9:56am PT by Bryn Elise Sandberg
'Black America' Alt-History Drama in the Works at Amazon
A week after HBO's botched announcement of its upcoming slavery drama Confederate, Amazon is partnering with Will Packer for its own alt-history series.
The streaming service is developing Black America, a drama that envisions an alternate history where newly freed African-Americans have secured the Southern states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama post-Reconstruction as reparation for slavery and, with that land, the freedom to shape their own destiny. The project hails from prolific producer Packer (Girls Trip, Ride Along) and Peabody-winning The Boondocks creator and Black Jesus co-creator Aaron McGruder.
In the series, the sovereign nation formed, New Colonia, has had a tumultuous and sometimes violent relationship with its looming “Big Neighbor,” both ally and foe, the United States. The past 150 years have been witness to military incursions, assassinations, regime change, coups, etc. Now, after two decades of peace with the U.S. and unprecedented growth, an ascendant New Colonia joins the ranks of major industrialized nations on the world stage as America slides into rapid decline. Inexorably tied together, the fate of two nations, indivisible, hangs in the balance.
Deadline first announced news of the Amazon project in February — but at the time, the producers wouldn't reveal any additional details about the series except that it would take place in an alternate universe in the vein of The Man in the High Castle, another Amazon series, which takes a look at what the world might be like had World War II turned out differently.
HBO's announcement of Confederate, from Game of Thrones creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, is what prompted the producers behind Black America to unveil the show's premise. “It felt this was the appropriate time to make sure that audiences and the creative community knew that there was a project that preexisted, and we are pretty far down the road with it,” Packer told Deadline.
Amazon's interest in the series was first reported by Ankler.