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The Real Reason Halo Is A TV Series Instead Of A Movie

In some alternate universe, there is no "Halo" TV series premiering on March 24, but a massive feature film of the best-selling Xbox video game franchise, produced by Peter Jackson and directed by Neill Blomkamp. A movie adaptation of the games was planned once upon a time, and Blomkamp was set to make his directorial debut with the project. But, alas, the project never got off the ground; instead, Blomkamp and Jackson teamed up on "District 9" in 2009.

Now, in this timeline, "Halo" has come together in the form of a Paramount+ streaming series consisting of nine episodes in its first season. The Pablo Schreiber-led show is a massive swing for the Paramount project, costing over $90 million to produce, as detailed in a new look at the upcoming series from Variety. It has also already been greenlit for a second season, a public sign of confidence from the streamer ahead of the premiere. Most video game adaptations are made for the big screen, like this year's "Uncharted," and many have failed to connect with audiences in a big way, like "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time." And so, "Halo" will be a kind of test for video game adaptations as an expensive TV series on a fairly new streamer.

What many fans may be wondering, especially considering the project's long and somewhat chaotic development history, is how the "Halo" video games went from potential blockbuster movie adaptation to what may be one of the biggest shows for the still-growing Paramount+ streaming platform. Luckily, Variety has revealed that answer through interviews with the show's creatives.

The length of the Halo game informed the decision to adapt for television

According to Variety's in-depth look at the journey to bring "Halo" to Paramount plus, it is revealed that, following Microsoft's uneasy partnership with Hollywood during the long development of "Halo" as a movie, they brought in new partners in 343 Industries. It was decided that the mistake they were making was in trying to translate the massive world of this epic first-person shooter into a film rather than focus on television.

"Especially coming out of the movie experience, it's like, we get one big swing at this, so let's take the time to do it right," Microsoft executive Kiki Wolfkill told Variety about the switch of medium. She also shared that the company's other lesson from their Hollywood days was finding collaborators before drafting a script. Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television ended up being the collaborators Microsoft needed. After a call to the "Ready Player One" director, Microsoft was able to make a pitch, presenting the massive world of "Halo," which includes not only the games but also lots of tie-in material, like novels dig deeper into the life of Master Chief. The sheer amount of material and world-building that existed convinced Amblin that television was the right route for "Halo."

"We didn't talk about the game. We talked about the characters and the world. So I never felt limited by it being a game," showrunner Steve Kane told Variety. A "Halo" movie is likely off the table considering the show, but fans will always have "District 9" in its place, a movie Neill Blomkamp has suggested might not exist without his "Halo" non-starter production.