The Halo film that was bandied about a decade or so ago is dead and buried, but the live-action television series that was announced in 2013 is finally shaping up to be a real, actual thing that you will someday be able to watch. Showtime announced today via the Xbox Wire that it has ordered ten episodes for the series' first season.
Kyle Killen, creator of the Awake television series, will serve as executive producer, writer, and showrunner, while Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt is signed to direct multiple episodes.
“Halo is our most ambitious series ever," Showtime CEO David Nevins said. "In the history of television, there simply has never been enough great science fiction. Kyle Killen’s scripts are thrilling, expansive and provocative, Rupert Wyatt is a wonderful, world-building director, and their vision of Halo will enthrall fans of the game while also drawing the uninitiated into a world of complex characters that populate this unique universe."
"As we think about what it means to bring videogame franchises to movie or TV - the biggest challenge can often be finding the right balance between moments fans have already experienced and moments that have yet to be experienced through a different medium, perspective, or creative lens," 343 Industry head of transmedia Kiki Wolfkill said in a separate statement. "We are excited to navigate these creative waters to bring you something that is both respectful of what you already know and love, but also new and surprising and enthralling."
One interesting thing about the announcement is that it makes no mention of Steven Spielberg, who has previously been touted as an important part of the creative team. 343 Industries head Bonnie Ross described the series in the 2013 announcement as being "created in partnership with 343 Industries and one of the best storytellers of all time, Mr. Steven Spielberg." That descriptor has stuck, with both TV Guide and Screenrant calling it "Steven Spielberg's Halo" series earlier this year.
Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment production company is still involved, and Wolfkill referenced him in her statement, saying that Showtime, Amblim, and Spielberg "have been gracious partners in helping put together the right creative team to bring Halo to television." So it's not as if the connection has been totally severed, but I do wonder if it's been oversold.
It's purely speculation on my part, but one person who might be involved, despite not being mentioned, is former Bungie composer Marty O'Donnell. O'Donnell, who won multiple awards for his soundtracks, was fired by original Halo studio Bungie in 2014 and eventually won a lawsuit against it; he teased on Twitter yesterday that a Halo reunion might be in the works. At the time I took it as a reference to Halo Infinite, but the timing makes me wonder if perhaps this is what he was getting at.
Alas, it'll be awhile yet before we get to kick back and watch Master Chief (or perhaps a fresh, new, made-for-television cast playing a vital, never-before-seen supporting role in his adventures) do his thing on the small screen. The Halo series isn't scheduled to actually enter production until early 2019.