Rupert Wyatt, director on Showtime, Microsoft, and 343 Industries’ TV adaptation of “Halo,” has left the production, citing time conflicts.
Back in June, Showtime announced that it had officially ordered a 10-episode season of a TV show based on Microsoft’s Halo franchise. The plan was for the show to enter production in early 2019, with Kyle Killen (“Mind Games,” the forthcoming “Velvet”) as showrunner and co-executive producer, and Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the forthcoming Captive State) as co-executive producer and director.
Showtime’s official description of “Halo” was an “epic 26th-century conflict between humanity and an alien threat known as the Covenant,” which suggests the show is planned to be set at some point in the games’ timeline before the start of Halo 3.
This marked a sudden reversal of fortune for the larger franchise, as Halo has a notoriously checkered history with third-party adaptations. Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg have both been attached to attempts to make a film based on Halo in the past 14 years, and both projects descended into development hell before being quietly canceled. It had begun to seem that the franchise was cursed unless Microsoft and 343 made the films themselves, as they did with Nightfall and Forward Unto Dawn.
This week, the curse seems to have quietly rematerialized, as Variety reports that Rupert Wyatt has departed from the project. According to statements from Wyatt and Gary Levine, president of programming at Showtime, the demands of the production required adjustments to its schedule, which in turn created a scheduling problem for Wyatt.
343 is truly grateful for Rupert’s wisdom, friendship and shared passion for our world and its heroes. We’re excited about the progress and momentum we have going forward with @Showtime and can’t wait to share more with you in the coming months! https://t.co/nsonyuKA2D
— Kiki Wolfkill 🍜 (@k_wolfkill) December 4, 2018
Rumors have arisen in the wake of Wyatt’s departure, cited by sources such as /film, that the “production demands” Levine cited are related to the series going dramatically over budget as development on the show has gotten underway.
“Halo” is, after all, an adaptation of a larger science-fiction franchise, which is deliberately focusing on the early battles in the Human-Covenant War: a full-fledged interplanetary conflict between two spacefaring armadas, one of which canonically did a disproportionate amount of its fighting through direct orbital bombardment.
This was probably always going to be an expensive production, especially given the part of the Halo story that the producers have zeroed in on (as opposed to, say, the early days of the SPARTAN project, which would basically be about teenage cyborgs at summer camp learning how to murder people), and it’s easy to imagine it running into budget trouble.
Deadline reports that the series had been in the casting process before this, and will now attempt to find a director to step in for Wyatt. The production will continue, with tentative plans for “Halo” to begin filming in 2019.