Announced in 2013 and met with multiple delays, the Halo TV series is finally moving forward. This live-action adaptation of the critically acclaimed video game series is set to premiere on Paramount Plus in 2022.
The TV series will explore the details of the struggle between the United Nations Space Command and the Covenant. The story will be told through the eyes of Master Chief, a genetically modified super soldier working for the UNSC. Learn everything there is to know about the upcoming television series before it airs on Paramount+.
What Is Halo?
Halo is a military science fiction video game franchise created by Budgie, Inc. The game follows the experiences of a cybernetically enhanced super-soldier nicknamed “Master Chief” and his artificial intelligence companion, Cortana.
Master Chief is a part of an elite group of super-soldiers called Spartans. The Spartans are recruited and trained by the UNSC from a very young age, and their main mission is to suppress rebellion from the Outer Colonies. They are eventually drawn into battle with an alien race called the Covenant, who seek to activate a dangerous weapon of mass destruction.
Halo would prove to be a monumental success, with the first three releases earning universal acclaim and demolishing sales records on launch day. The original trilogy was followed by a series of spin-off games which were also met with considerable success. The franchise brought the science fiction genre and the shooter sub-genre back into the limelight. It also popularized games with armored protagonists.
The Halo Plot Explained
The Halo game follows the adventures of Master Chief, a cybernetically enhanced super soldier and member of the Spartans. The Spartans were recruited and trained from a young age by the United Nations Space Command (UNSC). The Spartans’ original mission is to thwart dissent from the Outer Colonies, but the arrival of the Covenant will inevitably draw them into a violent war with the alien race.
The Covenant is a religious organization composed of different alien species from all over the galaxy. This organization worships an ancient race called the Forerunners, who are preceded by very powerful beings called the Precursors. The Precursors created the Forerunners and gave them the Mantle of Responsibility, making them the protectors of all sentient beings in the galaxy.
But it would not take long for the Forerunners to crave the power of the Precursors, while the Precursors intended to strip the Forerunners of the Mantle to give to the human race. The Forerunners instigated an all-out war with the Precursors, in which all Precursors would perish. But the Precursors would not disappear completely, as their remnants would turn into a parasitic lifeform called the Flood.
Ten million years after the Precursor-Forerunner war, ancient humans would fall as slaves to the Forerunners. The humans would resist the Forerunners to escape the Flood, and this resistance would weaken the Forerunners in their fight against the Flood. Left with no other option, the Forerunners would create a Halo Array.
The Halo Array, known simply as Halo, is a ring-shaped megastructure that can wipe out all sentient life from the galaxy. The Flood feeds and thrives on sentient life, and from the perspective of the Forerunners, the only way to defeat the Flood is to starve them out.
Halo TV Series: What We Know So Far
The first trailer for the upcoming Halo TV series premiered during The Game Awards in December 2021. You can watch it below.
The official trailer was only about a minute long, but it was more than enough to give us a glimpse into the latest creative interpretation of the popular video game. Let’s break down the trailer into the characters and settings that we can expect to see from the upcoming series.
The trailer introduces us to Master Chief in full combat gear. Specifically, we see the Chief wearing the Mark VI armor, the same armor the character wears in the video game. We also get a glimpse of other Spartans to accompany the Chief on combat missions. Soren-066, Vodik-134, and Kai-125, and Riz-028 are some of the more recognizable Spartans from the trailer.
The trailer also allowed us a glimpse of other main characters including Dr. Halsey, the brilliant scientist who conceptualized the Spartan project, and Captain Jacob Keys, the UNSC Pillar of Autumn commander. Naturally, we also get a glimpse of Dr. Halsey and Captain Keys’ lovechild, Miranda.
The trailer also includes fan-favorite Makee, a human raised by the Covenant. We also see an entirely new character named Quan Ah, a 16-year-old girl from the Outer Colonies.
Another group that we can expect to see in the series would be the Heresy of the Chosen, a small sect within the Covenant. The Chosen believe that humans are worthy of receiving the Mantle of Responsibility because they can operate Precursor technology. While many speculate that the Heresy of the Chosen raised Makee, this theory has yet to be proven.
The trailer also features several locations, some of which are new and some already familiar. The first shot features an unknown city on an unknown colony with rings in the sky, presumably one of the colonies. The trailer also includes scenes depicting faraway human colonies, and there is one scene in particular with an underground chamber with what looks to be a shrine containing a Precursor artifact.
Another scene presents us with the first image of the Rubble, which serves as the home to refugees from the UNSC-outer colony conflict. The next shot shows off the latest rendition of the High Charity, the Covenant’s holy city. This version of the city has a long beam of white light running through the spires of gifting, with docking platforms that crawl up to the city.
Halo TV Series: Cast Members
It has long been reported that Orange Is the New Black (OITNB) actor Pablo Schreiber will play the central role of Master Chief. Dr. Halsey will be played by Natascha McElhone, who is a bit younger than the original age of the character. Penny Dreadful’s David Sapani will be playing Captain Keys, while voice actress Jen Taylor will reprise her role from the original Halo series to voice Cortana.
Additionally, actor Bokeem Woodbine will portray Soren-006, while British actor Bentley Kalu will play Vannak-134. Admiral Margaret Parangosky, who in the games is the head of the Office of Naval Intelligence, will be played by actress Shabana Azmi. Natasha Culzac and Kate Kennedy will play female Spartans Riz-028 and Kai-125.
A Timeline of Halo Adaptations
Halo has been adapted into the big screen before. Several networks have brought up plans to adapt the series, but only two adaptations made it to the final cut. These adaptations were a hit or a miss, and there is much to be learned from them about the formula to having a successful series.
