While Star Wars fans might still be scratching their heads over whether or not to be excited over news that Game Of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have been tapped to write and produce a new series of Star Wars films, two people who are definitely excited? Benioff and Weiss – but maybe not for the reasons people are thinking.
Tuesday's Star Wars announcement included a statement from Benioff and Weiss that work on the film would "begin following the final season of Game Of Thrones". Why is that so interesting? That was when the duo were supposed to begin work on Confederate: their controversial alternative-history follow-up series for HBO. Benioff and Weiss are still working on the final season of Game of Thrones; and if they are looking to start work on Star Wars immediately following GoT, that would leave the pair unable to touch the project with a ten-foot-pole for a whole bunch of years.
Here's Benioff and Weiss' full statement:
"In the summer of 1977 we traveled to a galaxy far, far away, and we've been dreaming of it ever since. We are honored by the opportunity, a little terrified by the responsibility, and so excited to get started as soon as the final season of Game of Thrones is complete."
Which means that Star Wars might just be the "GET OUT OF JAIL FREE" card that the pair have been looking for to distance themselves from Confederate. As for HBO, "The Mouse" just gave them an "out clause" that lets them save face as a network for artistic freedom and expression; and avoid a serious programming landmine while still searching for a GoT replacement.
When the series was first announced – with Benioff and Weiss announced as the series' writers and showrunners – the duo and HBO were immediately met with an intense backlash to the entire concept of the project. Confederate was to take place in an alternate timeline where the South successfully seceded from the Union, creating a nation in which slavery remains legal and has evolved into a modern institution. The story would be told from the perspectives of a broad range 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 – as a lead-up to the start of the Third American Civil War.
After a statement of understanding and a plea for everyone to wait until they've seen the final product, HBO has kept pretty quiet about the project: confirming a general commitment to the series, but not offering specific details. At January's Television Critics Association (TCA) press event, HBO President Casey Bloys confirmed that the creative team (including co-writers Nichelle Tramble Spellman and Malcolm Spellman) was still intact but that it was way too early to start talking Confederate:
"Dave and David are in production on Game of Thrones, they are still talking (about Confederate) but it's going to be a year, year and a half before there is anything. They have to finish GOT."