While it won’t go into production until next year, Showtime just dropped quite a bit of interesting information about the TV adaptation of Halo they’re currently developing. The tidbits came during Showtime’s panel at the TCA press tour, a twice-annual event in which broadcast and cable networks present their upcoming shows.
When asked by GameSpot if the series, which is expected to begin shooting in 2019, would feature fan-favorite character Master Chief, both Showtime Networks president David Nevins and president of programming Gary Levine confirmed he would. What’s more, when pressed during a small group interview after the Showtime panel, Levine added that Chief would be a lead character on the show.
Longtime fans of the Halo franchise might find that odd, given that Master Chief has never shown his face. What other TV shows feature human characters that remain faceless? However, according to Levine, the issue of Chief never unmasking is central to the show.
“It is a key question and an important part of our series is all I’ll say,” he teased.
As for what the show will look like, Nevins was quick to point out this is now Showtime’s take on Game of Thrones. “It is futuristic space-based science fiction,” he said. “It is not fantasy. I think 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 and, weirdly, television hasn’t turned up those kinds of franchises.”
Of course, while this may be space-based sci-fi, writer and showrunner Kyle Killen certainly isn’t known for that genre. With credits like the TV show Lone Star and the movie The Beaver to his name, he doesn’t immediately sound like a likely candidate for the adaptation.
However, as Levine explains, “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. But we also want to ensure that we get underneath the formidable armor of the Spartans.”
And it’s important to note that Killen will not be adapting previous Halo stories. “It is a new story but we are being incredibly respectful of the canon,” Levine says. “We are working with the Microsoft/343 people to make sure we don’t violate any of that.”
As for when it will release, there is no set date. However, given the detailed world Showtime is attempting to build with the show, Levine says the best bet for when Halo will debut is “probably 2020.”