Showtime’s upcoming Halo TV series has found its Master Chief in American Gods star Pablo Schreiber. The series is on course to become the first successful attempt to bring the immensely popular Xbox video game to live-action; it comes after a number of failed attempts to turn Halo into a blockbuster movie stalled and a Steven Spielberg-produced television show intended to be exclusive to Xbox owners also failed to get off the ground. Now, Showtime’s ambitious project not only has a writer, director, and lead actor, but also additional casting news.
Adapting video games into successful film and television projects has been difficult for Hollywood, but not for a lack of trying. Recent efforts such as Assassin’s Creed and Warcraft failed to ignite the box office in the US and have so far ended as one-and-done would-be franchises. The recent Tomb Raider reboot, starring Academy Award-winner Alicia Vikander, fared slightly better, as even though it wasn’t a huge commercial hit, a sequel is nevertheless on the way. That puts some pressure on Halo to not only break the supposed “video game curse,” but also flesh out a character who more or less a cipher.
In order to do that, Showtime has cast Schreiber as the famed augmented soldier, bringing a face to the character for the first time. The news was announced in an official release from Showtime, one that also included mention of another cast member, Yerin Ha, who will play Quan Ah. You can read an excerpt from the official casting mention below:
“Schreiber will play Master Chief, Earth's most advanced warrior in the 26th century and the only hope of salvation for a civilization pushed to the brink of destruction by the Covenant, an unstoppable alliance of alien worlds committed to the destruction of humanity. Newcomer Yerin Ha will play a new character within the HALO world: Quan Ah, a shrewd, audacious 16-year-old from the Outer Colonies who meets Master Chief at a fateful time for them both.”
It sounds as though series co-executive producers Kyle Killen (Awake) and Steve Kane (The Last Ship) will stick to the basic Halo story of the forces of Earth locked in a desperate battle with the destructive alien race known as the Covenant. But with a charismatic actor like Schreiber on board to play Master Chief, fans of the series may have to prepare themselves for an interpretation of the character that may vary considerably from how he’s been portrayed in the games. For now, the casting announcement should get people talking about the Halo series, and pondering what that means for Schreiber's role as Mad Sweeney on American Gods.
Halo is set to begin production in 2019.