HBO's Confederate Showrunners Respond To Backlash Over New Series


After dealing with a very angry Twitterverse, HBO has responded to its most recent controversy. No, not the one involving Ed Sheeran, but rather it's new series Confederate. After many took to the web criticizing Game Of Thrones showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff for making their next project an alternate reality where slavery still exists in modern America, co-executive producer and writer Nichelle Spellman has this to say in response:

I do understand their concern. I wish their concern had been reserved to the night of the premiere, on HBO, on a Sunday night, when they watched and then they made a decision after they watched an hour of television as to whether or not we succeeded in what we set out to do. The concern is real. But I think that the four of us are very thoughtful, very serious, and not flip about what we are getting into in any way. What I've done in the past, what Malcolm has done in the past, what the D.B.s have done in the past, proves that. So I would have loved an opportunity for the conversation to start once the show was on the air.

Nichelle Spellman, who along with the Game Of Thrones showrunners as well as her husband Malcolm Spellman are working on the new project, want to assure fans that Confederate is more than just a fantasy of modern day slavery. While many were quick to react to the fact the two white Game Of Thrones showrunners, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff were at the lead of this project, a few glossed over the fact that the Spellmans, who are African-American, are partners in the project and heading up things as well. Adding to his wife's statement to Vulture, Malcolm Spellman reminds critics of Confederate to remember the two writers are not "props," for the series to hide behind, but rather actual people wanting to address issues in the same way that some of their recent critics do.

Having said that, all showrunners involved with Confederate expected the response to the project to be volatile as far back as when all four sat down to discuss the concept of the series. Malcolm Spellman referred to the idea as "Weapons grade-material," and while the couple joked prior to the meeting they would be involved in a "Black Game Of Thrones spin-off," both were excited and nervous to jump in upon hearing the idea behind Confederate. Both the Spellmans see the series as a way to spark conversation, although as they mentioned, they would rather that conversation begin after people watch the first episode.

While it's likely Game Of Thrones showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff would've caused controversy announcing no matter waht, this announcement came shortly after Star Wars actor John Boyega made headlines outing the show for it's lack of black representation. Not that Boyega was the first to do so as others have done so in the past, but his statement gained quite a bit of traction in the past couple days. Now that the showrunners have had a chance to speak their peace, perhaps the critics will remain silent until Confederate finally hits HBO.

The date at which Confederate is happening is presently unknown as the series has yet to enter in production, but there's still plenty of Game Of Thrones to check out. Game Of Thrones is all new Sunday, July 23rd at 9 p.m. ET. Get ready for that by reading up on that weird detail regarding Sansa's hair, or how Maisie Williams felt about Arya's opening scene. For more on great summer programming and where to find it, visit our summer premiere guide.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick contains multitudes and balances his time reporting on big happenings in the world of Star Trek, the WWE, reality television, and other sci-fi shows.