Here is a timeline of the Halo adaptations, as well as a brief explanation of how this latest series came to be:
Halo: Forward Unto Dawn (2013)
Halo: Forward Unto Dawn was the first-ever movie adaptation of the Halo video games. The movie has been a collaborative effort between 343 Productions and Microsoft.
The storyline follows Spartan soldiers caught in a Covenant attack on a new planet and their subsequent rescue by Master Chief. The series received overall positive feedback, with viewers praising its storyline and CGI.
Halo: Nightfall (2014)
Halo: Nightfall was released back in 2014, and is the second movie adaptation for Halo. The movie follows Captain Jameson Locke and his team as they defend themselves against an unexpected Covenant attack on the human colony Sedra.
The writers of the movie meant to establish the backstory connecting Halo 4 and 5. Unfortunately, the movie failed to meet fan expectations and the movie ultimately became a box office disaster. Viewers cited poor CGI quality and a weak plot as some of the reasons.
With an uneven track record to correct, Microsoft announced a third live-action adaptation back in 2013. However, major delays would mean that development would not begin until late 2018. The rights to the series would also pass from Microsoft to Showtime. Afterward, Showtime’s parent company Viacom CBS decided to pass on the series to their new service, Paramount +.
Paramount+ is a brand new channel, and it only debuted in March of 2021. CBS meant for the channel to replace CBS All Access. It was also a way to reflect the recent merger between video production companies Viacom and CBS. Viacom and CBS are pooling together existing shows from their respective former channels to offload into Paramount+. They are also planning to create original shows and movies, and Halo will be one of the first original productions to be featured on the channel.
When Will the Halo TV Series Come Out?
Now, onto the question that every Halo fan wants to be answered: when will the series be released? Paramount originally set the release of the series for early 2021, but the pandemic has caused production delays. The company would later announce a release for early 2022, although they didn’t include a specific date. Nonetheless, we have reason to believe that they will be able to meet their self-imposed timeline this time around.
All of this is good news for Halo fans, but there is one clincher. The series will premiere exclusively on Paramount +, which means it’s inaccessible via Netflix, Apple TV, Amazon, or HBO. Viewers in the UK can soon watch Paramount + through Sky Q and SkyGlass cable subscriptions. The service is entirely new, so it’s not surprising that they only have a limited number of subscribers. If you love video game adaptations as well as high-fiction content, then this may be the best time to subscribe to Paramount +.
Halo vs. Other Video-Game-Inspired TV Shows
The crossover of video games into primetime is gaining traction, and it has proven to be a quick way to catch the attention of many fans. Admittedly, adaptations can be a tricky thing, as some can do their original versions justice while others veer into the so-bad-it’s-good territory. So which adaptations make the cut? Let’s find out.
The Witcher is a hit HBO series based on the video game and book of the same name. The series tells of the life and adventures of Geralt of Rivia, a monster-killing mutant who belongs to a larger group of mutants called the Witchers. The story follows Geralt on his monster-slaying missions and the people he meets along the way. His life suddenly takes a turn when he accidentally acquires a Child of Surprise, as well as falls in love with a powerful sorceress.
The first season of The Witcher was a huge success. HBO then immediately granted the series a second season, which aired in December 2021. Part of its success can be attributed to the troves of fans of the original book series and video games. These are people who have already spent time reading the books and playing the games, which makes them almost guaranteed to check out the latest adaptation.
If this series taught us anything, it is that games with well-established fan bases tend to perform well on television. In the case of Halo, the game has been a household name in the shooter genre for over 20 years, which means it may have even deeper roots than The Witcher. In other words, the game may have the same built-in audience from the fandom of the original games.
While this series is free to access for all locations on Netflix, other contents are geo-restricted. It’s worth knowing that Netflix recently re-established their Netflix VPN ban, blocking access to geo-restricted content.
The Last of Us
The Last of Us is an incoming live-action adaptation of the highly successful video game series of the same name. The story takes place in the post-apocalyptic United States. A fungal plague that causes humans to turn into flesh-biting zombies has spread across the country, nearly decimating the population. The series tells the story of main characters Joel, Tess, and Ellie, as they traverse zombie-infested cities to get to a safe zone.
The series has a very different plot and setting compared to Halo. But like Halo, it will also require a lot of world-building and storytelling. Producers are eyeing this project for the long term, which suggests that the first season may focus exclusively on the game. There is no final date for the release of the series just yet. But even now, the creators are betting on the fans of the original game to cross over into the series.
Castlevania is an animated dark fantasy series on Netflix. The story follows monsters Trevor Belmont, Sypha Belnades, and Alucard as they defend the people of Wallacia from the dark forces sent by Dracula. Count Dracula seeks revenge for the murder of his beloved wife who had been accused of witchcraft. To defeat the dark forces, the monster hunter, magician, and the Dhampir son of Dracula himself must band together.
Castlevania has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers and has recently completed its fourth season. Fans of the show have cited great animation and character development as some of the factors leading to its success. Fans also appreciate that the series has remained faithful to the original game’s lore. Hopefully, these elements would be part of the Halo TV series as well.
If you like the fantasy genre, check out this list of the best fantasy movies to watch on Netflix.
Should You Be Excited for the Halo TV Series?
This is everything we know so far about the upcoming Halo TV series. If the trailer serves as an indication of the actual product, then we can expect high-quality visuals and CGI. We can also expect to see familiar characters and a storyline to match with the original trilogy.
The trailer also revealed a few new characters from opposite sides of the conflict. Hopefully, these characters would allow us some insight into the ideologies and beliefs of the Covenant and the Outer Colonies. Viacom evidently designed this series for both casual viewers and long-time fans of the games. In that case, the production team will have a lot of storytelling to do, and we are all for it.