Director Neill Blomkamp may feel "lucky" about the cancellation of his and Peter Jackson's in-development adaptation of Halo in hindsight, but for fans looking for a quality movie featuring the armored up, faceless Master Chief, there's nothing lucky about it. After Halo was scrapped during pre-production, Blomkamp went on to craft his original film District 9 which quickly became box office smash on a relatively low budget, even earning four Oscar nominations, including one in the Best Picture category.
Rubbing more salt in the wound for the decision-makers behind the Halo mess, Blomkamp - who described himself to Fox as "genetically created to direct Halo" - made his next project (Elysium) set in the future, featuring a space station and weaponry that looked and felt as if they were part of his Halo vision. Long story short, all these years later and Microsoft still doesn't have a Halo film. But one might be coming.
The big news for Microsoft in 2013 is on the games front. They launched the long-awaited successor to the Xbox 360 video game console, the Xbox One, and there's a Halo game coming out later this year for it. When first unveiling the Xbox One back in May 2013 however, Microsoft took the approach of focusing not so much on games, but home entertainment and part of their presentation involved them announcing a live-action Halo TV series. Building off of the success of the live-action Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn webseries, Microsoft hopes to create appealing exclusive content for Xbox TV and they're working with Steven Spielberg to make it happen. The pairing makes sense considering it was Spielberg's DreamWorks who were pushing to make Halo happen theatrically a few years back.
Still, nothing's happened yet theatrically in the thirteen years since the original Halo debuted alongside the original Xbox in 2001 and in the time since, we've seen the property switch to a different developer and we've lived through three game console generations. Not all hope is lost though since seemingly out of nowhere the latest preview of Production Weekly (for January 16, 2014) namedropped "Untitled Halo Project." Are they referring to the Halo series on Xbox One? Nope.
When questioned on Twitter, PW clarified that it's separate from the Spielberg program:
"The HALO project is a live-action feature-length digital produced by Ridley Scott..."
Is the three-time Oscar nominated director who recently worked on Prometheus working on the long-awaited Halo film? PW added that there's little information available at this point outside of confirming that Paul Scheuring, writer and producer of Prison Break, is penning the screenplay.
If accurate, and we don't think Production Weekly is making this up, we're very curious as to what the story of Halo feature film will follow. Will it embrace an origin story? Will it follow the original game(s) from Bungie Studios or take inspiration from the new games - beginning with Halo 4 - being developed by 343 Industries "Reclaimer Trilogy" (which has since been re-dubbed more of a "saga"). And the even bigger question is who will direct?
For the first Halo film attempt, when Microsoft approached Hollywood without knowing the ins and outs of the business, two studios got involved (Fox and Universal) and Peter Jackson took on an expensive producer role which made it more appealing to go from a pricey A-list director to a relative unknown in Jackson's then-apprentice Neill Blomkamp. Now that Blomkamp proved himself, will Microsoft - and whoever else is involved - go for a big name director? There's certainly a lot of baggage with this project and high expectations to meet.
For more on the mysterious new Halo game coming to Xbox One later this year, head to our sister site Game Rant.
More: Where's My Halo Movie?
In a statement to Eurogamer, Microsoft denied the existence of an in-development Halo film. We're now curious as to where Production Weekly got the info...
"The Halo franchise encompasses many elements, including games, action figures, novels and more.
As always, we have many projects in the works that offer us the opportunity to bring in new audiences to the franchise, as we did in the past with Halo Legends and Halo: Forward Unto Dawn.
We plan to continue telling the Halo story through innovative channels, but there are no plans for a Halo motion picture at this time."
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