Speaking at the Television Critics Association yesterday, Showtime’s President of Programming Gary Levine discussed the premium cable network’s proposed TV series in the works based on the popular “Halo” video game franchise.
They confirm that the game’s iconic character Master Chief is a lead character in the series, but handling the fact that you never see his face in the game and then making that work on camera in a dramatic series format is “a key question and an important part of our series is all I say”.
Rupert Wyatt will direct from a script by Kyle Killen and Levine says Killen’s idea for the series is NOT a repeat any of the stories from the various “Halo” games:
“I think it’s about the writing. I think Kyle Killen is a really deep interesting character writer. The premise for us was always it needs to stand alongside our other Showtime shows and look like it belongs there while at the same time servicing the fans of this enormous franchise. We don’t worry about the odds. We just plow ahead and we’re very optimistic.
It is a new story, but we are being incredibly respectful of the canon and working with Microsoft 343 people to be sure we don’t violate any of that. We made a conscious decision to hire a writer not known for sci-fi or big battle movies because that’s already baked into the Halo franchise and we will service that but we also wanted to make sure we were getting underneath the armor of the Spartans to the human drama, so it felt like it belonged on Showtime. Our hope is it will appeal to Halo fans and Showtime drama fans.”
Showtime CEO David Nevins is adamant this is “futuristic space-based science fiction” and NOT fantasy ala “Game of Thrones” and “Star Wars”. He says:
“There’s been one iconic franchise in my opinion in the history of television in that category and that’s Star Trek. Probably 10 or 12 of the top 20 movies of all time are futuristic sci-fi. It’s weird that television hasn’t turned up those kinds of franchises… Battlestar Galactica. I give great credit especially the second time around.”
Understandably the show is a long time off with Levine saying: “It’s an enormous undertaking, so I would say probably in 2020.” Finishing scripting and then casting are still yet to be done, while filming will likely be limited to sets and sound stages due to much of the locations being foreign planets.