HBO programming president Casey Bloys updated the media on two very different, polarizing projects during their Television Critics Association's (TCA) executive session on Wednesday: Damon Lindelof's authorized adaptation "remix" of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' 1986 limited comic book series Watchmen; and alternate history fiction series Confederate, from Game Of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Nichelle Tramble Spellman and Malcolm Spellman.
Though Confederate was announced a year ago, there hasn't been movement on the project since what was reported during January's TCA sessions – and it doesn't look like that's going to change any time soon (Reporter's thoughts: …and it sounds like HBO is happy to keep it that way until they mercy-kill the project through a press release on a random Saturday afternoon):
"No change. David and Dan, they've gotta finish the final season of Game of Thrones. "Michelle's got a show at Apple. Malcolm's got multiple projects. And of course Dan and David have the Star Wars movie. When they figure out their schedules they'll come back to us. But nothing has been written and so no change in status there."
Written by Benioff and Weiss, Confederate was to chronicle events in an alternate timeline leading to the Third American Civil War; 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 was to follow 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.
Bloys was much more optimistic when it came to Lindelof's Watchmen; and though a series decision is still pending a screening of the pilot, the cable head likes what he's seen so far and would want production to begin sooner rather than later if the pilot gets picked up:
"I have very, very high hopes. They did a great job. Damon wrote a phenomenal script, and Nikki Kassell did an amazing job shooting the show. I think we see it in a few weeks. So, we'll see."
In May 2018, Lindelof took to Instagram to update fans on his vision for the pilot (directed by Westworld and Castle Rock's Nicole Kassell; and an ensemble cast that includes Jeremy Irons, Regina King, Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson and Louis Gossett Jr.). One thing about the project that Lindelof has emphasized from the start was that his vision was not a direct adaptation of the original graphic novel; but rather a "remix" that's a completely new story yet utilizes important elements from the original story – and so much more:
"We have no desire to 'adapt' the twelve issues Mr. Moore and Mr. Gibbons created thirty years ago. Those issues are sacred ground and will not be retread nor recreated nor reproduced nor rebooted.
They will however be remixed, Because the bass lines in those familiar tracks are just too good and we'd be fools not to sample them. Those original twelve issues are our Old Testament. When the New Testament came along it did not erase what came before it. Creation. The Garden of Eden. Abraham and Isaac. The Flood. It all happened. And so it will be with 'Watchmen.' The Comedian died. Dan and Laurie fell in love. Ozymandias saved the world and Dr. Manhattan left it just after blowing Rorschach to pieces in the bitter cold of Antarctica."
"This story will be set in the world its creators painstakingly built…but in the tradition of the work that inspired it, this new story must be original. It has to vibrate with the seismic unpredictability of its own tectonic plates. It must ask new questions and explore the world through a fresh lens. Most importantly, it must be contemporary. The Old Testament was specific to the Eighties of Reagan and Thatcher and Gorbachev. Ours needs to resonate with the frequency of Trump and May and Putin and the horse that he rides around on, shirtless. And speaking of Horsemen, The End of the World is off the table…which means the heroes and villains–as if the two are distinguishable–are playing for different stakes entirely."
"Some of the characters will be unknown. New faces. New masks to cover them. We also intend to revisit the past century of Costumed Adventuring through a surprising yet familiar set of eyes…and it is here we will be taking our greatest risks…"