, are slated to join the series as executive producers and writers. In an interview with Vulture, Malcolm said the showrunners asked him and his partner to lunch where they pitched the concept, which was originally a film. The project needed “black voices” and the writing duo, who will be tackling the Taraji P. Henson-led Proud Mary, were just the right fit. After hearing them out, the Spellmans were immediately on board.


“We deal with it directly and have for our entire lives. We deal with it in Hollywood, we deal with it in the real world when we’re dealing with friends and family members,” Malcolm said. “And I think Nichelle and I both felt a sense of urgency in trying to find a way to support a discussion that is percolating but isn’t happening enough. As people of color and minorities in general are starting to get a voice, I think there’s a duty to force this discussion.”


Despite the backlash, there is no official script or a cast. It appears that the series will be put on the back burner until GoP wraps in mid-August.



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