CBS’s streaming service Paramount+ is about to get another big science fiction franchise: Halo. The long-gestating series was originally slated to air on Viacom’s premium network Showtime—with the move comes the announcement that it will debut at some point in early 2022.
The Halo series follows a long-running war between humanity and an alien alliance known as The Covenant, who are working to exterminate humanity. When a supersoldier known as Master Chief John-117 and the crew of a warship are attacked and seek refuge on an ancient alien megastructure, they discover a terrifying secret that could spell the end of sentient life in the universe.
The original game debuted in 2001, and has since expanded out into a longer series of video game sequels and prequels, as well as novels, comics, and a pair of live-action projects—two webseries that tied in with Halo 4, Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, and Halo: Nightfall. There was also a film that would have been directed by District 9 director Neill Blomkamp, but that never came to fruition.
Back in 2013, 343 Industries partnered with Steven Spielberg to produce a live-action television show adapting the games for Showtime, which went on to greenlight it back in 2018, with Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt set to direct. He’s since stepped down and was replaced by Otto Bathurst (His Dark Materials, Black Mirror).
The project tapped Pablo Schreiber (American Gods) to play Master Chief, with Natascha McElhone playing Dr. Catherine Halsey, the scientist who helped develop the SPARTAN supersoldier program. The project also features Danny Sapani (Black Panther), Olive Gray (Home from Home), and Charlie Murphy (Peaky Blinders), who’ll respectively play Captain Jacob Keyes, Dr. Miranda Keyes, and Makee. Jen Taylor, who voiced Master Chief’s AI Cortana in the games, will be back to voice the character in the series as well.
The move to Paramount+ makes sense—that will allow the studio to better compete with the likes of Disney+, HBO Max, and Netflix, giving it a deeper bench of original projects to entice subscribers. Hopefully, it will also mean that the Halo series will reach more people, given the consolidation. The move also gives Paramount+ another big science fiction series for subscribers: Viacom is pitching the streaming service as the home of Star Trek, touting Discovery, Picard, Lower Decks, and the forthcoming Prodigy, as well as whatever other projects are coming down the line for the franchise.
With the move comes more delays—the series was originally supposed to debut in 2019, but has been steadily pushed back year after year. It went into production in late 2019, but was forced to shut down for several months amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and only recently resumed. According to Deadline, the series is expected to debut sometime in the first quarter of 2022. That delay might work out in its favor, given that the next big Halo game, Halo: Infinite, is slated to be released later in 2021. Hopefully, it’ll be the last such delay.