Updated July 21, 10 a.m. PT: Game of Thrones creators D.B Weiss and David Benioff have responded to the backlash they received after announcing their new project, a dystopian look at a United States in which the South seceded during the Civil War and modern slavery is still a thing. Considering both Weiss and Benioff are white, you can see why some might view this as problematic.
But they’re defending the project, which has two black writer/producers, Nichelle and Malcolm Spellman. They all think the show has the chance to tie into the very real systemic racism the U.S. still faces today, as well as the lasting effects of slavery that have carried over into modern real life.
“What people need to recognize is, and it makes me really want to get into the show: The shit is alive and real today,” Malcolm told Vulture. “I think people have got to stop pretending that slavery was something that happened and went away. The shit is affecting people in the present day. And it’s easy for folks to hide from it, because sometimes you’re not able to map it out, especially with how insidious racism has become. But everyone knows that with Trump coming into power, a bunch of shit that had always been there got resurfaced. So the idea that this would be pornography goes back to people imagining whips and plantations. What they need to be imagining is how fucked up things are today, and a story that allows us to now dramatize it in a more tangible matter.”
If anyone can pull this off the right way, it’s HBO. Here’s hoping they do.
Game of Thrones is the hottest show on television right now, with the dynamic show-running duo of David Benioff and D.B. Weiss taking the reigns from George R.R. Martin and turning his epic fantasy series into a pop-culture phenomenon.
GoT continues to break ratings records and set social media on fire every Sunday night, but with the show wrapping up next fall, HBO is looking for the next needle-moving series that will keep cord-cutters from canceling their expensive cable or satellite package.
It looks like HBO is once again teaming with Benioff and Weiss on a new project, but as with anything involving this influential team, it’s mired in controversy.
Me, a writing teacher: There are no bad ideas, just bad execution–
HBO's Confederate: *exists*
Me: *opens mouth, shakes head, walks away*
— Shana Mlawski ✡️ (@ShanaMlawski) July 19, 2017
— Ms. El Tow 🌲🌲🌲 (@NicsuPR) July 20, 2017
— Stephen Waniewski (@SF1newski) July 19, 2017