People Are Angry About a New Show From the 'Game of Thrones' Creators

July 20th 2017

Danielle DeCourcey

A new show from the creators of "Game of Thrones" has sparked a debate before it even begins shooting. On Wednesday, HBO announced that it will produce a show by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss called "Confederate," depicting a world where the Confederacy won the Civil War and seceded from the union.

In the time period of the show, the Confederacy is heading toward the Third American Civil War, an alt-history premise reminiscent of Amazon's "Man in the High Castle," where the Japanese Empire and Nazis won World War II. The story will follow characters on both sides of the battle in modern times, including freedom fighters, slave hunters, politicians, abolitionists, journalists, and executives. 

“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,” Casey Bloys, president of HBO programming, said in a press release. “Their intelligent, wry and visually stunning approach to storytelling has a way of engaging an audience and taking them on an unforgettable journey."

However, not everyone thinks there should be a show about a world where the Confederacy wins. 

Some people are uncomfortable with Benioff and Weiss, who are white, working as the showrunners of a series that centers on race. 

They will also be writers on the show. New York Times columnist Roxane Gay tweeted that Benioff and Weiss should not be the showrunners for a story that depicts "modern day slavery." Malcolm Spellman and Nichelle Tramble Spellman, who worked on Fox's "Empire," are black and will be the executive producers

Gay then got into a debate with Twitter users about her feelings on the upcoming show. One user accused her of being racist. 

However, Gay argued that it's not that simple. 

Gay said she is fine with a fictional alternate history of the Civil War, but the backgrounds of the people who create and present that re-imaging are important. 

The "Game of Thrones" creators have been criticized in the past for their show's depiction of slavery and race. 

Critics said the storyline and imagery of Daenerys Targaryen, played by Emilia Clarke, freeing hundreds of slaves fed into a white savior stereotype.

The show also recently received criticism over its lack of diversity.

"Star Wars" actor John Boyega criticized the fantasy genre for not featuring more black actors. 

“There are no black people on 'Game of Thrones,'” Boyega said in a GQ interview with Anna Peele. “You don't see one black person in 'Lord of the Rings.'”

An analysis from the University of California, Los Angeles, found that people of color were under-represented by 5 to 1 as creators of scripted cable shows; the same holds true for creators of broadcast scripted shows. Actors of color were also under represented 2 to 1 in scripted cable lead roles.

In his GQ interview, Boyega said it's time for Hollywood to change—and that viewers should demand it. 

“I ain't paying money to always see one type of person on-screen,” Boyega told GQ. “Because you see different people from different backgrounds, different cultures, every day. Even if you're a racist, you have to live with that. We can ruffle up some feathers.”

RELATED: The 'Game of Thrones' Creator Reveals Why He's Killing Your Favorite Characters