It took them long enough, but Showtime finally confirmed that its upcoming Halo series will feature the video game franchise's biggest hero: the one and only Master Chief. I guess looking back on it, it would be insane for the Halo series to NOT include the most famous Spartan space marine. But then again, Halo ODST happened so we're glad Showtime realized what was important here.
The other big news? Showtime is looking at 2020 as a target date for the show. Though that's incredibly far from being a done deal, as the show hasn't started production yet and special effects will no doubt take a long time to add.
The series was in development for a very long time before being formally announced earlier this year with Awake's Kyle Killen on board to write it. And apparently Killen was handpicked for a very good reason.
"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," Showtime President of Programming Gary Levine said at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. "But we also wanted to make sure we got beneath the formidable armor of the Spartans and really get into the human drama so it belonged on Showtime. Our hopes and dreams are this will have enormous appeal to the Halo fans and also appeal to the Showtime drama fans."
Though Killen hasn't had ratings luck on broadcast television — Lone Star was critically acclaimed but lasted a sorry two episodes and Awake, a show that I LOVED, didn't get a second season — he's one of TV's top talents and should be able to take Halo past just a bunch of buff dudes killing aliens with energy swords and plasma rifles.
Showtime repeatedly touted Halo as a massive project during the panel, saying it would be the network's most ambitious show yet.
"I think it's a very different genre. It's futuristic space-base science fiction, it's not fantasy," Showtime President and CEO David Nevins said. "There's been one iconic franchise in my opinion in the history of television in that category, and that's Star Trek. Probably 10 or 12 of the top movies of all time are futuristic sci fi, and it's weird that television hasn't turned up those kind of franchises. ... It's going to be a big show."