With international smash Game of Thrones launching its second to last season on Sunday, the hype surrounding showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss is as hot as ever, and today the duo announced their much anticipated next project. Benioff and Weiss will helm Confederate, a drama that takes place in an alternate reality in which the Southern states successfully seceded from the union, started a separate nation in which slavery still exists and finds America on the brink of a “third Civil War” (yes, third).
The appalling concept of modern slavery seems rife with opportunities for the kind of this-is-horrifying-but-I-can’t-look-away content and memorable characters that have made GoT such a sensation over the years. “We have discussed Confederate for years, originally as a concept for a feature film,” said Benioff and Weiss in a statement. “But our experience on Thrones has convinced us that no one provides a bigger, better storytelling canvas than HBO. There won’t be dragons or White Walkers in this series, but we are creating a world, and we couldn’t imagine better partners in world-building than Nichelle and Malcolm, who have impressed us for a long time with their wit, their imagination and their Scrabble-playing skills.”
The Nichelle and Malcolm mentioned refers to Nichelle Tramble Spellman (Justified, The Good Wife) and Malcolm Spellman (Empire), who are attached as writers along with Benioff and Weiss. Carolyn Strauss (Game of Thrones) and Bernadette Caulfield (Game of Thrones, Big Love) will join the foursome as executive producers. No word on casting yet as the project won’t begin production until the final GoT seasons airs in 2018 or 2019, but one can imagine many an actor would jump at the opportunity to work with such a celebrated group.
“As the brilliant Game of Thrones winds down to its final season, we are thrilled to be able to continue our relationship with Dan and David, knowing that any subject they take on will result in a unique and ambitious series,” HBO president of original programming Casey Bloys said in a statement. “Their intelligent, wry and visually stunning approach to storytelling has a way of engaging an audience and taking them on an unforgettable journey. Confederate promises to be no exception, and we are honored to be adding the talented team of Nichelle and Malcolm Spellman to the mix.”
The announcement comes as HBO has once again leads all networks in Emmy nominations with a whopping 111 in 2017, including 22 for Westworld alone. The network has demonstrated a penchant for retaining its best talent beyond just Benioff and Weiss over the years, as both Alan Ball (Six Feet Under, True Blood) and David Simon (The Wire, Treme) are returning to the premium cable network for projects in the near future as well (The Deuce and Here, Now respectively).