Showtime's Halo TV series casts Cortana, Soren, and a trio of new Spartans

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Showtime announced in April that the lead character in its upcoming Halo series would be portrayed by this guy—probably best known for his roles in The Wire and Orange is the New Black, according to Chris, although to me he's that guy who's been sent to prison something like 11 times in Law & Order. Today it announced the rest of the cast of series regulars, which will include characters familiar to fans of the games and some TV series newcomers.

Natascha McElhone, who has appeared in series including Californication, Designated Survivor, and The First, will take on two roles: Dr. Catherine Halsey, "the brilliant, conflicted and inscrutable creator of the Spartan supersoldiers," and the blue-hued AI Cortana. Bokeem Woodbine, who played Sgt. Crisp in The Rock (the guy who tried to take Ed Harris' gun near the end) will portray Soren-006, "a morally complex privateer at the fringes of human civilization whose fate will bring him into conflict with his former military masters and his old friend, the Master Chief." (He's been in a bunch of other stuff too, but I really liked The Rock.) And Admiral Margaret Parangosky, the head of the Office of Naval Intelligence, will be played by Shabana Azmi, who has appeared in television series including 24: India and Next of Kin.

Among the characters created for the Showtime series are a trio of new supersoldiers: Vannak-134, the Master Chief's Number One Guy, portrayed by Bentley Kalu; Riz-028, a "focused, professional and deadly" Spartan being played by Natasha Culzac; and Kai-125, played by Kate Kennedy, another Spartan who's described as "courageous, curious, and deadly."

Collectively, the cast of regulars has a pretty strong connection to videogames, apart from appearing in this show based on one: All of them except Azmi and Culzac have provided voices for games in the past, and Culzac gets a pass for not being part of that group because she's also appearing as Toruviel in Netflix's upcoming Witcher TV series.

The Halo TV series doesn't have an air date yet, but sometime in 2020 seems like a good bet. Here's everything else we know about it.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.