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‘Halo’: Master Chief Will Be a Character, and Series Goes ‘Beneath the Formidable Armor of the Spartans’

TCA: Showtime chiefs discussed the latest on the series adapted from the popular video game franchise.

Master Chief at HaloFest to celebrate the launch of Halo: The Master Chief Collection on Xbox One at the Avalon Theatre in Los Angeles onHaloFest for Xbox One, Los Angeles, USA

Matt Sayles/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Master Chief will appear as a character on the upcoming Showtime series adaptation of “Halo,” Showtime president and CEO David Nevins and president of programming Gary Levin told reporters on Monday at the Television Critics Association press tour panel for the network. But whether or not fans will be able to see Master Chief’s face still remains a mystery.

“It is a key question and an important part of our series,” said Levin. “He is a lead character.”

In June, Showtime had announced that Rupert Wyatt (“Planet of the Apes”) would direct several episodes of the 10-episode season written by Kyle Killen (“The Beaver,” “Mind Games”), who will also act as showrunner. While fans can expect huge set pieces and battles, the series will also be heavy on character-based drama as well.

“We made a conscious decision to hire a writer not known for sci-fi and not known for big-battle movies or anything because that’s already baked into the ‘Halo’ franchise, and we will service that,” Levin said. “We also wanted to ensure that we’re getting beneath the formidable armor of the Spartans and really getting inside the drama so that it really felt like it belonged on Showtime… Our hopes and dreams are that this will have enormous appeal to ‘Halo’ fans and it will also appeal to Showtime drama fans.”

Nevins added, “It took us a long time to get a script where we felt like we had something that was really, really interesting and felt like it belonged on Showtime in terms of character depth. It’s going to be a big show.”

Although the series will delve deeper into the stories of the characters, Halo fans shouldn’t worry that it will deviate too much. “It is a new story, but we are being incredibly respectful of the canon, and working with Microsoft 343 people so we don’t violate any of that,” said Levin.

The series is still in the development stages, and production has not yet started, but once it does, it will be quite a massive effort.

“It will be [shot at] a studio backlot but there will be multiple locations,” said Levin. “It’s an enormous undertaking, so I’d say probably [it will air] in 2020.”

“Halo,” set in the 24th century, focuses on an interstellar war between humans and an alien race known as the Covenant, largely through the eyes of Master Chief John-117, an enhanced supersoldier, and his AI companion Cortana. The franchise has sold more than 77 million copies worldwide and earned more than $5 billion in sales.

Additional reporting by Michael Schneider.

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