Halo: Nightfall is a live-action Xbox Originals webseries for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, and other Microsoft devices which was released in late 2014 (part of the Halo Franchise).
Consisting of five episodes, the series was created by Scott Free Productions in conjunction with 343 Industries. Acclaimed filmmaker Ridley Scott was the show’s executive producer along with Scott Free TV President David Zucker; it was directed by television director Sergio Mimica-Gezzan.
In the series, “A strange and treacherous world exposes elite UNSC operatives to a much deeper danger.” The five episodes of Nightfall aired on the Halo Channel weekly, on Tuesdays at 4 PM PST, starting on 11 November 2014 and concluding on 09 December 2014.
Serving as an origin story for Agent Locke, a secondary playable character in Halo 5: Guardians, Nightfall is intended to connect the stories of Halo 4 and Guardians. An ONI unit under Locke’s command is deployed on the distant human Outer Colony of Sedra to investigate terrorist activity. Sedra is described as a backwater world harbouring a disdain for the Unified Earth Government and the UNSC. During their investigation, a Sedran city is attacked by a Sangheili terrorist wielding a biological weapon that only affects humans. Locke’s team is forced to work together with Sedran Colonial Guard commander Randall Aiken and his troops to track down the origin of the bioweapon. During their search, the unit is drawn to a partially intact section of Installation 04, the Halo ringworld destroyed by the Master Chief in the first Halo game. A grave threat present on the ancient construct soon turns the mission into a desperate fight for survival.
On May 15, 2014, it was announced that actor Mike Colter is set to star in the feature. Colter plays the main character, Jameson Locke, “a rising star in a futuristic army with reservations about those in command”. Locke was known tentatively as “Marlowe” during production. On 10 July 2014, it was announced that actress Christina Chong would play the series’ female lead: Talitha Macer, a member of the Sedran Colonial Guard. Many of the roles in the series were rather physically demanding and there was a focus on the actors’ fitness and athleticism in the casting process; however, it was noted that some of the cast still had difficulties with these aspects during filming.
- Mike Colter as Jameson Locke.
- Christina Chong as Talitha Macer.
- Steven Waddington as Randall Aiken.
- Luke Neal as Michael Bradley Horrigan.
- Alexander Bhat as Alistair Bov Estrin.
- Alexis Rodney as Arris Le.
- Christian Contreras as Gregory Aio Ramos.
- Eric Kofi Abrefa as Haisal Wari.
- Jennie Gruner as Samantha Wisner.
- Sarah Armstrong as Jordan Gaines.
- Shaun Blaney as Mason Hundley.
While the series had a $10,000,000 (USD) budget, equal to that of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn‘, 343 Industries considers the newer series’ scope to be larger and more ambitious in terms of character development and setting. Producer Ridley Scott was quick to accept the project when it was first pitched to him as video game tie-in media was still relatively unknown ground to him.
The name Nightfall refers to the circumstances of the main characters’ mission aboard the Halo fragment: they are forced to complete their mission in the sixteen hours the fragment’s habitable side remains in the “night” side of the star it orbits. The concept of having the main portion of the plot be set on a dying fragment of Alpha Halo came in around halfway to the script’s writing process. Director Sergio Mimica-Gezzan wanted the principal setting to act as a “character” in itself that would drive the plot dynamics as well as evolve and change over the course of the story. The idea of having the setting be a fragment of a Halo was initially conceived by Jeremy Patenaude of 343 Industries’ franchise team. The team then further refined the concept by deciding which one of the rings the Halo in question would be and how could its nature and location as given in the Nightfall story work in the broader fictional context. The franchise team put consideration into the size and shape of the fragment (including a “forensic analysis” of Installation 04’s destruction scene in Halo: Combat Evolved) as well as the logistics of moving the fragment into a different system; the concept of Halos being equipped with an emergency slipspace capability which would place them in a destructive orbit was first introduced in Greg Bear’s novel Halo: Primordium.
