Game of Thrones showrunners making a Netflix show about President James Garfield

David Benioff and Dan Weiss are producing another show for Netflix: Death by Lightning, about the life and sudden death of President James Garfield.

2019 International Emmy Awards Gala
2019 International Emmy Awards Gala / Dia Dipasupil/GettyImages

Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss are in the news quite a lot lately. They've been talking about the end of their ground-breaking HBO fantasy drama, previewing their new Netflix sci-fi show 3 Body Problem, and even noodling the possibility of returning to Westeros someday. And now, Netflix has officially announced that they're working on a new show: Death By Lightning, about the life and death of James Garfield, the 20th president of the United States.

This is part of the overall deal Benioff and Weiss struck with Netflix after Game of Thrones ended. Based on the 2011 novel of the same name by Candice Millard, Death By Lightning will star villain specialist Michael Shannon as President Garfield, a lawyer and Civil War general born into poverty who reluctantly took on the presidency. Matthew Macfadyen (who just won an Emmy for playing Tom Wambsgans on Succession) will play Charles Guiteau, the man who eventually shot and killed President Garfield.

Yes, James Garfield was killed not by lightning but by a disgruntled ex-clerk who delusionally thought he had helped Garfield become president and was mad he wasn't properly rewarded. Death by Lightning is a good title, though.

Matthew Macfadyen
75th Primetime Emmy Awards - Press Room / Kevin Mazur/GettyImages

And this is a good cast. Shannon and Macfadyen are both excellent, and it'll be cool to see Benioff and Weiss do something so far removed from Game of Thrones, albeit a show that still involves politics and murder.

Every episode of Death by Lightning will be directed by Matt Ross, who directed episodes of the political thriller show Gaslit as well as movies like 28 Hotel Rooms and Captain Fantastic. He also has a pretty long career as an actor, appearing in movies like Twelve Monkeys, American Psycho and The Aviator.

If I had to guess — and that is fully what I'm doing — I'd say that while Death by Lightning is being developed as part of Benioff and Weiss' deal, most of the work will be done by Ross and his collaborators. When Benioff and Weiss work on a show, they have a habit of devoting themselves to it exclusively; that's what happened with Game of Thrones and that's what's happening with 3 Body Problem, both huge projects. Death by Lightning sounds like a slightly smaller endeavor that will likely be left to their collaborators.

There's no release date for Death by Lightning as of yet.

dark. Next. got. Everyone from Game of Thrones crossing over to 3 Body Problem

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