Halo TV Show: Everything We Know About Showtime’s Video Game Adaptation

If it feels like you’ve been waiting years for the Halo TV show to actually happen, it’s because you have been. It was back in 2013 when a Halo series was first being developed, with Steven Spielberg as executive producer. That never happened, though. Thankfully, the story doesn’t end there.

While we haven’t seen any actual footage, the Halo TV series is real. It’s coming to Showtime eventually and is already deep into production. It remains to be seen exactly when it will premiere, but it’s been written, it’s been cast, and it’s as real as it gets.

What do we know about it, though? Quite a bit, given that there’s been no actual footage revealed at this point. The cast has been revealed, along with a number of production and story points of interest you should probably know about. Take a look below at everything we’ve learned about Showtime’s Halo TV series thus far.

What’s the story?

Quite honestly, we don’t know much about the story Halo will be telling yet. What we do know is that it’s an original one. Appearing on Gary Whitta’s Animal Talking web series, Kiki Wolfkill, who works for Halo game studio 343 Industries, said that adapting Halo for a new medium allows them to tell the story differently. “With television, we get long-form storytelling. We get to develop characters,” she explained. “We get to really dig into their backgrounds and their motivations and who they are emotionally. And they can express it as themselves as opposed to needing to reflect who they are through some of the other characters as we do in the games.”

Is it filming yet?

Yes, production on the Halo series officially kicked off in 2019. However, like practically every other global production, filming was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On November 11, series star Pablo Schreiber shared a photo of himself on the show’s set, writing, “We’re baaaack!”

Where are they shooting it?

The series is filming primarily in Budapest, Hungary.

Who is in charge?

There are actually two people in charge of Halo. It was revealed in early 2019 that the series would have two showrunners–one in the United States leading the writing team and another on set in Hungary. Steven Kane (The Last Ship) is the showrunner in charge of the writing team, while Kyle Killen (Awake) is the on-set showrunner.

The first season of the series will also feature a single director, Otto Bathurst (Black Mirror), who signed on to direct and executive produce the series in February 2019. He stepped in after Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt left the project due to scheduling issues.

Who’s playing Master Chief?

Pablo Schreiber, who you’ll most likely remember as Pornstache the prison guard on Orange Is the New Black, is taking on the role of Master Chief in the series. He’s the lead on the show, meaning Chief will be a main character, though there are plenty other familiar and new characters that will populate the series. You’ll learn about them below.

Image credit: Rodin Eckenroth/Stringer/Getty Images

Will we see Master Chief’s face?

This is, perhaps, the most important question about the Halo TV series. In the games, Master Chief never shows his face. That might not be the case on the show, though. When asked by GameSpot about this very thing in 2019, Showtime president of programming teased, “It is a key question and an important part of our series is all I’ll say.”

If we had to guess, yes, fans will see Chief without his helmet. If it happens, though, chances are it’ll be in line with The Mandalorian. That series, which is led by a character in a heavily armored helmet, very rarely unmasks its hero, making it a special moment when it happens.

Who else is in it?

A rather big cast has been announced for the show, including characters from the games and the companion novels, and even new additions. You can see the full cast list below.

  • Jen Taylor as Cortana, “the most advanced AI in human history, and potentially the key to the survival of the human race.”
  • Natasha McElhone as Dr. Catherine Halsey, creator of the Spartan supersoldier program.
  • Bokeem Woodbine as Soren-066, “a morally complex privateer at the fringes of human civilization whose fate will bring him into conflict with his former military masters and his old friend, the Master Chief.”
  • Shabana Azmi as Admiral Margaret Parangosky, who first appeared in the Halo: Ghosts of Onyx novel.
  • Bentley Kalu as Vannak-134, a cybernetically augmented trooper that serves under Master Chief.
  • Natasha Culzac as Riz-028, “a focused, professional and deadly, cybernetically enhanced killing machine.”
  • Kate Kennedy as Kai-125, “an all-new courageous, curious, and deadly Spartan supersoldier.”

Wait, wasn’t someone else was playing Cortana?

You’re not misremembering things. While Jen Taylor is reportedly playing Cortana in the series, much like she does in the games, that’s not who was originally set to play the AI character. Instead, Natasha McElhone was initially going to portray both Halsey and Cortana. However, due to scheduling conflicts brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, she will not be playing Cortana, clearing the way for Taylor to portray the role once more.

When will it debut?

The last word that was given by Showtime is that the series will debut in 2021. Of course, given delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s no telling when it will actually premiere.

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