After years of development hell, Showtime’s Halo series is coming, and Variety reports that the project has cast its final three characters as it prepares to enter production.
The series is based on the long-running Xbox franchise, which depicts a war between humanity and an alliance of aliens known as The Covenant. In the original video game, players are introduced to Master Chief, a super soldier clad in power armor that is forced to fight his way off of an ancient alien ringworld, which contains a secret that could devastate the galaxy.
— Halo on Showtime (@SHO_Halo) November 8, 2019
Variety says that Showtime has brought on Danny Sapani (Black Panther, Star Wars: The Last Jedi), Olive Gray (Home from Home), and Charlie Murphy (Peaky Blinders) to star as Captain Jacob Keyes, Dr. Miranda Keyes, and Makee, respectively. According to the show’s official Twitter feed, production on the show will soon begin.
Two of those names should be familiar to Halo fans: Captain Keyes comes from the original game as the commander of the UNSC Pillar of Autumn, which crash-landed on the titular Halo ring. He’s described as a “dedicated military man, a war hero, and a caring father,” who “finds that working alongside his daughter and his ex-wife is usually the cause of conflict rather than comfort.” Dr. Miranda Keyes is his daughter (and the daughter of Dr. Catherine Halsey.) She originally appeared in Halo 2 and Halo 3, and is described as a “brilliant UNSC Commander who is dedicated to understanding the technology, language and culture of the Covenant, but she’ll have to learn to navigate the politics of the UNSC to get what she wants.”
Makee is a human who was raised by the Covenant, and appears to be a character original to the series. The characters point to a series set prior to the events of the original game, potentially setting up the galactic conflict ahead of some of the franchise’s more memorable moments.
The Halo franchise has famously had its ups and downs when it comes to a live-action adaptation. In 2005, 20th Century Fox and Universal Studios partnered to begin work on an adaptation, with a script written by Ex Machina‘s Alex Garland, which would have been directed by Neill Blomkamp. That project ultimately collapsed, although Blomkamp directed a fantastic live-action short film. Microsoft later produced an online series called Forward Unto Dawn to help promote Halo 4, which was later recut as a standalone film, and produced Halo: Nightfall, a five-episode, live-action series that tied in with Halo 5.
This particular project has been in the works since 2013, when 343 Industries announced that Steven Spielberg would produce the show for Showtime. While Blomkamp was rumored to be in line to direct, Showtime later announced that Kyle Killen (Awake) would act as showrunner, with Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Captive State) would direct the pilot, which would begin in 2018. However, Wyatt later stepped down, and Showtime announced that Otto Bathurst (Black Mirror, Robin Hood), would helm the series.
Earlier this year, Showtime announced that it had cast Pablo Schreiber (American Gods) as the show’s main character, Master Chief, along with Yerin Ha, who’ll play Quan Ah, teenager from the Outer Colonies. Other cast members include Natasha Culzac (Riz-028), Bently Kalu (Vannak-134), Bokeem Woodbine (Soren-066), and Natascha McElhone as Master Chief’s AI companion, Cortana and as Dr. Catherine Halsey. The series is expected to debut on Showtime sometime in 2021.