HBO president Casey Bloys calls the contentious early announcement of the original series Confederate “misguided.” Created by showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss – who are currently hard at work on the final season of Game of Thrones – in collaboration with co-producers Nichelle T. Spellman and Malcolm Spellman, the new series takes place in a fictitious future wherein the United States is on the brink of the Third American Civil War – and slavery is still legal.
Taking obvious cues from the like-minded revisionist history series The Man in the High Castle on Amazon and The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu, Benioff and Weiss were presumably hoping to bank in on some of the most politically charged taboos and social anxieties that still grip the American psyche in their development of Confederate. But following its official announcement last week, many potential viewers have been taken aback by the new show’s controversial subject matter, prompting a response from the showrunners and producers – and now it would appear that HBO is backpedaling a bit, too.
According to EW, HBO chief Bloys responded to the ensuing backlash against Confederate during the Television Critics Association’s press tour earlier today. Taking special care not to mince words, and empathetically engage with the public’s abundantly vocal concerns, Bloys stated:
“File this under hindsight is 20/20. If I could do it over again, HBO’s mistake — not the producers’ — was the idea that we would be able to announce an idea that is so sensitive that requires such care and thought on the part of the producers in a press release was misguided on our part. [We] had the benefit of sitting with these four producers, we heard why they wanted to do the show, what they were excited about, and why it was important to them, so we had that context, but I completely understand that somebody reading the press release would not have that at all. If I had to do it over again, I would’ve rolled it out with the producers on the record so people understood where they were coming from.”
Taken at his word, Bloys definitely sounds determined that the show will be far more nuanced than it appears on paper when it finally enters into production. And if he can be believed, then maybe Benioff and Weiss will prove everyone wrong, and Confederate will be a stunning followup to their critically acclaimed work on Game of Thrones.
For some, it might be easy to dismiss the new show sight unseen based purely on the contextless nature in which the premise for Confederate was announced. Nevertheless, here’s to hoping that there’s more than meets the eye, and the series will begin to impress people as things start to come together behind the scenes.
We will keep you updated with any information related to Confederate.