Halo TV Series Overview (2022)


Introduction

Halo is an American military science fiction television series developed by Kyle Killen and Steven Kane for the streaming service Paramount+, loosely based on the video game franchise of the same name.

Produced by Showtime Networks, 343 Industries, Amblin Television, One Big Picture, and Chapter Eleven, the series follows a 26th-century war between the United Nations Space Command (UNSC) and the Covenant, a theocratic-military alliance of several advanced alien races determined to eradicate the human race.

Pablo Schreiber and Jen Taylor star as Master Chief Petty Officer John-117 and Cortana, with the latter reprising her role from the video game series, and are joined by Natascha McElhone, Yerin Ha, Bokeem Woodbine, Shabana Azmi, Olive Gray, Charlie Murphy, Kate Kennedy, Bentley Kalu, Natasha Culzac, and Danny Sapani.

Outline

Halo is set to follow “an epic 26th-century conflict between humanity and an alien threat known as the Covenant. Halo will weave deeply drawn personal stories with action, adventure and a richly imagined vision of the future.”

Executive producer Kiki Wolfkill revealed that the series is a standalone story that takes place within its own “Silver Timeline” and that is inspired by the game franchise rather than a continuation, adaptation, or prequel, explaining that they wished to give the two Halo canons a chance to evolve individually to suit their media.

Cast

  • Main:
    • Pablo Schreiber as Master Chief Petty Officer John-117, a towering genetically-engineered supersoldier known as “Spartan-117”. Schreiber had never played Halo until he was cast in the role.
    • Logan Shearer plays a young John-117.
    • Shabana Azmi as Admiral Margaret Parangosky, Director of ONI (Office of Naval Intelligence).
    • Natasha Culzac as Riz-028.
    • Olive Gray as Miranda Keyes, a UNSC officer and daughter of Jacob Keyes and Catherine Halsey.
    • Yerin Ha as Kwan Ha Boo, an Insurrectionist teenager from the outer colony planet Madrigal.
    • Bentley Kalu as Vannak-134.
    • Kate Kennedy as Kai-125.
    • Charlie Murphy as Makee, a human member of the Covenant who was raised and educated by the Hierarchs.
    • Danny Sapani as Captain Jacob Keyes, a seasoned UNSC commander and confidant of Master Chief.
    • Jen Taylor as the voice of Cortana, an artificial intelligence (AI) construct modelled on the brain of Dr. Halsey. She is entrusted to the care of Master Chief as her knowledge makes her an attractive target for the Covenant. Taylor reprises her role from the Halo video game series.
    • Bokeem Woodbine as Soren-066.
    • Jude Cudjoe plays a young Soren-066..
    • Natascha McElhone as Dr. Catherine Elizabeth Halsey, a scientist for the UNSC and creator of the Spartan-II Project.
    • McElhone also portrays the physical form of Cortana.
  • Guest:
    • Jamie Beamish.
    • Burn Gorman as Vinsher Grath, a Madrigal politician and UNSC collaborator.
    • Julian Bleach.
    • Keir Dullea.
    • Ryan McParland.

Production

Development

The television series had gone through development hell with a planned release in 2015 with Steven Spielberg as producer that later changed to a 2019 release with Rupert Wyatt as director and producer, then a 2020 release; ultimately releasing in 2022 with Otto Bathurst replacing Wyatt.

On 21 May 2013, Steven Spielberg was attached in executive producing a television series based on the video game franchise Halo, distributed by Xbox Entertainment Studios and Spielberg’s company Amblin Television, to be titled Halo: The Television Series. As of August 2015, the series had still been in active development.

On 28 June 2018, Showtime was given a 10-episode series order. Kyle Killen was set to be showrunner, writer and executive producer, while Rupert Wyatt was attached as director and executive producer. On 12 August, it was announced that Master Chief would be the main lead of the series and that the series would tell a new story from the video games while respecting their canon at the same time. On 03 December, Wyatt stepped down as director and EP due to scheduling conflicts. He was replaced by Otto Bathurst in February 2019, when it was reported that Bathurst would be directing the pilot along with several other episodes. It was also revealed that the episode count had decreased from 10 episodes to 9. In March 2019, Steven Kane was added as co-showrunner alongside Killen. On 24 February 2021, the series was moved from Showtime to Paramount+. Showtime president Gary Levine said that the show was an outlier for the company’s brand, and as a “big broad tentpole show” it was a better fit on Paramount’s service. On 25 June 2021, it was reported that both Kane and Killen would be exiting as show runners following the completion of season one. Killen had left prior to the start of production, due to him feeling like he was not able to fulfil the duties of showrunner, with Kane taking the reins as lead show-runner until post production work had been completed. However, should the show get picked up for a second season, Kane would not return. In January 2022, it was revealed by executive producer Justin Falvey that the show has potential to last multiple seasons and that David Wiener was being eyed as the showrunner for a potential season two, with Kane staying onboard as a consultant. On 15 February 2022, ahead its series premiere, Paramount+ renewed for a second season, with Wiener set as showrunner and executive producer.

