The Walking Dead is, of course, a ratings and cultural powerhouse, having influenced many other television series – including, of course, its very own spinoff series, Fear the Walking Dead – and, even, recently becoming a theme park attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood (which isn’t to mention the source material itself, a monthly comic series which is at issue #156 and which is still making waves).
Interestingly enough, however, this outsized success hasn’t seemed to affect creator Robert Kirkman’s burgeoning Hollywood career; beyond the two Dead television series, Kirkman has only expanded his screenwriting/producing reach by creating Outcast for Cinemax. Expect this to change in the very near future – and in a big way.
According to THR, Kirkman and Dave Alpert, the CEO of his production company, Skybound Entertainment, have teamed up with another executive producer, Vincent Newman, to adapt the highly popular book series The Chronicles of Amber. They’re currently searching for a writer to actually pen the pilot, and then they will start shopping it around to various outlets, including cable (the home of the Walking Dead series), premium (the home of Outcast), and streaming services alike.
Here is an official statement about the news from Newman:
"The greatness of the Amber universe is attested to by its millions of fans across the globe as well as its influence on so many other literary works. I can’t think of better partners in David and Robert with which to bring the Amber novels to television and other platforms."
Amber is a 10-book series written by Roger Zelazny that was published from 1970 through 1995, though there are several follow-up installments, as well, ranging from short stories to a four-part prequel series that was written after Zelazny’s death (and which remains unfinished). Over the decades, the works have influenced many other notable fantasy writers, including none other than George R.R. Martin, the author behind A Song of Ice and Fire: the saga, of course, that is the basis of Game of Thrones.
It’s this last tidbit that is so very telling. It seems that after dominating the horror genre, Kirkman and Skydance are now interested in expanding their reach to fantasy - and what better way to reach mainstream success than trying to out-Game of Thrones HBO’s flagship production? Kirkman's track record of success with TV speaks for itself; Walking Dead is all but guaranteed to run for many more season yet and Outcast was picked up for a second season before it even premiered. And then there’s the Chronicles of Amber books’ premise: jumping from one dimension to another while following political developments in the main reality, Amber, suggests the possibility of many, many TV show seasons.
Then again, there is a question hovering over this announcement: is Kirkman going to be actively involved in its creation and production, or is his just a name slapped on to entice viewers? Though actively involved in his baby, The Walking Dead, Kirkman has only written two of 13 Fear the Walking Dead episodes thus far, and he has a similar track record with Outcast. The official quotes about the project are likewise somewhat vague about just how involved, creatively, Kirkman will ultimately be.
The Chronicles of Amber is currently in the early stages of development.