Confederate: HBO Cancels Controversial Series from Game of Thrones Creators

Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will not move forward with HBO alt-universe Civil War drama Confederate.

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss; HBO/Jeff Kravitz
HBO/Jeff Kravitz

Confederate, a long-mooted HBO television project from Game of Thrones masterminds David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, is officially dead.

In keeping with Ned Stark’s idiom that “the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword,” HBO president Casey Bloys himself confirmed to TV Line that Benioff and Weiss’s Confederate was cancelled, thus ending years of speculation over a potential powder keg of a project. However, given an array of events occurring ever since its original pickup, one did not need to be Bran the Broken to have envisioned this outcome for the snake-bit series.

While the Confederate television project may have arrived on HBO’s backlog back in 2017 under the auspicious purview of the premium cable channel’s at-the-time invaluable Game of Thrones creators/showrunners, it was a double-take-inciting proposal that carried an air of controversy, due to its alternate-universe American Civil War setting, bearing themes rooted in slavery and racial strife that, quite obviously, would have been politically volatile in today’s social climate. As the official logline for the cancelled project read:

Confederatechronicles events leading to the Third American Civil War. It 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.”

Further Reading: Game of Thrones, Star Wars and the Showrunner Backlash

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After the project resided firmly on HBO’s backlog for a few years, Confederate’s fortunes would change by the time the Thrones train arrived at its final destination back on May of 2019. At that point, the Benioff/Weiss duo became the center of widespread scorn over – amongst other things – the arguably rushed and unsatisfying nature of the series finale; a state that would lead to a landscape shift for the duo, notably with this past October’s exit from their Star Wars film trilogy (which initially put Confederate on the backburner,) and an exit from HBO, having landed a lucrative overall deal with Netflix back in August 2019, purportedly worth around $300 million. – Consequently, opinions on the ending of Game of Thrones aside, Benioff and Weiss hardly came out of this as hard luck cases.

In the meantime, there’s still no word on what kind of project(s) Benioff and Weiss have in the works with Netflix, but we do know that the Game of Thrones television continuity will thrive, thanks to the recent confirmation of a spinoff prequel series, titled House of the Dragon, which – set approximately 300 years before the main series, chronicling the inflamed exploits of the royal House of Targaryen – is being eyed for a 2022 premiere.

Joseph Baxter is a contributor for Den of Geek and Syfy Wire. You can find his work here. Follow him on Twitter @josbaxter.