The road to getting an adaptation of the popular video game “Halo” to audiences has been an exceedingly long and twisted one. The game has been captivating audiences since 2001, and since that time Hollywood has been determined to bring the ambitious, intense, large-scale world it created to life.
In 2005, plans for a feature film were announced, with “Devs” creator Alex Garland working on a script. Neill Blomkamp, director of “Elysium” and “District 9,” was slated to helm the film. But after several delayed starts, then-20th Century Fox Studios and Universal required the production to reduce its budget (one of several big reasons why the series has taken so long.)
But as television series have gained both more prestige and larger budgets, the time seems ripe to finally bring “Halo” to audiences as we’re set to see on Paramount+. The 10-episode first season will take audiences into the 26th century where a group of military soldiers will try to quell the alien threat known as the Covenant.
IndieWire has compiled and answered all your burning questions to give audiences everything they need to know about “Halo,” coming March 24 to Paramount+.
1. What is “Halo” about?
According to an official synopsis, the series follows “an epic 26th-century conflict between humanity and an alien threat known as the Covenant, ‘Halo’ the series will weave deeply drawn personal stories with action, adventure, and a richly imagined vision of the future.”
2. Who stars in “Halo”?
“Halo” stars Pablo Schreiber of “American Gods” and “Orange Is the New Black” fame as Master Chief Petty Officer John-117, a genetically engineered super-soldier. Other members of the cast include Natascha McElhone as Dr. Catherine Halsey, Charlie Murphy, Yerin Ha, Shabana Azmi, and Bokeem Woodbine.
3. How much will it connect to the video game?
In an interview released to IGN last year, the series’ executive producer Kiki Wolfkill said while the show is based on the games it won’t be canon. “We’re referring to this as the Halo Silver Timeline as a way of differentiating it from core canon,” Wolfkill said. “In both protecting core canon and protecting the television story, and by that I mean being able to give ourselves the chance to evolve both and for both to be what they need to be for their mediums without colliding with each other.”
4. How is Steven Spielberg involved?
The project has languished in development, but it took Steven Spielberg’s involvement to finally get the show off the ground. Spielberg became attached to produce a television adaptation of “Halo” in 2013 through his Amblin Entertainment production company. Spielberg remains an executive producer on the project. Spielberg provided notes as production went forward. As Season 1 showrunner Steven Kane said during a recent discussion of the series for Variety, he estimated that he wrote 265 drafts of the first nine episodes. The challenge was balancing Spielberg’s notes with those made by studio 343 Industries, as well as adding in as much “Halo” mythology as possible.
5. Where can I watch “Halo?”
Though there are several Paramount-owned channels, all 10 episodes of “Halo” will be available to watch exclusively on the Paramount+ app. Their basic plan, which includes limited commercials, starts at $4.99 a month. The no commercial plan, which also includes live channels, goes for $9.99 a month.
6. When does “HALO” premiere?
The series will drop new episodes weekly starting March 24. Paramount+ has already renewed the series for Season 2.
Read IndieWire’s spoiler-free review of the first two episodes here.