A Brave New World
Halo is coming to a screen near you. No, this isn’t an official release date or announcement for Halo: Infinite, the next game in the series. This is about Steven Spielberg’s long-gestating Halo TV series. The Executive Producer won’t have a lot of involvement, but his name has clearly helped the project see the light of day.
Now, Showtime have finally revealed a few key details about the upcoming series, including a lead character of the cast.
The Master Chief, the protagonist for the first four Halo games and an unsatisfying amount of Halo 5, will be a lead character in the series. Showtime’s President of Programming Gary Levine spoke with IGN confirming Master Chief’s role as a protagonist. Master Chief won’t be the only lead character. Although they didn’t reveal who the others might be.
Kyle Killen of the TV series Awake, will write and serve as showrunner. Levine explained why they chose Killen:
“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, but 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. As David said, our hopes and dreams are that it will have enormous appeal to Halo fans and will also appeal to Showtime drama fans.”
Rupert Wyatt of Rise of the Planet of the Apes will direct several episodes of the 10-episode first season.
So just who’s going to star in this undoubtedly expensive endeavor?
The Master Chief
Silently stoic but still subtly emotional. The kind of protagonist that fans could imprint themselves on. With enough appreciation for his blue compatriot named Cortana to make the audience understand that there was more to this hero. Spending years with the Master Chief was the highlight of many, many childhoods. Still is. Channeling that character to the big screen is going to be incredibly difficult. One of the many issues surrounding the failed-film was the issue of the Master Chief’s face. He never takes his mask off, so who are audiences going to relate to?
IGN posed the same question to Gary Levine, Showtime’s President of Programming. Levine said that particular part of the Chief, “is a key question and an important part of our series, is all I’ll say.”
A Character Unmasked
Interesting and coy. Clearly he’s avoiding the question, but there’s a hint of an answer there. True Halo fans know the world extends well beyond Xbox games. The “Extended Universe” began with a novel by the name of The Fall of Reach by Eric Nylund. It’s the first official Halo novel and it’s exquisite. So much so that the entire premise of Halo: Reach is based on the story and tragedy of Nylund’s original novel.
However, the story also told the beginnings of a character known as John-117, a child abducted from his space colony and family to be entered into a covert military training program. They grew him into a Spartan. But more importantly, he had a name. He had a life and an identity. If Showtime wanted to tell the story of John-117 as well as the Master Chief, there’s plenty of material to start from.
However, Levine stated it is a new story, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t feature John-117 as well.
“It is a new story but we are being incredibly respectful of the canon and working with the Microsoft 343 people to be sure we don’t violate any of that.”
Thankfully, Nevine is very confident in the script.
“It is a very different genre, it’s futuristic, space-based science-fiction, it’s not fantasy. It took us a long time to get the script but we felt like we had something that was really interesting and felt like it belonged on Showtime in terms of its character depth, and it’s gonna be a big show.”
It better be. Expect Showtime’s Halo series to premiere sometime in 2020.