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Master Chief Will Appear In Showtime's Halo Series

Master Chief will soon suit up for (live) action.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Showtime is seeking a burly actor to fill the role of Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy John-117 — better known simply as Master Chief, the main protagonist of Microsoft's long-running Halo game series.

Casting notices obtained by the publication indicate that the "Spartan-like warrior of large build" is intended to be a series regular, making it unlikely that the character's face will be obscured at all times by his iconic green and gold helmet, as in the games.

In June, we reported that Showtime has given the series — produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment — a ten-episode order, with Awake's Kyle Killen to serve as writer, executive producer, and showrunner. Director Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) is also on board as a producer, and is expected to direct several episodes.

Now, some of the juicy details are starting to trickle out. Thanks to the leaked casting notice, we also know that Dr. Catherine Halsey — the creator of the SPARTAN-II program that produced the Mjolnir armor worn by Master Chief, and a recurring character in the games — will figure prominently in the series. Casting directors are also seeking an Asian woman between the ages of 18 and 20 for the role of "Jenny," a character that doesn't seem to have an analog in established Halo lore.

Showtime president of programming Gary Levine and CEO David Nevins made an appearance at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour back in August, where they gave fans a better idea of what they were expecting from Showtime and Killen's take on the world of Halo

"We made a conscious decision to hire a writer not known for sci-fi or big battle movies because that's already baked into the Halo franchise, and we will service that," said Levine. "But we also wanted to make sure we were getting underneath the armor of the Spartans to the human drama, so it felt like it belonged on Showtime. Our hope is it will appeal to Halo fans and Showtime drama fans."

Nevins also made a statement that may have just given away his secret ambition for the project. "I think it's a very different genre. It is futuristic, space-based science fiction," he said. "It's not fantasy. There's been one iconic franchise in my opinion in the history of television in that category and that's Star Trek."

This has to be exciting news for Halo fans, who endured years of heartbreak waiting for a live-action adaptation to materialize while a proposed big-screen version languished in development hell. Big-name directors like Alex Garland, Guillermo Del Toro, and Neill Blomkamp have all been attached at one point or another, and fans could be forgiven for giving up hope that the property would ever get the live-action treatment it obviously deserved. 

But with Showtime's knack for compelling original drama and the talented Killen running the show, their hopes could finally be realized — and everybody's favorite badass space soldier will be right in the middle of the action.

Halo is slated to begin production in June 2019.