Roger Zelazny’s popular fantasy series, The Chronicles of Amber, will finally be coming to television. Stephen Colbert’s production company Spartina has joined Robert Kirkman’s Skybound Entertainment and Vincent Newman Entertainment’s existing partnership to develop Roger Zelazny’s beloved The Chronicles of Amber into a dramatic series,
It comes seven years after The Walking Dead creator Kirkman announced that he was developing a series based on the books with Vincent Newman Entertainment.
Late night TV host Colbert, well known for his on-the-air geekery1, has long been a fan of Zelazny’s books, and advocated for years that they should be filmed. Spartina will be shopping the concept around to various streaming services to get the production funding they need. Potential production partners will likely be one of the bigger include Hulu, Amazon, Paramount and Netflix.
Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) was a Hugo and Nebula Award winning author. The Chronicles of Amber are a series of fantasy novels and short stories. The book cycle features two series of five books each – The Corwin Cycle and The Merlin Cycle – with a number of short stories and prequels also in the series.
The first pentalogy, The Nine Princes in Amber series, focus on Prince Corwin. It consists of Nine Princes in Amber, The Guns of Avalon, The Sign of the Unicorn, The Hand of Oberon and The Courts of Chaos. The second pentalogy, the Merlin series, focuses not on Merlin of Camelot, but Corwyn’s son Merlin, Trumps of Doom, Blood of Amber, Sign of Chaos, Knight of Shadows, and Prince of Chaos
The Amber books have been a cornerstone of fantasy literature for decades, and have inspired filk songs, RPGs, and many other writers. For example, the song in this video is by Mercedes Lackey, a Hugo winning SF author herself.
In addition to his ten novels in the Chronicles of Amber series, Zelazny wrote six Amber short stories: “A Secret of Amber,” The Salesman’s Tale,” “Blue Horse, Dancing Mountains,” “The Shroudling an the Guisel,” “Coming to a Cord,” and “Hall of Mirrors.” Zelazny’s estate then hired John Gregory Betancourt to write a pentology of prequel novels. Four of the five books were written and published before the publisher filed for bankruptcy and went out of business. This brings the total of the Amber books to fourteen, which is plenty of material to fuel a multi-year series.
The producing team will soon begin the search for a writer. No distributor is on board yet either, but Spartina has a first-look deal with CBS Studios. Normally shows like this are on Netflix or HBO, but at the moment the market carries a number of significant streaming services that might have deep enough pockets to handle it. It would be wonderful if Chronicles of Amber came to real TV instead of a streaming service or a premium cable channel, but we’ll have to wait to find out whether CBS goes for it.
Are you looking forward to a Chronicles of Amber TV series? Or are you afraid that Hollywood would just mess it up? Whom would you want to see cast in it? What do you think? Use the comments section below.
1 Yes, it’s a word. We looked it up.
Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions, Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.