According to Hollywood Reporter, Showtime is to adapt the Halo franchise as a live-action series. The initial run is to consist of 10 episodes. The executive producers are to be Kyle Killen, Rupert Wyatt, Scott Pennington and Amblin Entertainment’s Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank. Killen is also to be lead writer. Wyatt will be directing multiple episodes. The Halo title is published by Microsoft Studios, who have licensed the distribution rights to Showtime, a division of CBS Corporation. Microsoft Studios still retain production rights, and will be producing the series under the banner 343 Industries, which was formed specifically as the Halo development company. International distribution rights are held by CBS Studios International. Development on a live-action Halo series for Showtime began 4 years ago as a first-look deal, before being released on Xbox Video – that distribution model’s current status remains undisclosed at this stage. Production is scheduled to begin early 2019. Previous live action tie-in products to Halo include: The Life, a short film promoting Halo 3: ODST; and Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn on Machinima, a miniseries promoting Halo 4, in-which Halo‘s primary protagonist MCPON John-117 was voiced by Alex Puccinelli from motion capture provided by Daniel Cudmore, who could both return for this series in the same way. While being Halo‘s iconic character, John-117 could also be the prospect of a live action serial adaptation’s biggest problem, due to his face being rarely seen and voice being rarely heard. While this explains his success as a video game character – being like a blank canvas in order for players to project themselves onto him – this doesn’t make for a compelling lead character in a television serial drama, which is not connected to its audience in the personal, subjective way that video games are. Another issue is the risk of him being overpowered – something else that is more of an issue than an interactive medium. And yet, the Halo franchise has become the best-selling title for Xbox, and as its protagonist, John-117 has thus become the Xbox mascot, in much the same way that Mario represents Nintendo or Crash Bandicoot represents PlayStation. Even Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn included John-117 at least somewhat. At this point, not including John-117 would be foolish, despite the character flaws that would need be solved or reduced when doing so. It’s currently unknown what the serial’s focus will be, including whether or not it will tie-in to the continuity of the Halo games or be its own retelling. An adaptation of a game franchise with as much mythology as Halo would be more suited to television due the advantages of the medium for telling long-form stories that can develop, rather than being condensed into a film. No video game film adaptation has been a critical success, compared to Netflix’s Castlevania, which was. Whatever happens, this Halo series will prove whether or not the franchise is still popular enough or whether its past its peak cultural relevance.
Timeline of the Halo franchise: Halo: Combat Evolved (2001) Halo 2 (2004) Halo 3 (2007) Halo 4 (2012) Halo 5: Guardians (2015) Halo is property of Microsoft Corporation.