Would You Love to See More Civil War Alternate History Make it to the Big or Small Screen?

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BlueandGrayl

First Sergeant
Joined
May 27, 2018
Location
Corona, California
As many of us on CWT know there is a type of alternate history called 'Confederate Victory' alternate history otherwise known as Civil War alternate history (CWAH) next to World War II alternate history it's one of the most popular places for "What If?" fiction out there I mean we even have a place to discuss this topic since so much is written about it CWAH like its WW2AH counterpart exist as a sub genre of alternate history distinct from the rest of the genre as both have a lot of things to cover under altered circumstances.


Some of the most well known CWAH out there are: Harry Turtledove's Southern Victory (a series of 11 novels focusing on a Confederate victory in 1862 and how it affects world state of affairs with a lot of parallelism thrown in) and Guns of the South (a time travel AH where Neo-Nazi white supremacists called Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging send AK-47 that help Robert E. Lee win the Civil War in 1864 but get into conflict with him much later), Mackinlay Kantor's If the South Won the Civil War (The codifier of the genre), Harry Harrison's A Rebel in Time (also deals with time traveling racists helping the Confederacy win) and the Stars and Stripes Trilogy (about Britain going to war with America a popular CWAH POD), Peter G. Tsouras' Dixie Victorious (an anthology of Confederate victory scenarios posited by various authors), Winston Churchill's (famous British Prime Minister) If Lee Had Lost Gettysburg, Ward Moore's Bring the Jubilee EDITED FOR LANGUAGE MATT MCKEON and countless other CWAH works on either Alternate History Discussion or novels too many to list. Some of our members such as Jeffrey Evans Brooks, CanadianCanuck/Matthew Stienberg, Saphroneth, 67th Tigers etc. have also done CWAH examples include Shattered Nation (a trilogy of novels thus far about the Confederates winning in 1864 by winning the Battle of Atlanta) and Wrapped in Flames: The Great American War and Beyond (an original take on the Britain goes to war with America scenario), like with regular alternate history authors/writers, historians, and even politicians have done "What If?" scenarios

So far CWAH despite being such a dense genre has seen few adaptations on the big or small screen the closest I can say is C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America (by African-American filmmaker Kevin Willmott) though even that is meant to be satire on America's racist history disguised as a Confederate victory there was an attempt at an non-satirical alternate history in the form of HBO's Confederate by Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss but unfortunately because so many were offended at the idea of a modern day slaveholding nation (same thing C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America does by the way) even though it doesn't come out in favor of it not helped when white supremacist, anti-Semitic thugs and criminals like Christopher "We're not non-violent EDITED FOR LANGUAGE MATT MCKEONkill these people if we have to" Cantwell EDITED MODERN POLITICS.


So in regards to CWAH movies or TV shows would you ever like to see some of the novels written by authors like Turtledove or members like JEB (Jeffrey Evans Brooks) get big or small-screen adaptations to a larger audience? Would you ever watch a CWAH movie or TV show like an HBO-produced Southern Victory show by Alan Ball (creator of another Southern-set series: True Blood) or a Hulu made Shattered Nation show by the creators of The Man in the High Castle (another AH) or a Universal-made Guns of the South movie directed by James DeMonaco (creator of The Purge series)?
 
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OldReliable1862

Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
Jul 2, 2017
Location
Georgia
I'd love a Shattered Nation or Stonewall Goes West adaptation, but the realist in me knows this likely will not happen. It seems that for most people, alternate history is "Hitler wins WWII (somehow) and invades America (Wolfenstein BABY)". The more grounded AH we try to engage in here, like @Saphroneth's Trent War TL that are very concerned with detail and minutiae, would likely have trouble grabbing an audience's attention.
 

Jamieva

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Feb 7, 2006
Location
Midlothian, VA
Man in the High Castle is the closest we're going to get to anything like this. Anything that shows a timeline with a southern victory is just not feasible in today's climate.
 
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BlueandGrayl

First Sergeant
Joined
May 27, 2018
Location
Corona, California
Man in the High Castle is the closest we're going to get to anything like this. Anything that shows a timeline with a southern victory is just not feasible in today's climate.
Well, at least for a while, But if a Confederate Victory series like Southern Victory is made and gets adapted to HBO perhaps it may make a few meta references to say Charlottesville as a way of mocking white supremacists.
 

mofederal

Captain
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Location
Southeast Missouri
I like history, but I have no real interest in alterative history as the underdogs or loser of the conflict would have to win. It becomes a joke. I like the Sci Fi series books The Lost Regiment, is not an alternative history, just more interesting. There are only so many plots they can work up, and they will all have a similar ending. I don't mind the WWII Navy series of another earth dimension, which is similar to the Lost Regiment series. But not alternative, because there is only one way it is written. I'll stick to good Civil War novels and real history. No need to worry HBO will never film that series. EDITED FOR LANGUAGE MATT MCKEON
 
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Saphroneth

Captain
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Arguably I think the best hope an ACW alternate history has would probably be for it to be the backstory. Fatherland worked out okay, though admittedly they had to dumb the divergence down compared to the book.

