The premise is provocative, for sure, and the announcement of the show hasn't been without its critics. Now, showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, along with husband-and-wife producers/writers Nichelle Tramble Spellman and Malcolm Spellman, have responded.
"We haven't written any scripts yet," he said. "We don't have an outline yet. We don't even have character names," he said. "So everything is brand new and nothing's been written. I guess that's what was a little bit surprising about some of the outrage. It's just a little premature. You know, we might f**k it up. But we haven't yet."
Malcom Spellman added, "This is not a world in which the entire country is enslaved. Slavery is in one half of the country. And the North is the North. ... the imagery should be no whips and no plantations."
Nichelle Spellman said she understands the concerns some people might have about a show like Confederate, but she says people should wait to see the final product.
"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," she said. "So I would have loved an opportunity for the conversation to start once the show was on the air."
Malcolm Spellman went on to talk about why it's difficult to have a constructive conversation about a subject like this these days.
"There's a new emerging group of black filmmakers, right? And we have a good standing there with our peers," he said. "But there's no connective tissue between us and what's coming out in the media. I don't know that we can change anyone's mind… but what people have to understand is, and what we are obligated to repeat in every interview is: We've got black aunties. We've got black nephews, uncles. Black parents and black grandparents. We deal with them every single day.
"We deal with the struggle every single day. And people don't have to get on board with what we're doing based on a press release. But when they're writing about us, and commenting about us, they should be mindful of the fact that there are no sell-outs involved in this show. Me and Nichelle are not props being used to protect someone else. We are people who feel a need to address issues the same way they do, and they should at least humanise the other end of those tweets and articles. You know what I'm saying?"
You can and should read the full interview here at Vulture.
Benioff and Weiss will serve as writers and showrunners on Confederate. It currently has no premiere date, but with Season 8 of Game of Thrones yet to even start production, don't expect it for at least a couple of years. There are also several Game of Thrones spinoffs in the works, but Benioff and Weiss will not be heavily involved in these.
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