Like a lot of things that were popular in the 2000s, Microsoft and 343 Industries’s Halo franchise was optioned for film a long time ago. The first attempt at making a film started promisingly in 2005, with a script by Alex Garland (fresh from the success of 28 Days Later) and Peter Jackson attached as an executive producer, but financial concerns later sank the project.
343 Industries later made the web-series Forward Unto Dawn as part of the lead-up to Halo 4, and Nightfall, starring Mike Colter (“Luke Cage”), as an origin story for one of the protagonists of Halo 5. Halo was later announced as a live-action series that was reported to be in development exclusively for Xbox Live, with no less than Steven Spielberg attached as executive producer, but the project was later quietly canceled.
On Thursday, seemingly out of nowhere, Halo‘s losing streak may have ended. David Nevins, CEO of the Showtime network, announced via Xbox Wire that the Halo franchise is coming to television. The current plan is that the series, currently under the working title of “Halo,” is slated to enter production for a 10-episode season in early 2019, with Kyle Killen as showrunner and Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) as executive producer and director on several episodes.
Details about its place in the timeline are currently unknown, but the initial announcement seems to suggest that the TV show will be set during the war between humanity and the Covenant, which was the setting for the first three games in the main Halo series, as well as the prequel Halo: Reach. Nevins describes “Halo” as Showtime’s “most ambitious series ever.”
Kiki Wolfkill, 343 Industries’s Head of Transmedia and current leading contender for Best Name in the Video Game Industry, said on Halo Waypoint, “As we think about what it means to bring videogame franchises to movie or TV – the biggest challenge can often be finding the right balance between moments fans have already experienced and moments that have yet to be experienced through a different medium, perspective, or creative lens. We are excited to navigate these creative waters to bring you something that is both respectful of what you already know and love, but also new and surprising and enthralling.”
— Kiki Wolfkill 🍜 (@k_wolfkill) June 28, 2018
The Halo series began in 2001 with Halo: Combat Evolved, a launch title and system exclusive for the original Xbox. It was originally developed by the Bellevue-based studio Bungie, which was acquired outright by Microsoft in 2000; Bungie later went independent in 2007 and would go on to produce the cross-platform title Destiny, published by Activision.
MIcrosoft subsequently founded a new studio in Kirkland in 2009, 343 Industries, which is named for the guardian of the first Halo from the original game, 343 Guilty Spark. 343 took over development on the Halo franchise in 2009 and thereafter, beginning with Halo 4.