Entertainment

HBO's controversial 'Confederate' is likely dead after 'Game of Thrones' creators Benioff and Weiss sign Netflix deal

Key Points
  • HBO's "Confederate" is likely dead now that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have signed a deal with Netflix.
  • The $200 million multiyear film and TV deal was announced Wednesday and means Weiss and Benioff will depart HBO to create and develop new projects for Netflix.
  • "Confederate," which would have depicted an alternate universe in which the Confederacy successfully seceded from the Union, triggered outrage when the series was announced in 2017.
  • Benioff and Weiss are writing and producing a trilogy of "Star Wars" films for Disney.
D.B. Weiss (L) and David Benioff (R) present th Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year at the 2018 British Academy Britannia Awards presented by Jaguar Land Rover and American Airlines at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 26, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California.
Emma McIntyre/BAFTA LA | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

"Confederate," which would have depicted an alternate universe in which the Confederacy successfully seceded from the Union, is likely dead in the water at HBO now that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have signed a $200 million deal with Netflix.

The show faced harsh criticism when it was announced in 2017, including a withering condemnation from writer Ta-Nehisi Coates. The plot would have centered around slavery being legal in modern times.

"Confederate" was initially expected to launch in 2018 or 2019, after Benioff and Weiss were done with "Game of Thrones." However, the project was shelved and this new deal between Benioff, Weiss and Netflix likely wipes it off the books completely.

"I think anything they have with us would likely not go forward," HBO's president of programming, Casey Bloys, told entertainment news website Deadline in July, hinting that any projects the showrunners had with HBO would be canceled if they signed with another network.

HBO did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

It's not entirely surprising that "Confederate" was put on hold or that it wouldn't come to fruition. Benioff and Weiss have been in high demand after their success with "Game of Thrones." The pair are currently writing and producing a trilogy of "Star Wars" films for Disney. The first film in that series is due in theaters in 2022.

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The $200 million multiyear film and TV deal was announced Wednesday and means Weiss and Benioff will depart HBO to create and develop new projects for Netflix.

"We are thrilled to welcome master storytellers David Benioff and Dan Weiss to Netflix," Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer, said Wednesday in a statement. "They are a creative force and have delighted audiences worldwide with their epic storytelling. We can't wait to see what their imaginations will bring to our members."

Weiss and Benioff were reportedly in talks with Disney and Amazon, as well.

Still, questions linger about the writing duo after their final season of "Game of Thrones" was so poorly received by fans but still earned a record 32 Emmy nominations. Analysts and moviegoers will be keen to see what the pair does with the "Star Wars" universe in their upcoming trilogy and what projects they plan to bring to Netflix.

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