But you could have the actual plot of the series or film be a war taking place in, say, the 1890s (with plenty of gallant cavalry action getting mowed down by Maxims, early use of smokeless powder which offends all the old sweats, and old style pre-dreadnought battleship punch ups) where the North is allied with Britain and the South is allied with France (just a WAG on my part) and the events of the 1860s are only sort of referred to in reference.
 
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WilliamH

Corporal
Joined
Jul 12, 2016
Location
Point Lookout
I did enjoy Season 1 and 2 of Man in the High Castle, so if the underlining story/writing/acting is good then alternate history can be entertaining.

However, there are so many good entertaining stories/events in factual (or mostly factual) history that I would rather see more Historical fiction series be made. The classic CW examples being Gettysburg and Gory where actual historic events/people mixed in with some fictional dialog and people made a very entertaining story. Plus, you have the addition benefit of people becoming interested and reading the actual history of these people and events.

I know some History fanboys (and girls) get upset when everything isn’t historically correct but I’m willing to let that slide if the story is good and they get the big picture on people/events correct.
 

steve59p

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 21, 2016
I think the two biggest problems with an AH on the CW stem from the fact that to be significantly different the most likely option is that the south wins its independence in some way. Hence this means:
a) The existence, at least for a while of a continuation of slavery in the south which is going to be politically explosive and hence likely to deter funders for such a project.

b) It would mean a world where the US lost a war and substantial amounts of territory. Which again is likely to be deeply unpopular in the US. Since the US is the centre for film making in the western world that means your basically cutting your primary market down so again its unlikely to get funding.

Possibly if there was some revolution in film making, which made producing such a film a hell of a lot cheaper you might get some such examples, although since things were that much cheaper you might get both poor quality/historical inaccuracy because the people producing it don't particularly care about/don't have the resources to research the information or because the producers have an axe to grind.

As such while there are options for good and bad AH scenarios on boards like this or even in printed books I doubt there is much capacity for a major film or TV series that looks at the situation in some detail and with some accuracy.
 

jackt62

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Location
New York City
Not quite sure what the definition of "alternative" history is but if fiction is portrayed as fact I would be against that. I would, however, make an exception for what is termed "counterfactual" history or the what if? scenarios that can sometimes be fun as long as it is clearly noted as being as such.
 
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mofederal

Captain
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Location
Southeast Missouri
I forgot that the real problem is so many half truths and lies are told on a daily about history, we should concentrate on real history. Too much of it is untold and this history stays unknown. Celebrate real history and tell the stories which need telling.
 
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BlueandGrayl

First Sergeant
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May 27, 2018
Location
Corona, California
Admittedly, I understand some of the issues you may have regarding a CWAH movie or TV show but there are plenty of AHers (including myself) who love to do this scenario. By what is defined as alternate history it is "What if X ended out differently" that is the whole point it's not meant to distort real-world history it's just imagining it ending differently it's also sometimes called "Counterfactual history" especially for the ones who do a realistic approach just for you to know.

Harry Turtledove's works like Southern Victory for example can be easily adapted since many of his novels deal with history that is familiar to Americans and the Civil War is no exception besides as huskerblitz pointed out the idea that something like this warping society's sense of historical fact is beyond ludicrous people already know this stuff and some "What If?" work isn't going to alter perceptions. Also people are starting to get a bit of familiarity with alternate history since mainstream outlets such as the Smithsonian Magazine (which wrote an article about the genre) have covered it and video games such as the Wolfenstein games (The New Order, Old Blood, The New Colossus, and Youngblood) and We Happy Few (about an alternate 1960s Britain devastated by a resurrected German Empire during World War II) are getting attention.

Assuming that we can erase some of the sensitive issues related to CWAH on the big or small screen and the higher-ups don't trash on it I see that a service like HBO or Netflix or FX or Hulu would be the only places in which you can take risks on a show and Southern Victory I feel belongs to HBO they know that they can make some pretty good prestige shows (some are based off books) and I would like to see Alan Ball do it as he already done well with another Southern-related show True Blood (for the most part aside from the later seasons as I've heard from others). Looking at the case with The Man in the High Castle that show has run into a bit of controversy it's concept of a Nazi-Japanese America seems startling and most notably the NYC Metro Subway and Statue of Liberty Nazi ads though it's been able to weather through them and continue on with the show in its third season as well as getting a fourth season, Wolfenstein: The New Colossus had a bit of this in regards to its a certain president ads but like TMITHC it went on.

So for the best case scenario let's imagine a Southern Victory TV show (based off all of the 11 novels) each season being distinct in its setting, look, and genre that is done right with the right people to execute it correctly if this does happen would you ever want to watch it?.
 

BlueandGrayl

First Sergeant
Joined
May 27, 2018
Location
Corona, California
Folks I already wrote on paper about the first season of an HBO Southern Victory series called How Few Remain I wrote up a synopsis, characters, episodes (including names), and trailers it's part of a collection of papers called "Ideas for a Harry Turtledove Southern Victory TV Series" about how a television series based off the books could work and how it should be.
 
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