A new project from Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss titled Confederate has been announced for HBO, moving the writers from fantasy to alternative history. Back before Game of Thrones was a juggernaut television show, it was a book series by George R.R. Martin that fans and networks had long wanted to adapt. In the end, Benioff and Weiss' pitch impressed Martin so much that he personally chose them to tackle the project. When the last episode of the eighth season of the show airs, however, they'll be done with the series as new creatives work on the proposed spinoffs.
Unsurprisingly, however, the two writers won't be ending their relationship with HBO. While they've spent over a decade crafting Game of Thrones, their desire to focus on something new has put any potential spinoff in the hands of others. Instead, Benioff and Weiss will help to bring an original project to life for the network that gave them their start.
HBO have just announced that Benioff and Weiss will be executive producing and writing the original series Confederate. When it's set to appear is unclear, but they won't get to work until production on the final season of Game of Thrones begins. Joining them will be Game of Thrones producers Carolyn Strauss and Bernadette Caulfield along with Nichelle Tramble Spellman (Justified), Malcolm Spellman (Empire). Check out the synopsis for the alternative history series below:
CONFEDERATE chronicles the events leading to the Third American Civil War. The series takes place in an alternate timeline, where the southern states have successfully seceded from the Union, giving rise to a nation in which slavery remains legal and has evolved into a modern institution. The story follows a broad swath of characters on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Demilitarized Zone – freedom fighters, slave hunters, politicians, abolitionists, journalists, the executives of a slave-holding conglomerate and the families of people in their thrall.
As you can see, the project will be quite different from Game of Thrones. That said, it will take an alternative approach to real historical events, meaning the two projects will share some things in common. Like The Man in the High Castle, it will also resonate with current events. Though both slavery in the US and the Nazi Party in Germany were defeated, remnants of both remain and those periods in history continue to influence the present.
Along with the pedigree of the four Game of Thrones producers, the inclusion of producers from the critically acclaimed Justified and Empire mean the show could serve as an exciting cross-section of a variety of different prestige genre dramas. Speaking on the upcoming project, Benioff and Weiss had this to say:
“We have discussed CONFEDERATE for years, originally as a concept for a feature film. But our experience on Thrones has convinced us that no one provides a bigger, better storytelling canvas than HBO. There won’t be dragons or White Walkers in this series, but we are creating a world, and we couldn’t imagine better partners in world-building than Nichelle and Malcolm, who have impressed us for a long time with their wit, their imagination and their Scrabble-playing skills.”
Though it's unknown when production will start—and therefore end—for season 8 of Game of Thrones, the announcement of Confederate means we could easily learn more about the series before the year is it. In all likelihood, it could begin shooting as a early as next year, making a late 2018 or early 2019 premiere possible. Whatever ends up happening, we'll continue to bring you news on Confederate as it arrives.