Casting

From April to August 2019, the cast for the series was announced, with Pablo Schreiber as Master Chief. He was joined by Yerin Ha, Natascha McElhone, Bokeem Woodbine, Shabana Azmi, Bentley Kalu, Natasha Culzac and Kate Kennedy. In November 2020, Jen Taylor replaced McElhone as Cortana.

Filming

Principal photography commenced October 2019. In 2019, the series spent over $40 million on production costs. By 2021, the series’ budget had crossed the $200 million mark. The five filmed episodes were re-edited under the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, with production on the sixth episode and reshoots being planned in Ontario, Canada. Filming eventually resumed fully in Budapest in February 2021.

Music

On 14 February 2022, it was revealed that Sean Callery would compose the score for the series.

Release

Marketing

The first trailer for the series debuted online during the 2022 AFC Championship Game, while also revealing the March release date.

Broadcast

The first two episodes premiered ahead of release on 14 March at the 2022 SXSW Film Festival. The series then debuted on Paramount+ on 24 March 2022. The first episode set a record as Paramount+’s most-watched series premiere globally in its first 24 hours, though no exact viewership numbers were revealed.

Trivia

  • Natascha McElhone was originally set to voice Cortana, until she was replaced by Jen Taylor who had already voiced the character in the Halo video game series.
    • McElhone was re-cast as Dr. Halsey instead.
  • Filming began in Ontario, Canada in October 2019, although post-production for the first five episodes was affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Filming eventually resumed in Budapest, Hungary in February 2021, mostly in Korda Studios in Etyek, near Budapest.
  • There is a subtle and slight nod to the Mass Effect series.
    • A coms officer contacting Commander Shepard can be heard after John-117’s report on the Condor.
  • In the games Master Chief’s team is named Blue, but with this new time line, it is named Silver.
    • Members Fred, Kelly, and Linda have been replaced by Kai, Vannack, and Riz.

Halo Series

  • Series 02 (?2023):
    • Renewed for a second series.

You can find a full index and overview the Halo Franchise here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
    • Otto Bathurst … (9 episodes, 2022).
    • Jonathan Liebesman … (4 episodes, 2022).
    • Roel Reiné … (2 episodes, 2022).
    • Jessica Lowrey … (1 episode, 2022).
  • Producer(s):
    • Otto Bathurst … executive producer (9 episodes, 2022).
    • Robert Bernacchi … co-executive producer (9 episodes, 2022).
    • Justin Falvey … executive producer (9 episodes, 2022).
    • Darryl Frank … executive producer (9 episodes, 2022).
    • Sheila Hockin … producer (9 episodes, 2022).
    • Steven Kane … executive producer / showrunner (9 episodes, 2022).
    • Charlotte Keating … producer (9 episodes, 2022).
    • Kyle Killen … executive producer / showrunner (9 episodes, 2022).
    • Toby Leslie … executive producer (9 episodes, 2022).
    • Frank O’Connor … series producer / executive producer (9 episodes, 2022).
    • Scott Pennington … executive producer (9 episodes, 2022).
    • Karen Richards … executive producer (9 episodes, 2022).
    • Bonnie Ross … series producer / executive producer (9 episodes, 2022).
    • Steven Spielberg … executive producer (9 episodes, 2022).
    • Gian Paolo Varani … co-executive producer (9 episodes, 2022).
    • Kiki Wolfkill … executive producer (9 episodes, 2022).
    • Michael Armbruster … producer (1 episode, 2022).
    • Justine Juel Gillmer … co-executive producer (1 episode, 2022).
    • Silka Luisa … supervising producer (1 episode, 2022).
    • Mark Malone … consulting producer (1 episode, 2022).
    • Richard E. Robbins … co-executive producer (1 episode, 2022).
    • Katie Swain … consulting producer (1 episode, 2022).
  • Writer(s):
    • Steven Kane … (written and developed by) (9 episodes, 2022).
    • Kyle Killen … (written and developed by) (9 episodes, 2022).
  • Music:
    • Sean Callery … (9 episodes, 2022).
  • Cinematography:
    • Karl Walter Lindenlaub … (6 episodes, 2022).
    • Eric Kress … (2 episodes, 2022).
    • Ed Wild … (2 episodes, 2022).
  • Editor(s):
    • Dan Briceno … (3 episodes, 2022).
    • Aaron Marshall … (3 episodes, 2022).
    • Geoff Ashenhurst … (2 episodes, 2022).
  • Production:
    • 343 Industries.
    • Amblin Television.
    • Chapter Eleven.
    • Microsoft Studios.
    • Microsoft.
    • One Big Picture.
    • Showtime Networks.
  • Distributor(s):
    • Paramount+ (2021) (USA) (TV).
    • CBS Studios International (2019) (Non-US) (TV).
    • Paramount+ (2022) (Argentina) (video) (VOD).
    • Paramount+ (2022) (USA) (video).
    • ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group (2022) (World-wide) (all media).
  • Release Date:
    • Series 01: 24 March 2022 to 19 May 2022.
    • Series 02: ?2023.
  • Rating: TV-MA.
  • Running Time: 60 minutes (per episode).
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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