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Why The Halo Movie Might Still Happen

To some, the Halo video game series is all about extremely addictive multiplayer death matches set in the games' futuristic world. But many have played every title in the nearly 20-year old franchise because of its narrative that is rich in lore, complex characters, and jaw-dropping plot twists. Set 500 years in the future, the Halo series touches on themes of living in a militarized society, colonization, the purpose of humanity in an intergalactic world, and the implications of artificial intelligence. And the shooting is pretty fun, too.

If you've ever played the game and thought, "Wait, this would make an incredible movie," well, you're not alone. There have been attempts to bring the franchise to the big screen basically since its inception. However, it still hasn't come to pass, and as of the time of writing, there is no planned live-action Halo movie on the horizon.

Don't lose hope, though, as the prospect of a Halo movie isn't exactly dead. While previous attempts to bring the story of Master Chief and the war with the Covenant to life have failed thus far, there's reason to have faith that the games may one day receive the blockbuster movie treatment they so rightly deserve. Here's why a Halo movie isn't out of the picture.

Microsoft tried hard to get a Halo movie off the ground

Many popular video games have a long history of would-be movie adaptations that always seem to be a few years away, but never actually come close to making it past the concept stage. Halo is no different. The game actually came very close to getting its own movie thanks to an ambitious push by Microsoft in the 2000s. The company put serious effort — and serious money — into trying to make a Halo movie a reality.

Things really kicked into high gear in 2005, when Microsoft allegedly paid Alex Garland, the screenwriter of 28 Days Later, Ex Machina, and Annihilation, $1 million to pen a screenplay for a Halo movie (via Variety). The million-dollar script led to a fraught negotiation between Microsoft and several movie studios for the rights to the series. This resulted in some impressive talents, including Peter Jackson, Guillermo Del Toro, and then-up-and-comer Neill Blomkamp attaching themselves in various capacities. Props were even being fabricated for the movie. However, according to a report by Wired, the movie failed to get off the ground due to budgetary concerns, which some think were a result of Microsoft's overly aggressive negotiating tactics.

After that, the possibility of the Halo movie being resurrected occasionally resurfaced, including rumors that Ridley Scott was involved. But in 2014, Microsoft put the idea to rest by declaring the film officially dead ... for the time being (via Cosmic Book News).

But a great idea never really dies, and a new strategy for a Halo adaptation took root.

A Halo series is on the way from Showtime

When Cortana closes the door on a film production, she opens a window for a cable show. While there may not be concrete plans for a Halo movie at this moment in time, there is a Halo TV series, executive produced by none other than Steven Spielberg, currently in production at Showtime.

In 2018, the series got the green light for a ten-episode first season, and in 2019, Pablo Schreiber was cast as Master Chief. He was joined by British actress Natascha McElhone, who will play both the AI Cortana and Dr. Catherine Halsey, Fargo's Bokeem Woodbine as SPARTAN warrior Soren-066, and icon of Indian cinema Shabana Azmi as Admiral Margaret Parangosky (via Variety).

As for the plot of the show, Gary Levine, President of Programming at Showtime, gave an interview to IGN where he clarified, "It is a new story but we are being incredibly respectful of the canon and working with the Microsoft/343 people to be sure we don't violate any of that."

Although a TV series isn't the big blockbuster movie fans have likely been imagining, it does provide the opportunity to test out Halo as a live-action series. If the series is a hit, it could have studios rethinking the idea of a big-screen adaptation.

Live-action video game adaptations are starting to overcome their stigma

Live-action video game adaptations have been a surprisingly tough nut for Hollywood to crack, but in the past few years, they seem to be getting closer to figuring out the formula.

The 2018 Tomb Raider film starring Oscar winner Alicia Vikander didn't exactly set the box office on fire, but it did well enough with audiences and critics to get a sequel greenlit. Despite a rocky start, Sonic the Hedgehog scored solid reviews and outperformed its box office expectations, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

There are also several high-profile and hotly anticipated new adaptations coming up, such as Mortal Kombat, Resident Evil, Uncharted, and Monster Hunter. While these films don't guarantee that fans will get the live-action Halo blockbuster that they've been dreaming of, it does signal that Hollywood is potentially on the cusp of figuring out how to make a video game adaptation that does well financially and gets love from fans and critics. Considering Halo remains a massively popular video game property, the success of video game adaptations in general bodes well for its prospects.