Game of Thrones’ creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss new series Confederate tells of an alternate reality in which The Greys won The American Civil War in the same way The Man in the High Castle had the Nazis and Japanese winning WW2.
Taking place after not one but two civil wars, Confederate’s alternate reality offers up an intriguing conceit, especially in terms of world-building. For me, the most fascinating questions (at the moment) are:
1) Will it look like Redneck fan fiction?
2) Should two white guys be writing a show about slavery?
3) Would this have been greenlit if they hadn’t made Game of Thrones?
Yes. No and no.
So, desperately searching for one question I can perhaps write a sensible answer to… What will a world in which The South seceeded from The Union look like.
While The Man in the High Castle retconned the last seventy years, our two worlds appear much the same. A bold claim (and, of course, I’m generalising) but what I mean is Henry T. Ford still mass-produced cars, America’s roads and railroads were in place and New York’s skyline was already punctuated by skyscrapers.
Confederate will be retconning 150 years, so will the world be as advanced or will the show’s inhabitants be living a more rural, parochial life? Presumably, slavery will be rife and still legal, as will marrying your sister and whistling Yankee Doodle Dandy.
Benioff and Weiss originally planned the story as a film, but are quite rightly using Trump’s America for their zeitgeisy series in which a third civil war looms on the horizon. I’m just not sure how well-recieved a show in which slavery is legal from one guy with a Teutonic surname, the other of Jewish and Slavic ancestry will be in 2020. To solve that, Dave and Dan have hired token writers, Nichelle and Malcolm Spellman (The Good Wife, Justified, Empire)
There, I made it through a whole post without dissing Game of Thrones! The next question is whether these two “showrunners” can deliver a show worth watching without an already-written, existing franchise served up to them on a plate and a budget reaching into hundeds upon hundreds of millions of dollars. If you think that’s hyperbole – Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau each negotiated paychecks of $1.1million per episode – that’s $44 million on five actors for the shorter seasons 7 and 8!
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if the series comes to strange fruition; it can be awfully difficult to see through those little eye slits in those white robes.
Confederate will begin shooting after the final season of Thrones’ wraps so expect a 2019 debut on HBO.