The first proper footage from the eagerly-awaited "Halo" TV series on Paramount Plus has arrived, the live-action adaptation of the famous first-person shooter Xbox games.
One of the flagship franchises for Microsoft's Xbox, "Halo" is a military-style, sci-fi/fantasy video game series that focuses on the experiences of Master Chief John-117, one of a group of super soldiers code-named Spartans, together with Cortana, his artificial intelligence companion. The original trilogy of games centers on an interstellar war between humanity and an alliance of aliens known as the Covenant. You can see our guide to the Halo games ranked best to worst for more.
Aside from the primary cast members, not a great deal is known about the series. Pablo Schreiber will play Master Chief Petty Officer John-117 — the star of the games — and joining him is Jen Taylor (Cortana), Charlie Murphy (Makee), Kate Kennedy (Kai-125) and Natascha McElhone will play Dr. Catherine Halsey, the creator of the Spartan-II Program and the Mjolnir Powered Assault Armor.
The first entry into the franchise launched back in 2001, not long after the very first Xbox, and its instant popularity contributed significantly to the success of Microsoft's inaugural games console. Since then, Halo has become one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time, selling over 81 million copies worldwide as of February 2021.
The footage offers a brief glimpse of the Master Chief's mark VI Mjolnir armor, together with High Charity, the holy city of the covenant, PO2 Kai-125 (Kennedy), Vannak-134 (Bentley Kalu), D77-TC Pelican troop carriers and more.
"You're special," Dr. Halsey (McElhone) says in the voiceover. "In fact, I'm counting on it. We're lost in the dark, but you give people hope and I will always be with you. I see this, as a new beginning."
The reaction has been mostly very positive from fans — some are concerned it won't faithful to the game history — but it's also gone largely unnoticed that Steven Spielberg is an executive producer on the series. That said, he's just one of 10 executive producers on the show and we've already seen on "Star Trek: Discovery" how Paramount Plus feels the need for an extraordinary amount of producers, co-producers, executive producers and co-executive producers on shows like this. So, how much contribution he has and exactly what that is, will probably never be known.
This has also reignited talk of Neill Blomkamp's "Halo" project back in 2005. The project had an impressive list of supporters, including Peter Jackson, who was set to produce and Alex Garland who had written the script. Conceptual work even got as far as a trailer of sorts, plus some props, including a fully functional Warthog, made by Jackson's New Zealand-based prop and special effects studio, Weta. Tragically, Fox and Universal didn't have the foresight that these visionaries had, there were disagreements, budget cuts and eventually the whole project was killed.
The latest game in the series, "Halo Infinite" was released on Dec. 8 on Windows PC and Xbox Series X. "Halo" the TV series will premiere in the US sometime in 2022 and will be distributed globally by CBS Studios International.