The Amber Chronicles — What Happened SCI FI?

Written by: Samuel K. Sloan (FarPoint Media Executive News Director)

In April 2002 the SCI FI Channel had issued a press release that gave a listing of all their ambitious miniseries projects. One of those was to be a 4-hour miniseries based on the “The Complete Amber Chronicles,” written by the late Roger Zelazny.

Since that original, one-time notice, little or nothing has been said about SCI FI’s plans for the series.

What I do know is Zelazny’s 10-part chronicle has earned a place as one of fantasy literature’s all-time classics and deserves a well intentioned miniseries or, better still, a franchise of films for the big screen created by a major film studio. If SCI FI has backed down from its proposal of 6 years ago to make the miniseries due to its inability to do the books justice, then I hail them for not slighting fans by creating a less than honorable visual rendition of the books. However, regardless of SCI FI’s reasons, I also think that fans deserve an update from the cable channel on the future of this enterprise.

So, tell us SCI FI — “What happened?”


  1. fred says

    I agree with you. If it’s worth telling us in the first place, let us know what the general deal is as it progress or not.

  2. ejdalise says

    One of my (few) favorite series, and one of my favorite authors.

    I’m wondering if the story arc would be a little too complicated to translate into film. I should say . . . to translate into film well.

  3. Davezilla says

    If it’s like most of the Sci Fi movies, than I think it’d reek so bad Zelazny would haunt everyone who watched it. And WTF is up with wrestling?!?!? What does that have to do with Sci Fi?

  4. Savage Pastry says

    And thank god they didn’t make it. The important question, though, is who has the film rights now, and what do they want for me to acquire them? Only a fan could ever do those books justice, and they need justice.

    • says

      While I generally support ANYTHING that calls attention to Zelazny’s work, agree a SyFy production has the potential for being the worst way to do that. Still, their “Wizard of Oz” sequel, “Tin Man,” was — in my opinion, at least — not half bad. There may be room for hope here.

      Money will certainly help in bringing the Amber epic to screen, but in the end it won’t be money that determines how good it is: You’re right, Amber requires the care and affection of someone who has actually read the books and considers himself (or herself) a fan.

      Interest in Zelazny’s works will meanwhile continue to fade — going, going, gone — without some means for rekindling interest by introducing it to a new generation. So, if not SyFy, then who? And, like it or not, it seems SyFy retains the film rights. If anyone wants to start a fund for the purchase of those rights from SyFy, though, count me in.

  5. CORWINmerlinFAN42 says

    I belive that whoever makes this movie/mini seris will instantly win over thousands(millions) of veiwers. I think four hours isn’t enough time to show the full seris though. I REALLY LOVE THESE BOOKS!!! If a movie/mini seris ever come out It will be big!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Osricthelost says

    Why oh why hasn’t the Chronicles of Amber made it to the big screen? I agree that if Sci Fi were to create a miniseries Zelazny’s name would forever be tarnished. There is hope though, I heard a rumor that they are making a movie based off of Micheal Moorecock’s Elric, the Stealer of souls. If you enjoy reading Zelazny, Moorecock has a similar writing style, so all hope is not lost.

  7. Whtdimds7 says

    instead of remaking old tv shows, why oh why won’t they dive in and do The Chronicles of Amber… It’s got to be a whole three or four years worth of shows… come on, somebody wake up out there….. I mean, they finally did John Carter of Mars, and wow, actually stuck to the book!! ERB estate holders be praised!
    Maybe they just need suggestions for Casting:

    Corwin: Thomas Jane
    Merlin: Toby McGuire
    Random: Jude Law
    Dara: Mira Sorvina
    Oberon/Ganelon: Harrison Ford-Oberon/Viggo Mortenson-Ganelon
    Brand: Damien Lewis
    Fiona: Cate Blanchette
    Bleys: James Marsters
    Caine: Ray Liotta
    Eric: C Thomas Howell
    Julian: Julian Sands
    Gerard: Vin Diesel
    Dierdre: Liv Tyler
    Benedict: Brian Dennehy
    Martin: Ethan Hawke
    Luke/Rinaldo: James Marsden
    Dalt: Ray Liotta
    Flora: Nicole Kidman
    Llewella: Rebecca Romijn
    Dworkin: John Rhys Davies

    but regardless, I would like to see this movie in my lifetime. hey, maybe all of us who really want to put this movie on should get together and do it ourselves.. after all, if you want something done right, do it yourself…

