Master Chief is confirmed to be a lead character of Showtime's Halo TV series. Microsoft struck gold with the release of Halo: Combat Evolved in 2001. That is when gamers around the world were first introduced to the fearless and mysterious Spartan commando and he's been the star ever since. Chief, or John-117, has led all five of the main entries in the series.
Thanks to the popularity of the series, Chief is one of the most iconic video game characters of the millennia. That's why everyone expected him to be the focus of the long-in-development Halo TV series. However, a faceless lead isn't exactly great for a show or that appealing of a gig for most actors. When Showtime officially greenlit the Halo series, there was no mention of Master Chief to be found. Thankfully, they've now confirmed he will be at the center of the series.
Showtime's President of Programming Gary Levine shed some light about the Halo TV series and Master Chief's role in it during the network's TCA presentation (via IGN). Levine said Chief will be "a lead character" in the series, which they hope will air in 2020. He also was asked to address his always concealed face, which he says "is a key question and an important part of our series, is all I’ll say." Fans of the games don't need to worry about knowing this journey either as they've crafted an original story that still fits within the game's canon. So what is their take? One rooted in team drama with Chief as a lead.
"We made a conscious decision to hire a writer not known for sci-fi and not known for big battle movies, because that’s already baked into the Halo franchise and we will service that, but we also wanted to ensure that we were getting beneath the formidable armor of the Spartans and really getting inside the team drama so it felt like it belonged on Showtime. As David said, our hopes and dreams are that it will have enormous appeal to Halo fans and will also appeal to Showtime drama fans."
Fans who were concerned over Master Chief's involvement, or maybe lack thereof, don't need to worry anymore, though. It is important to note Levine's phrasing and emphasis is that Chief is a lead and not the lead. Chief has had several allies throughout the games, so some of those characters could join him co-leads of the series. And, with production beginning early next year, it may not be too long before the cast starts to be announced and we know who will play Chief and the other characters.
With Master Chief included, Halo sounds as promising as any fan of the franchise could hope for. Kyle Killen is showrunning the series, while Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt is directing multiple episodes. There's only 10 episodes set for the first season, which should make Halo an easy, and hopefully enjoyable, watch. Levine also teased multiple locations and plenty of the action gamers have come to expect from the franchise.
Halo will debut on Showtime in 2020.