For years various Hollywood producers and studios have attempted to get a Halo film adaptation off the ground with no success. Plenty of big name creatives have been attached to the project, including Steven Spielberg Peter Jackson, and Neill Blomkamp, but Microsoft has been exceptionally protective of their flagship IP. It's hard to blame them - given the numerous underwhelming game-to-film adaptations that have been released over the years.
In order to sate fan interest, promote Halo 4, and test the waters for a live-action Halo film adaptation, Microsoft decided to finance their own webseries, Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn. After months of build-up, Forward Unto Dawn - Part 1 is finally here. Has Microsoft's investment paid off?
Fans of the game series remain split on whether or not Hollywood is even capable of delivering a quality Halo film - one that takes into account the larger franchise mythos established in tie-in novels, comic books, and other entertainment mediums. That said, even before Forward Unto Dawn, potential moviegoers have been teased by the big budget potential of the Halo series. In addition to fan-made film attempts, the last three Halo titles were accompanied by eye-popping live-action trailers - one of which was directed by Snow White and the Huntsman director, Rupert Sanders:
However, this time, for the release of Halo 4, Microsoft upped-the-ante by promising a full 90 minute webseries - set as a prequel to certain story elements that will be explored in the upcoming game. In addition to high production values, the webseries has also managed to enlist a roster of familiar actors including Tom Green (Dance Academy), Anna Popplewell (The Chronicles of Narnia), Mike Dopud (SGU Stargate Universe), as well as Daniel Cudmore (The Twilight Saga) playing the iconic Master Chief. While the character has yet to see action in Forward Unto Dawn - Part 1, the webseries trailer showcases plenty of slick shots of heroic John-117 dispatching enemies - meaning, if Part 1 doesn't quite satisfy your craving for big screen Halo, further installments are sure to raise the bar.
Check out the full Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn description below - followed by the Part 1 episode synopsis:
Set against the backdrop of a UNSC military academy, a group of highborn cadets are training to be the next generation of soldiers in the UNSC’s ongoing war with insurrectionists in the outer colonial planets. Among these cadets, Thomas Lasky struggles with his doubts about this war, and with the burden of expectations he may not be able to carry. As Lasky comes to terms with his potential as a military leader, the terrifying alien alliance known as the Covenant arrives and turns his world upside down. Inspired by the Master Chief, he must decide what it means to be a hero.
Hastati Squad, the newest batch of freshman cadets at the UNSC's Corbulo Academy of Military Science, pays the price for cadet Thomas Lasky's tactics.
Screen Rant writer Andrew Dyce recently published an extensive editorial detailing "How The Halo Movie Might Be Saved By Forward Unto Dawn" and even touches on Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games adaptations - which may have also cleared a few related hurdles. As fans know, there's more to Halo than Master Chief. The history of the Spartan II is based in a class war, one that relied on recruitment and genetic modification of child soldiers, a major focus in the Forward Unto Dawn - Part 1 storyline.
While the concluding moments of the episode tease the arrival of game series' alien antagonists, The Covenant, the majority of Part 1 is dedicated to the emotional (and physical) turmoil that Lasky has endured - as the son of a famous UNSC Colonel and a teenager attempting to navigate daily life at Corbulo Military Academy.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for future updates on Halo, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn episodes will be released every friday via Halo Waypoint and Machinima leading up to the launch of Halo 4 on November 6, 2012.
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