Film+TV

Video game film adaptations tread that dangerous line between blockbuster hit, as in the case of the Resident Evil series, and cinematic car-crash, like Justin Kurzel’s 2016 Assassin’s Creed. Hopefully, ShowTime’s recently announced ten-episode stint of the immensely popular first-person shooter Halo won’t fall into the latter.

Set for release in 2020, the series will feature the original characters of Master Chief and Doctor Halsey, as well as a mysterious woman called Jenny. Knowledge of the plot is sparse, however the film is set to utilise the same framework as the franchise which, for the uninitiated, is a long-raging war over space colonies between the United Nations Space Command and their super-soldier Spartan minions and the invading Covenant – nefarious aliens who consider humans heretics to be exterminated. Fortunately, between the eight existing iterations of the game (with another in the works for 2019) it’s not likely they’ll be running out of plot material. 

Kyle Killen, the writer behind a number of TV series including Lone Star (2010) and Mind Games (2014), has been announced as the show’s executive producer, writer and showrunner while Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), will direct multiple episodes and also act as executive producer.

In spite of Killen’s limited experience in the sci-fi world, Gary Levine, Showtime’s President of Programming, cited this as the exact reason he was chosen.”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 armour of the Spartans and really getting inside the human drama so it felt like it belonged on Showtime,” said Levine. 

With most of the action for this space-based project set to take place in front of a green screen, there is some suggestion the show might air as early as 2020. Having already sat in development for the best part of four years, the support of Steven Spielberg’s production company Amblin TV, will undoubtedly help set the world of Spartans and spaceships into action.