Showtime Gives Series Order to ‘Halo’ Adaptation

Showtime has given a series order to its long-gestating adaptation of the videogame series “Halo.”

Kyle Killen is on board to serve as showrunner and exec producer. Rupert Wyatt (“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”) will direct several episodes and serve as exec producer for Amblin Television, Showtime and Microsoft/343 Industries. Showtime has ordered 10 episodes of the project that has been in development at the pay cabler for several years.

Showtime’s spin on Microsoft’s popular game will revolve around an “epic 26th-century conflict between humanity and an alien threat known as the Covenant.” The series promises to present a “richly imagined” vision of the future mixed with “deeply drawn personal stories.”

“ ‘Halo’ is our most ambitious series ever, and we expect audiences who have been anticipating it for years to be thoroughly rewarded,” said David Nevins, president-CEO of Showtime Networks. “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.”

Production is expected to begin early next year. Showtime has been developing “Halo” for more than four years. Scott Pennington and Amblin TV’s Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank will also exec produce. CBS Studios International will handle international distribution of the series.

Killen’s past TV credits include creating and showrunning dramas including NBC’s “Awake,” Fox’s “Lone Star” and ABC’s “Mind Games.”

The “Halo” franchise, the most identifiable series of games created for Microsoft’s Xbox gaming console, has a long history of courting film and television adaptation. That started in 2005, when then-Columbia Pictures president Peter Schlessel had Alex Garland write a script for a film adaptation and then shopped it to studios via couriers dressed as the game’s hero: Master Chief. Despite largely unfavorable terms, 20th Century Fox and Universal partnered to produce a film with Peter Jackson as executive producer and Neill Blomkamp as director. The project lingered until 2007 when it collapsed and rights reverted to Microsoft.

Over the next seven years, Microsoft released a few digital, online only shorts and series. In 2012, Microsoft launched Xbox Entertainment Studios with plans to produce a range of content including film and TV adaptations of “Halo.” But the studio venture was shuttered in 2014 amid a regime change at the software giant.

Brian Crecente contributed to this report.

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