Confederate, HBO’s controversial fantasy take on a very different kind of post-Civil War America, reportedly hasn’t been scrapped and is still on track from the creative minds behind Game of Thrones and (one of) Disney’s new Star Wars series.
TVLine reports that the upcoming drama, which saw a rocky public relations start with HBO’s announcement back in the summer of 2017, is still very much a part of the network's plans for the distant future, and that the show’s months-long dormancy from the news has more to do with its creators’ busy schedules than with controversy.
Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are behind the upcoming series. But since Confederate was first announced, they’ve taken on one of entertainment’s biggest challenges — crafting an all-new, post-Skywalker entry into the Star Wars mythos — making demands on their schedules that hadn’t been envisioned when Confederate was first revealed.
HBO president Casey Bloys told TVLine that Confederate doesn’t have a well-defined development timeframe, owing to the creative duo’s other big obligations. “Dan [Weiss] and David are finishing up the final season [of Game of Thrones] and then they are going to go into the Star Wars universe,” Bloys said. “When they come out of that, I assume they will come back to us.”
If that’s the case, it could be a long wait before Confederate brings its conflicts onto the small screen — but it sounds as though HBO is committed to giving the duo all the time they need. “It’s hard to say to someone, ‘You can’t go do Star Wars.’ They love it. It’s a childhood dream. They’ll go do that, remember why they love television and come back,” Bloys said.
Without enough information to truly make direct comparisons to other delicate alternate history shows like The Man in the High Castle or The Handmaid’s Tale, Confederate does seem to slot alongside such fantasy takes on socially delicate topics. The series is pitched as a post-Civil War story in which the secessionist South kept its independence, with a “Third American Civil War” on the horizon as slavery remains an integral part of the Confederacy's social order.
Back in 2017, HBO addressed the near-immediate backlash it received over its initial Confederate announcement, saying the introductory press release was “misguided” in failing to acknowledge the sensitivity that continues to surround racial relations as a topic of American public discourse.
“We heard why they wanted to do the show, what they were excited about, why it was important to them. We had that context,” said Bloys at the time. “…We assumed it would be controversial. [But] I think we could have done a better job with the press rollout.”
With so much outside work ahead for Benioff and Weiss between now and whenever Confederate might arrive, there’s obviously no urgent development window for the show — let alone a premiere date. We’ll be getting to check out the duo's most recent handiwork much sooner, though, when Game of Thrones’ 8th and final season debuts Apr. 14 on HBO.