Yesterday, Showtime and 343 Industries announced production on the Halo TV series is set to begin, with the cast coming together for the announcement on social media. Based on the popular video game series of the same name, Halo follows Master Chief Spartan John-117, a biochemically and cybernetically-enhanced super soldier thrown into the midst of an interstellar war. Pablo Schreiber stars as Master Chief, taking on one of the most recognizable characters in gaming.
The first game in the series, Halo: Combat Evolved, was a launch title for the original Xbox, selling with over 50% percent of consoles. Now in its 7th entry, not including spin-offs, the series has become a cornerstone of Microsoft gaming and has made billions in revenue. Its story, which features a 26th-century war involving humanity, an alien race called the Covenant, and the titular mysterious halo rings, already has a proven fan base, and various novels, comic books, live action miniseries (Halo 4: Forward unto Dawn) and a digital feature (Halo: Nightfall) have all been adapted from the franchise. However, nothing like a full-fledged Halo blockbuster movie or series had ever seen the light of day. In 2013, 343 Industries (which acquired the Halo series from Bungie) announced it would be producing a Halo television series at Showtime.
Even with the excitement surrounding it, Halo was stuck in development limbo for 6 years. A revolving door of producers and directors made it seem like the series was never getting made. This past April, it was finally revealed that Pablo Schreiber and Natascha McElhone had been cast as Master Chief and Cortana respectively—the story’s most prominent characters. On Friday, new cast members Danny Sapani (Penny Dreadful), Olive Gray (Half Moon Investigations), and Charlie Murphy (Peaky Blinders) were all announced to be joining the show. The entire cast took to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in celebration of a completed table read and commencement of production.
Sapani will be playing a war hero and loving father Captain Jacob Keyes, with Gray playing his daughter, Dr. Miranda Keyes, a UNSC Commander dedicated to understanding the technology, language and culture of the alien race, the Covenant. Murphy will play Makee, an orphaned human who was raised by the Covenant and shares their hatred of humanity. The series also stars Shabana Azmi, Bokeem Woodbine, Bentley Kalu, Natasha Culzac and Kate Kennedy. Halo is being produced by Steven Kane (The Last Ship), Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey and directed by Otto Bathurst alongside show runner Kyle Killen.
With all of its key pieces in place, Halo is finally moving forward as a reality, one fans have been awaiting for quite some time. The show is set to be released in 2021—a solid year of anticipation which will undoubtedly only add to the already gargantuan pressure its creators have on them to deliver.