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Halo TV series on Paramount Plus: Everything you need to know
It’s one of the biggest video game franchises of all time, and it has expanded into other entertainment media as well. In 2022, after nearly nine years in development, Microsoft’s Halo games have finally been adapted into a live-action Halo TV series, available to watch on the Paramount Plus streaming service.
Read more: Best Paramount Plus TV shows
So what is this Halo TV show all about? Who is in charge of its creation, and who stars in the series? Here’s everything you need to know about the Halo TV series, including its long road from its announcement in 2013 to its release on March 24, 2022.
You can sign up for Paramount Plus right now at the link below. It costs as low as $4.99 a month, with ads, with a seven day free trial:
What is Halo, anyway?
Just in case you are not familiar with the source material, Halo is a video game series that was first created by developer Bungie. The games themselves are set in a far future timeline, where humanity is fighting a war against an alien species called the Covenant. The games frequently center on one character, the augmented Spartan-II human warrior John-117, better known as Master Chief. The name Halo refers to an artificial world shaped like a ring that is the main setting for the first game.
After showing off an early build of the first Halo game at the MacWorld trade conference in 1999, Bungie was acquired by Microsoft. The first game in the series, the first-person shooter Halo: Combat Evolved, was released as a launch title for the first Xbox console in 2001. The game was both a critical and sales hit and helped to make Microsoft a big contender in the game console industry.
Over the years, a number of other Halo video games have been released. Most have also been first-person shooters, but there have also been two-stick arcade shooters and real-time strategy games released in the series as well. The franchise has also expanded beyond games to include novels, comic books, action figures, and other entertainment properties.
Bungie later decided to become an independent developer again and left both Microsoft and Halo behind. In response, Microsoft created a new in-house developer, 343 Industries, so it could continue to make new Halo FPS games, as well as be in charge of the entire Halo franchise. The latest game in the series, Halo Infinite, is now available to play on Microsoft’s Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S game consoles, along with Windows PCs.
Previous Halo live-action projects
Before the announcement of the Halo TV series, Microsoft had plans to develop a big-budget Halo live-action movie. In 2005, 20th Century Fox and Universal announced they would team up to produce such a film, which was going to be written by Alex Garland (28 Days Later, Dredd), executive produced by Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings trilogy), and directed by Neill Blomkamp (who would later direct District 9 and Elysium). However, the development of that movie stalled just a couple of years later.
Microsoft would later produce two low budget live-action Halo films to help promote their games. The first, Forward Until Dawn, was released in 2012 to help promote the release of Halo 4. The second, Halo: Nightfall, was released in 2014, and features a lead character that would later become one of the main characters in Halo 5; Guardians, the Xbox One game released in 2015.
History of Halo TV Series Development
In 2013, as part of its Xbox One reveal press event, Microsoft announced plans to produce the live-action Halo: The Television Series, with Steven Spielberg as one of its executive producers. Originally, the plan was to release the series via the Showtime pay cable network. Xbox One owners would also be able to watch the series with some interactive elements.
Read more: Best Showtime TV shows
After several years of development, Showtime finally greenlit the series in 2018 for a 10 episode first season. Showtime later announced that the first season of the Halo TV show would only have nine episodes.
Production of the series finally began in October 2019 in Hungary. However, the Covid-19 epidemic caused the Halo TV series to shut down production in March 2020 after five episodes were completed. The other four episodes, along with reshoots, began production once again later in 2021 but in Ontario, Canada.
Where can I watch the Halo TV show?
While it started production as a Showtime series, its parent company ViacomCBS announced in March 2021 that the Halo show would now be shown on the Paramount Plus streaming service. Paramount Plus started streaming the first season of the series on March 24, with new episodes released on a weekly basis. All nine episodes are now available to stream on the service.
What is the plot of the Halo TV series?
In a post on the official Halo website, Microsoft’s Halo Franchise Creative Director, Frank O’Connor, wrote that the storyline for the TV series takes place in a separate “Silver Timeline”, away from the lore and storylines explored in the games, novels, and comic books. While the series does take elements from the main Halo timeline, the Silver Timeline will also have the freedom to deviate from that lore. He stated, “Where differences and branches arise, they will do so in ways that make sense for the show, meaning that while many events, origins, character arcs, and outcomes will map to the Halo story fans know, there will be surprises, differences, and twists that will run parallel, but not identically to core canon.”
Episode guide (Spoilers for season 1)
- 1. Contact — In the year 2552, humans are fighting aliens known as the Covenant in space. A human Spartan soldier named Master Chief finds an alien Forerunner artifact that unlocked his previously sealed childhood memories.
- 2. Unbound — Master Chief, on the run from his fellow Spartans, hides out with a human rebel colony and a former Spartan soldier.
- 3. Emergence — After surrendering to the UNSC, Master Chief gets uploaded with a new companion AI, Cortana. He then searches for another Forerunner artifact.
