Still from live-action 'Halo' series
Paramount Plus

‘Halo’ Could Raise the Bar for Video Game Adaptations

After years in "development hell," the live-action adaptation of 'Halo' is finally coming to Paramount Plus. The first-look trailer makes big promises, but can the troubled production deliver?
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We’ve been waiting on a Halo adaption for what feels like forever. It’s finally happening, and the first teaser trailer for the upcoming Paramount Plus series looks like it will deliver the sci-fi epic that fans have always hoped to see.

The trailer begins with Natascha McElhone’s gentle, cultured voice announcing, “You’re special.” Her narration continues over a montage of breathtaking vistas, explosions, and glimpses of the main characters. As the music rises to a crescendo, we see the familiar helmeted visage of Master Chief, the protagonist of the video game franchise.

Here’s What You Need to Know

For gamers, Halo and Master Chief need no introduction. For everyone else… well, you might not be able to figure out what’s happening based on the teaser trailer above.

Master Chief is a Spartan, a super-soldier created by Dr. Catherine Halsey to protect humanity against the threat of alien invaders. Cortana is the most advanced AI to have ever existed and serves as Master Chief’s companion. (Yes, Microsoft named its version of Siri after her.)

Cortana
Xbox Entertainment Studios

The Paramount Plus series will star Pablo Schreiber as Master Chief, Natascha McElhone as Dr. Catherine Halsey, Yerin Ha as Quan Ah, and Bokeem Woodbine as Soren-066. Jen Taylor will portray Cortana; she has voiced the character throughout the game franchise.

Will Hollywood Finally Get It Right?

Video game adaptations are hit or miss in Hollywood. Although the Resident Evil series is still going strong, we’d all rather forget that the Warcraft movie ever happened. Will Halo fare better? Signs aren’t looking great, to be honest.

It’s been a struggle to get Halo to any screen, big or small. Microsoft first optioned the game in 2005, with Peter Jackson signing on to produce. Guillermo del Toro was the first pick to direct, but when negotiations fell through (as they often do with del Toro), the studios tapped a then-unknown Neill Blomkamp.

Promotional artwork for 'Halo Infinite'
Xbox Entertainment Studios

Things fell apart, to put it mildly. Jackson and Blomkamp departed the picture and made District 9 together instead, earning themselves four Academy Award nominations. After the film went down in flames, Xbox Entertainment Studios turned its sights to television. Five whole years later, the series was finally due to start filming in 2018.

Then it was stalled again because of a shakeup in the production team. Then a certain global event happened in 2019 that delayed the series again.

At last, filming officially began in February of this year. The series will be released in early 2022–if nothing else goes wrong. Considering that the showrunners, Steven Kane and Kyle Killen, both quit before the first season aired, fans might very well be concerned about whether Paramount Plus will do the game dirty.