The Halo video game franchise is being adapted into a TV series by Showtime, but the show lost its director at the end of 2018 when Rupert Wyatt announced that he was no longer associated with the project. Wyatt has finally revealed why he joined the Halo TV series, and explained the circumstances that caused his departure.
It's taken a long time for a live-action Halo project to enter production, with a Halo movie planned as far back as 2005 that had Peter Jackson acting as the executive producer and Neill Blomkamp as the director. The Halo movie spent several years in development hell before it was officially canned in 2007. Showtime announced a Halo TV show back in 2013 that had Steven Spielberg tagged as the director, but the series only recently entered production and Spielberg is no longer attached to the project. Wyatt was originally meant to be one of the directors of the Halo TV show, but it was announced in December 2018 that he'd left the production due to scheduling conflicts. It was recently revealed that Wyatt would be replaced by Otto Bathurst, who directed the 2018 Robin Hood movie.
Wyatt recently spoke to Collider about his departure from the Halo TV show, where he discussed his initial enthusiasm for the project, and how he would have fit into the production as only one creative mind among many. Check out his thoughts below.
I got involved, I knew very little about Halo—same as I knew very little about Planet of the Apes when I got involved—and I kind of steeped myself in the mythology and began to realize how much incredible literature there was and the depth of the storytelling, and it all stacked up for me. There was an incredible foundation for the storytelling, so it was gangbusters. I was super excited. In short, I think if I had come at it from an earlier perspective from the building of it then perhaps it would have gone differently, but as a director of a TV show it’s quite hard to sort of become a creative architect of a show. I think in a way I was never gonna be that, and that’s fine because there are really many talented people involved in that show who are doing that job.
Wyatt went on to explain the exact nature of the scheduling issues that prompted him to leave the Halo TV show project, despite the decision causing him sadness. Here's his full quote.
So it became clear that there was gonna be more time needed, I’m talking some months if not years, to align - as you probably know it’s massively ambitious, so the budget for that really needs to align with the scripts. We were still kind of working on that, but it ultimately wasn’t under my watch to be able to find that alignment. So there was a choice made by Showtime which was essentially to push things, and if I had been perhaps been the showrunner then I would have stayed on that journey for two or three years, but as a director of a finite number of episodes, there’s other things I really wanna do. So I was very sad to leave, but basically it wasn’t within the framework that I originally signed up for.
It seems that the reason why Wyatt left the Halo TV show was due to a mixture of a lack of creative input (compared to the kind he may have been used to working on movies) and the schedule becoming longer than what was originally planned. The Halo TV show is going in the same direction as Game of Thrones, where the episodes are filmed by a group of directors who are working from scripts written by showrunners who are the true overseers of the project. It's understandable why Wyatt might not be as passionate about a project where most of the creative choices are made by other people, especially in regard to the direction of the story.
It's still early days for the Halo TV show, as they've yet to even cast the role of Master Chief, which means that it could still be several years before it's finished and ready to be shown, but the Halo universe has an incredibly deep lore and several amazing games that can be adapted into entire seasons of the show. If Halo lives up to the promise of its source material, then it's going to be a wild ride, and it's a shame that Wyatt won't be along for it.