If you've been following BCTV earlier today then you know that HBO announced it wasn't moving ahead on a second season of series creator & EP Misha Green's adaptation of Matt Ruff's novel Lovecraft Country. It was reported at the time that all parties had apparently pursued the possibility of a second season, but the final decision was made to not move forward with the series (though Casey Bloys, Chief Content Officer of HBO and HBO Max, sounded optimistic about the possibility of another season back in February). Not long after the news broke, Green took to Twitter to share a "taste" of the Season 2 "bible" that offered an intriguing clue to what was to come.
In the sample that Green shared, viewers see that the second season would be in "a new world" that "sits precisely where The United States used to sit." In the map provided, we see how the "Sovereign States of America" is divided between Tribal Nations of the West, Whitelands, New Negro Republic, and Jefferson Commonwealth. We also see a dot and an "X" which we're assuming were markers for where the new season's journey was going. Along with the sample, Green's tweet also revealed what the second season would've been titled: Lovecraft Country: Supremacy along with the hashtag "#noconfederate." And that's what's been eating us ever since- that hashtag. Because it reminded us of a series pitch that HBO was looking to develop back in 2017 that suffered a quiet death after being met with controversy. So buckle up for "'What We Think Is Going On' & 'Random Dumpster Fire of Speculation'."
Now here's a look at Green's original tweet from earlier this evening:
What We Think Is Going On: Okay, maybe the obvious is the correct answer and "#noconfederate" means that there was no southern confederacy in the history of Green's new second season world. Makes perfect sense and aligns with what we've learned from the map earlier.
Random Dumpster Fire of Speculation: So back in 2017, HBO announced that Game of Thrones series co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were set to write and serve as showrunners on a new series called Confederate. The project 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.
The backlash to the news was swift and intense, with many accusing the project as doing nothing more than feeding into "white wish-fulfillment" and questioning Benioff and Weiss's qualifications to be able to speak for the Black experience. After a statement of understanding and a plea for everyone to wait until they've seen the final product, HBO, Benioff, and Weiss would eventually go silent on the project, apparently adopting an "out of sight, out of mind" approach to the controversy until a deal with Netflix in August 2019 would up the final stake in the heart of Benioff and Weiss being asked about the projects for two years.
That mini-history lesson was to get to the primary question we have. Was Benioff and Weiss's Confederate the "Confederate" that Green was referencing in her tweet? Was HBO still feeling so gun-shy from Benioff and Weiss's deal that it factored into its decision to not move forward with Season 2 after they saw the direction Green was going in? Did Green's approach cause similar red flags to go up with HBO (even though Green's approach makes sense on a number of levels considering where things stood coming out of the first season), who may have doubled down on being more apolitical with its programming? Did HBO name-drop the past project as a "cautionary tale" rationale for not being comfortable with Green's take? Once again, take all of this with a ten-pound grain of salt but it's worth consideration.
Joining Courtney B. Vance, Jonathan Majors, and Jurnee Smollett are Aunjanue Ellis, Elizabeth Debicki, Wunmi Mosaku, Michael K. Williams, Jamie Harris, Abbey Lee, Jamie Chung, Jordan Patrick Smith, Jamie Neumann, Erica Tazel, and Mac Brandt, and Tony Goldwyn. Adapted from Matt Ruff's novel of the same name, Lovecraft Country stems from Academy Award winner Jordan Peele's Monkeypaw Productions, J.J. Abrams's Bad Robot, and WBTV. Yann Demange (Top Boy) directs and executive produces the series opener; with Misha Green writing the pilot and serving as showrunner, as well as executive-producing alongside Peele, Abrams, and Ben Stephenson. Daniel Sackheim (The Americans, True Detective) is directing the second and third episodes of the series, and will also serve as executive producer.
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