A TV series based on the Halo franchise is finally happening. When conversations about “most iconic video game series” come up, it’s hard to not include Halo in those conversations. As a franchise spanning 13 games, a dozen books, two mini-series, and an anthology of animated short stories, Halo is an expansive universe with rich story lines. It makes sense, then, that there are still more stories to tell.
Back in 2014, 343 Industries released Halo: Nightfall alongside The Master Chief Collection. The 5-episode series followed the story of John Locke, an Agent with the Office of Naval Intelligence, during a mission to Installation 03 (the one Chief blew up in Combat Evolved). Locke later appeared in Halo 5: Guardians as a Spartan charged with tracking down Master Chief. The series largely received negative reviews, based on its sluggish plot, low quality (compared to Forward Unto Dawn), and lack of everyone’s favorite space marine. The newest series, however, is hoping to suffer from none of these problems.
Since the series was green-lit by Showtime in 2018, pre-production has been moving steadily along. The show has confirmed cast members for both Master Chief and Cortana: Pablo Schreiber will be portraying the Spartan-II and Natascha McElhone will star as Dr. Catherine Halsey and Cortana. Schreiber has a long list of work, including Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black, and McElhone has previously worked with Showtime on Californication back in 2014.
Showtime is certainly hoping to cash in the popularity of the Halo brand. When one thinks about how a Halo series can have an impact on the community, one needs to look no further than Rooster Teeth’s Red vs Blue. While not canon, Red vs Blue has set the standard for future Halo shows. The web-series has strong characters, a well-built world, and a consistency that has made it a staple in the Halo community. If anything, Showtime can look at what made RvB successful, and emulate that strategy in their own work.
If they manage to do it right, this new series could be highly successful. Of course, choosing the TV format is already a step in the right direction. With movies, writers and directors have a limited amount of time to tell a compelling story and create memorable characters. A TV series, on the other hand, has a longer running time, and can therefore afford to take more risks and explore parts of the story that wouldn’t be accessible in a two-hour window.
As far as more information goes, more is likely to come in the next few months. Production is set to start later this year, and the series is slated for release in early 2021. We could hear new things as soon as this winter, or early next year as the crew moves deeper into filming.
It’s certainly an exciting time to be a Halo fan. The franchise is almost synonymous with the FPS genre, and has plenty of content to draw from. The newest TV series has a lot to live up to. Expectations will be high, considering the shortcomings of recent installments and the successes of other fan-made shows. Showtime, tho has a history of producing quality content, so it looks like Halo is in the right hands.