For Some, Confederate Revisionism is Too Much to Bear

These days it seems like revisionism is as much a part of filmmaking as the director’s chair. Though we might not like to admit it, historic revisions have taken place in the vast majority of motion pictures that are “based on a true story.” 

From Ava DuVernay’s Selma to Hidden Figures, and even Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit, filmmakers constantly take creative license to alter a portion of the a particular historic event in an attempt to make for better storytelling. 

So, the situation with the still in the works HBO series Confederate wasn’t a huge shock. I knew someone would work themselves around to a “What if” scenario surrounding the Confederacy or slavery sooner or later. 

Amazon’s “The Man in the High Castle” poses the question, ‘What if the Nazi’s won World War II and invaded the United States?’ That show was something of a quiet hit and it was only a matter of time before someone tried to copy the formula. Right now, HBO is urging patience and calm amid the firestorm of controversy that is surrounding this very sensitive subject. 

THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE Season1 TRAILER (2015) new amazon Series

The Man in the High Castle Season 1 Trailer – 2015 amazon originals Series Subscribe: Folgt uns bei Facebook: Based on Philip K. Dick’s award-winning novel, and executive produced by Ridley Scott (Blade Runner), The Man in the High Castle explores what it would be like if the Allied Powers had lost WWII, and Japan and Germany ruled the United States.

Seemingly a forever ago, there was another show that had folks foaming at the mouth. About 20 years ago, UPN was about to air a comedy set in President Lincoln’s White House during the time immediately following the Civil War called the “Secret Diary of Desmond Pfifer.” In a time before social media and Black Twitter, one had to put their disdain in motion by getting out on the streets to picket, protest and march. 

That UPN show never aired. However, present day HBO is a far more powerful entity than UPN was 20 years ago thus the offending show has a much greater chance of being aired. This is due in part to the prior successes of those creating the show; Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. 

To take creative license in rewriting history is normal. Aaron McGruder and Will Packer recently announced plans for a series called “Black America”, which takes place in a world where the descendants of slaves were granted reparations, which is the all black nation of New Colonia – comprised of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. 

Deadline Hollywood on Twitter

‘Black America’: Amazon Alt-History Drama From Will Packer & Aaron McGruder Envisions Post-Reparations America

With such creative minds backing that project, socio-economic norms that hit a nerve and trigger reactions in the contemporary realm are now open for exploration in the alt-realm. Full of possibilities, full of the potential for controversy. 

However, where “Black America” will undoubtedly look to garner laughter and creative introspection on the contemporary issues, “Confederate” is controversial in and of itself. A show that asks the question “What if the Confederacy won the Civil War” is looking for an answer whose dimensions I care not to explore. 

Back to top