Showtime has announced it has hired Black Mirror and Robin Hood director Otto Bathurst to direct and produce its forthcoming live-action TV show adapting the popular video game franchise Halo. Production on the project will reportedly begin later this year. It’s the latest development in a notoriously troubled franchise that’s been struggling to get off the ground for more than five years now.
Microsoft first announced the series back in 2013, with Steven Spielberg attached as an executive director. In 2014, word broke that the show was headed to Showtime. After a couple of years of near radio silence, Showtime announced it had greenlit the show for a 10-episode first season. At the time, Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt was slated to produce and direct, but he departed several months later over scheduling conflicts.
Bathurst, Halo’s latest announced director, is known for directing the first episode of Black Mirror in 2011, “The National Anthem,” and more recently, 2018’s maligned theatrical film Robin Hood. He’s also directing a couple of episodes from the BBC’s adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. Showtime says Bathurst will direct multiple episodes and will serve as a producer on the project. Showtime has downgraded the series order from 10 episodes to nine, and it didn’t indicate a planned release date.
Halo has been a notoriously fickle property when it comes to adaptations, even before this particular attempt at a TV series. In 2005, Columbia Pictures began work on a feature film with future Annihilation and Ex Machina director Alex Garland writing the screenplay, and with Neill Blomkamp slated to direct. (Guillermo del Toro was also in the mix at one point.) That project never came to fruition, and Blomkamp went on to direct District 9. In 2012, Microsoft put together a feature-length project called Forward Unto Dawn that was split up into a series of short episodes for the web. Ridley Scott produced another web series, Halo: Nightfall, which was released in 2014, tied to the release of Halo 5.