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 will finally be turned into a live-action Halo TV series, to be shown 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 (hopeful) release in 2022.
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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 next game in the series, Halo Infinite, is due to launch in late 2021 for 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.
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. Originally, Kyle Killen was named as the main writer and showrunner for the series. Also, Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) was named as the director for the pilot and several more episodes. However, Killen left the show prior to production and was replaced as showrunner by Steven Kane. Wyatt also left the Halo series 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) will also direct some episodes. 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.
When will the show debut?
At the moment, Paramount Plus plans to start streaming the series sometime in early 2022.
What is the plot of the Halo TV series?
At the moment, the specifics of the Halo TV show’s plot are unknown. We do know that the series will tell an original story featuring Master Chief and his battle against the Covenant, rather than adapt a storyline from the games.
Who is in the Halo TV series?
The role of Master Chief will be handled by veteran character actor 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 will no longer play that role. Instead, Jen Taylor. the original voice of Cortana in the Halo games will play that same role in the series. McElhone will still appear 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 will play Admiral Margaret Parangosky, and Bentley Kalu, Natasha Culzac, and Kate Kennedy will portray three more Spartan soldiers.
Danny Sapani will play UNSC Captain Jacob Keyes, a well-known character from the Halo game series, while Olive Gray will play his daughter, Dr. Miranda Keyes. Charlie Murphy will play Makee, a human who has been raised by the alien Covenant. Finally, newcomer Yerin Ha plays the 16-year old girl Quan Ah who encounters Master Chief at a critical time.
That’s all we know about the Halo TV series on Paramount Plus. We will update this post when more info is revealed, including its final release date.