Given how long a live-action Halo television series — or movie, for that matter — has spent in development limbo, it’s reasonable for fans to be a little skeptical of any news surrounding the project, but the latest report should inspire some cautious optimism.
During the Television Critics Association press tour, Showtime offered some updates on its Halo series based on Bungie’s popular video game franchise that suggest the project is not only gaining momentum, but is well on its way to production.
The first 10-episode season will feature Halo franchise protagonist Master Chief in a lead role, according to Showtime’s President of Programming Gary Levine. As reported by IGN, Master Chief won’t be the only protagonist on the series, and the show will tell a new story — rather than retell the narrative of the games — while being “incredibly respectful of the canon.”
As fans of the franchise are well aware, Master Chief’s face has never been revealed in the games, with his iconic helmet the primary identifying characteristic for the franchise’s alien-fighting hero. Asked whether audiences would finally see his face, Levine said, “[That] is a key question and an important part of our series, is all I’ll say.”
Behind the camera, Mind Games and Awake series creator and writer Kyle Killen will serve as head writer and showrunner on Halo, with Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt attached to direct several episodes in the first season.
“We made a conscious decision to hire a writer not known for sci-fi and not known for big battle movies, because that’s already baked into the Halo franchise and we will service that,” Levine said of the network’s reasons for hiring Killen. “We also wanted to ensure that we were getting beneath the formidable armor of the Spartans and really getting inside the team drama so it felt like it belonged on Showtime.”
Previously, the Halo franchise was adapted for the animated series Halo: The Fall of Reach and the live-action digital series Halo: Nightfall — the latter of which was produced by Ridley Scott and starred Luke Cage lead actor Mike Colter.
Showtime’s Halo series is currently expected to begin production later this year, but there are no cast members officially announced at this point. A premiere date for the series hasn’t been announced, either, but reports suggest that the show won’t air until 2020.
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