Filming and Effects
Nightfall was filmed in Iceland and Ireland. Filming in Belfast, Northern Ireland was reported to have started by early June 2014 and finished as of 12 June 2014, being subsequently continued in Iceland. The scenes set on the colony of Sedra were filmed in Ireland, while Iceland is used to portray the locales of the Halo fragment. Iceland was considered an ideal filming location for the Halo due to the otherworldly and rugged landscapes present there.
The cast and crew faced many difficulties due to the challenging weather conditions of Iceland. While the environment is meant to be uncomfortably hot in the series, the actual temperature was often below freezing as Iceland was experiencing the coldest recorded weather in some time in addition to frequent strong winds and rainstorms. To create the illusion of a hot environment, the cast had fake sweat applied on them which would rapidly freeze, becoming highly uncomfortable for the actors. Cast members falling over was also an everyday occurrence. Due to the hardships they faced the cast and crew would play games, place bets on falling on screen or nominate a “chief of morale” among them to keep their spirits high.
Costumes and Props
The Condor transport craft, known tentatively as the “Super Pelican”, was created for the series as a Sedran equivalent to the UNSC’s more modern dropships. A life-size set was created to portray the craft. The main characters are wearing armour that has been noted by Frank O’Connor as having been developed in Seongnam (the site of the UNSC’s Special Warfare Centre) and incorporating elements and technology from MJOLNIR, ODST and UNSC Marine armours.
The first official trailer was released on 24 July 2014, at San Diego Comic-Con, which stated that Locke’s team was tracking down reports of an element that specifically targeted humans on the distant colony of Sedra.
- Nightfall will have narrative connections to Halo: The Television Series (2022).
- The series also incorporated interactive features with the Halo Channel application for Xbox One.
- Viewers could complete challenges related to the series to unlock features that can be used in Halo games.
- Each episode had several challenges and “Second Story” videos that expand on events that were not shown in the series.
- Additionally, viewers could access the Halo Channel’s “Halo Encyclopaedia” to gain information on characters, locations, weapons, and vehicles that are featured in Halo: Nightfall.
Halo: Nightfall Series
- Chapter 01: It’s Only Just Beginning.
- Chapter 02: Sourced from Hell.
- Chapter 03: Lifeboat Rules.
- Chapter 04: Gods of the Damned.
- Chapter 05: Devil Take the Hindmost.
Every episode of Nightfall includes “Second Story” videos that expand and provide insight on characters and events of the series.
You can find a full index and overview the Halo Franchise here.
Production & Filming Details
- Sergio Mimica-Gezzan.
- Joshua Feldman … co-executive producer (5 episodes, 2014).
- Clayton Krueger … co-executive producer (5 episodes, 2014).
- Sergio Mimica-Gezzan … executive producer (5 episodes, 2014).
- Frank O’Connor … consulting producer (5 episodes, 2014).
- Paul T. Scheuring … executive producer (5 episodes, 2014).
- Kiki Wolfkill … executive producer (5 episodes, 2014).
- Ridley Scott … executive producer (1 episode, 2014).
- Lilja Ósk Snorradóttir … production executive: Iceland (1 episode, 2014).
- Snorri Þórisson … line producer (1 episode, 2014).
- Aidan Elliott … producer (2014-) (unknown episodes).
- Mark Huffam … producer (2014-) (unknown episodes).
- David W. Zucker … executive producer (unknown episodes).
- Paul T. Scheuring.
- Klaus Badelt … (5 episodes, 2014).
- Gavin Struthers … (5 episodes, 2014).
- Andrew McClelland … (5 episodes, 2014).
- Bounder & Cad (Production Service Company).
- Polyband (2015) (Germany) (DVD) (and Blu-ray).
- Release Date: 11 November 2014 to 09 December 2014.
- Rating: 12.
- Running Time: 30 minutes (per episode).
- Country: US.
- Language: English.