After more than four years sitting in development, a Halo TV series based on the video game franchise has officially been given the green light by Showtime.
The premium cable network announced Thursday that it has picked up 10 episodes of the live-action scripted drama series, with Kyle Killen (Awake) set to serve as exec producer, writer and showrunner. Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) will direct multiple episodes of the series and serve as an exec producer.
The drama is produced by Showtime and Microsoft/343 Industries and counts Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television among its producers. Production on Halo will begin in early 2019.
"Halo is our most ambitious series ever, and we expect audiences who have been anticipating it for years to be thoroughly rewarded," Showtime CEO David Nevins said during the announcement. "In the history of television, there simply has never been enough great science fiction. Kyle Killen's scripts are thrilling, expansive and provocative; Rupert Wyatt is a wonderful, world-building director; and their vision of Halo will enthrall fans of the game while also drawing the uninitiated into a world of complex characters that populate this unique universe."
Halo will be executive produced by Killen, Wyatt, Scott Pennington and Amblin TV's Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank. The series will be distributed globally by Showtime corporate sibling CBS Studios International.
The Halo TV series was first unveiled in 2014, with Xbox Entertainment Studios nearing the deal to develop the take on its wildly popular video game. At the time, the plan called for the series to bow first on Showtime before moving to Xbox consoles. It's unclear if that is still in the cards.
To date, the Halo video game franchise has sold more than 77 million copies worldwide and grossed more than $5 billion in sales. The Showtime series will take place in the same universe that launched in 2001 and will dramatize an epic 26th century conflict between humanity and an alien threat known as the Covenant. Halo will weave deeply drawn personal stories with action, adventure and a richly imagined vision of the future, Showtime said.
For his part, Killen's credits include Lone Star, Mind Games and the feature The Beaver. He's repped by WME. Wyatt's credits include the upcoming sci-fi feature Captive State, Fox's The Exorcist and Turn. He's with UTA.
Halo brings Showtime back into the highly competitive genre space and offers a big swing to counter Amazon Studios' Lord of the Rings, HBO's Game of Thrones and Westworld. Helpful for Showtime is the massive preexisting fanbase associated with Halo, as the built-in brand recognition will automatically help cut through an increasingly cluttered scripted landscape.
Halo joins a Showtime scripted slate that also includes Homeland, Shameless, The Affair, Billions, The Chi, I'm Dying Up Here, Ray Donovan, SMILF and Jim Carrey vehicle Kidding.