  8. Whtdimds7 says

    of course that’s right up there with ” where is the movie for “The Dragon Riders of Pern” and all the Pern books? not to mention, the Riftwar Saga, Magician Apprentice/ Magician Master and the Servant/Daughter/Mistress of the Empire series by Feist and Wurts as well> so much literature, so few made into movies, no wait, let’s just rehash old worn out TV Series, let’s see, what’s left,? Dragnet, no that’s been done, Hawaii 5-0, being done, hmmm. Addams Family, nooo, Bewitched.. no.. I Dream of Jeanie.. no, Bonanza? oh wait, All in the Family… yeah.. that’s still available, and oh, yeah, THE FBI or 77 Sunset Strip..

  9. Whtdimds7 says

    Two other series I would like to see: the Snow Queen AND The Summer Queen by Joan D. Vinge, or Tanith Lee’s the Flat Earth Series.. of course, that goes right up there with Andre Norton’s Witch World Series, or Anne Mccaffrey’s To ride Pegasus Series.. that would make for a great TV series.

  10. controlledfolly says

    i would really really love to see Amber on the big screen, BUT not unless someone can do it justice. It should not be made unless done so on the scale of Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter – with all the money it takes to bring together the very best artists in all categories in the world of movie-making. Anything less just wouldn’t do it. And it would have to be several movies – 4 hours just couldn’t possibly do it justice..

    • Craig says

      If we are talking about great Fantasy works to do in film, lets not forget The Book Of Swords by Saberhagen, but please, not by SyFy. After seeing the train wreck that was “Riverworld,” I would rather see them leave adaptive screenplays from Sci-Fi authors alone.

  11. E6AFret says

    I would truly love to see this on the screen. If done properly. I don’t see Dragon Riders of Pern making it to the screen because there is not enough violence . I do love the Pern Books. BUT there are a lot of very good books out there ibn Sci-Fi. Thomas Covenant for another one. BUT let’s get on with AMBER . . . . PLEASE!!!!!!!!

    • Tholish says

      It should be done. Perhaps Sci-fi just bought the rights to ensure nobody would do it wrong. It might help if somebody turned it into a script, starting with just Nine Princes in Amber. I think, though this may be controversial, that the best way to do it would be to film everything in or near Amber in full realism (you’de have to find an awesome castle somewhere) but everything in shadow should look different, depending on how far it was from Amber. Maybe something like in the movie A Scanner Darkly. So it starts out with Corwin seeing his feet at the end of the bed, and they are filmed straight because he’s from Amber, but everything else is shadow, so it looks kind of cartoonified…

      • Tholish says

        It’s called rotoscope, and here’s why I believe it is the best thing to use for any screen adaptatuion of Amber. Zelazny constantly refers to how Amber seems more real than anyplace in shadow. You can just not try to reflect that, which will leave viewers wondering what’s so special about Amber, or you can reflect it by filming in a way that makes scenes in Amber look realer than those set in the real world (I’d like to know what effect you could possibly use for that) or you could do it by making everything in Shadow look less real (thus rotoscoped) so that anything in Amber would seem more real by being filmed straight. A cheaper way might be to use black and white or lower resolution, but rotoscope would allow special effects in Shadow to not seem so hokey even if cheap. Amberites, and items from Amber, should be also non-rotoscoped in order to reflect how Corwin gets a feeling that there is something special about them. Furthermore, since it’s written from Corwin’s perspective, and is initially a tale of amnesia, I think it would be cool if it were filmed that way, so that the camera shows everything exactly as it would look through Corwin’s eyes, much like in Robert Montgomery’s adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s “Lady in the Lake.”

        To film it that way you’de have to have a really good castle, a real one, not CG. I think a really good one might be Alcazar, in Spain, though there are others. Also, the parts set in our world (“Corwin’s shadow Earth”) should faithfully be in the 1970s, using era cars and buildings and clothing, rather than simply modernizing. Part of the reason is that it allows Corwin’s idiom to seem less out of place, and part is to make the unreality of our world seem less hokey without dispensing with the reality that it is our world. And it throws the viewer off initially, making the things Corwin learns
        as he comes out of amnesia seem that much more surprising.

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