In such divisive times, you’d think HBO would have been extra cautious and sensitive about announcing a show like Confederate, which imagines an alternative history in which the South successfully seceded from the United States, and where slavery is still legal in modern times.
Alas, that wasn’t the case upon the show’s initial announcement, and the whole #NoConfederate movement blew up on Twitter. But while Confederate doesn’t sound like it’s going to get negated anytime soon, the network is now acknowledging they “screwed up in an important way.”
That’s according to HBO CEO Richard Plepler (via Deadline) while speaking at the Vanity Fair summit yesterday, as he tried to better explain the network’s continued support for Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’s upcoming series. He went on to say that Confederate will be “showing what we call the thin line, the thin veneer of civilization – that’s what we were meant to explore. Where we screwed up was we tried to explain a complicated subject in a press release in three paragraphs.”
So the network isn’t even close to backing down, just asking for a bit more leniency from people who are understandably upset about the show’s disturbing premise. Which perhaps the forthcoming show deserves, judging from Weiss and Benioff's past accomplishments, as well as those of their African-American co-EPs, Nichelle Tramble Spellman and Malcolm Spellman.
Plepler also points out that HBO has a body of work to point to, which should help assuage fears of them mishandling the subject matter.
“We have a long tradition through our documentaries, through our film, of trying to bring the capacity of people to see other people in a more profound way to the table, and we use our documentaries and our films to try to do that. Creative producers have always known that was part of our way, and that’s why they come to us to do that.”
We’ll have to wait and see how it’s all handled, as Confederate won’t go into production until after Game of Thrones wraps next season, and isn’t expected to air for at least two years. Will you be watching when/if it finally does?