- 4. Homecoming — It’s discovered that the first Forerunner artifact is linked to a much bigger structure that the Covenant call “Halo”
- 5. Reckoning — Master Chief uncovers the full truth of his past, and the Covenant manage to get access to the second Forerunner artifact.
- 6. Solace — Master Chief finds out more info on the history of the Spartan program, and another encounter with the Forerunner artifact gives him a vision of being on the Halo ring.
- 7. Inheritance — A side story about another character, Kwan, as she learns about her destiny to protect a Forerunner portal.
- 8. Allegiance — Master Chief learns why the Covenant want access to the Halo ringworld, and fights to protect the artifact,
- 9. Transcendence — The main Covenant planet is discovered, and Master Chief leads a squad of Spartans to stop the aliens and get the other Forerunner artifacts.
Who is in the Halo TV series and who is making the show behind the scenes?
The main role of Master Chief, also known as John 117, is played by Pablo Schreiber. He has a ton of credits in both movies and TV including major supporting roles in series like The Wire, Weeds, American Gods, Defending Jacob, and Orange Is The New Black. He’s also appeared in movies like Den of Thieves, Skyscraper, and First Man.
On his Twitter page, Schreiber confirmed in March 2021 he will be handling the voice of Master Chief in the series. He had nothing but praise for Steve Downes, who has been the voice for the character in the Halo games. He added, “Because long-form television opens up opportunities to explore character that first-person shooter video games don’t have, it is my hope that the John 117 we portray on the show will add to, honor, and enhance the original material. Not take away from it.”
The role of Master Chief’s AI companion Cortana was originally going to be played by actor Natasha McElhone (Ronin, The Truman Show). However, due in part to the Covid-19 changes in the production schedule, McElhone longer plays that role. Instead, Jen Taylor. the original voice of Cortana in the Halo games will play that same role in the series. McElhone still appears in the Halo TV show, playing the character of Dr. Catherine Halsey. the creator of the Spartan soldier program.
Other cast members include Bokeem Woodbine as Soren-066, a former Spartan soldier who is now a space privateer. Shabana Azmi plays Admiral Margaret Parangosky, and Bentley Kalu, Natasha Culzac, and Kate Kennedy play three more Spartan soldiers.
Danny Sapani plays UNSC Captain Jacob Keyes, a well-known character from the Halo game series, while Olive Gray plays his daughter, Dr. Miranda Keyes. Charlie Murphy plays Makee, a human who has been raised by the alien Covenant. Finally, newcomer Yerin Ha plays the 16-year-old girl Kwan Ha who encounters Master Chief at a critical time. A notable guest actor is Keir Dullea, who played UNSC Fleet Admiral Lord Terrence Hood. Dullea played US astronaut David Bowman in the classic 1968 science fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey and its 1984 sequel 2010.
For the first season of the series, Kyle Killen was originally named as the main writer and showrunner for the series. However, Killen left the show prior to production, although he is still credited as co-writer for the first three episodes. Killen was replaced as showrunner by Steven Kane, who ended up credited with either writing or co-writing all nine episodes in the first season.
Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) was first named as the director for the pilot and several more episodes. In the end, Wyatt left the Halo series before production started due to scheduling conflicts, and Otto Bathurst (Black Mirror, Peaky Blinders) took over as director of the pilot and other episodes. Jonathan Liebesman (Battle: Los Angeles) also directed several episodes. Steven Spielberg is still credited as an executive producer for the show, and Kiki Wolfkill, the head of all Halo franchise efforts at Microsoft’s 343 Industries, is listed as an executive producer as well.
Is Halo season 2 in the works?
Yes! Paramount Plus has already confirmed that a second season of the series will be put into production. However, it will have a new person in charge behind the scenes. David Wiener, who has writing or producing credits for shows like Fear The Walking Dead, The Killing, and most recently Peacock’s sci-fi show Brave New World, will be the new showrunner for Halo season 2. So, don’t go canceling Paramount Plus just yet – there’s more to come. Or, go ahead and cancel until it comes back if Halo was the only reason you joined!
FAQs (Spoilers for season 1)
At the moment, there’s no word on when the second season will drop on Paramount Plus.
Right now, there’s no information on a disc-based release for the first season.
Paramount has yet to announce when or if the first season can be bought via digital storefronts.
In an interview with Decider, Master Chief actor Pablo Schreiber said the decision was made to show the character not wearing his iconic helmet so the TV audience could better understand the character. He stated, “In order to empathize with the protagonist of your television show, especially over a long-form storytelling format — which is, we hope, multiple seasons — you really want to have access to the character.
While the first season had Master Chief see a brief vision of himself standing on the Halo ringworld, we don’t know yet if the second season will be set on Halo itself.
That’s all we know about the Halo TV series on Paramount Plus. We will update this post when more info is revealed.