Halo TV Show Won't Please Everyone, And That's The Point, Producer Says
"At some point, you can't satisfy all the voices. You need to have your own voice."
Halo's transmedia boss Kiki Wolfkill has shared a few small updates on the long-in-development Halo TV show. Speaking to IGN, Wolfkill said the Halo franchise as an FPS is limited in terms of its storytelling opportunity since the main storyline focuses on one character: Master Chief. But with the TV show, there is an opportunity to widen the franchise and look at more characters and plot points. The steps that Microsoft is taking with the Halo TV show may not please everyone, Wolfkill also acknowledged in the interview.
"In a first-person shooter, there is only so much of a character journey because of that wanting to maintain some of that character for people to pour into him or her," she said. "So TV gives us a long form ability to really focus on character and story in a way that's harder to relay in a first-person game."
Wolfkill alluded to this previously, saying the Halo TV show will be similar to Game of Thrones in terms of the "scope and scale and complexity of relationships."
"A lot of the background of Halo is this sort of political drama. It's something that [is touched on] really lightly in the games and you see more of in some of the other mediums," she said. "Some of that [Game of Thrones-style] complexity is interesting."
Unlike Game of Thrones, however, the Halo TV show will not feature incest. "No incest planned at all for this show, I'll say that. If you're looking for that, you won't find it here," Wolfkill said.
Going back to the IGN interview, Wolfkill said it has been a "very long journey" to making the Halo TV show. The show has been in various stages of production for years, and it faced a setback recently when production was paused due to the pandemic. Filming has restarted in Budapest under certain health and safety protocols, Wolfkill said.
"We're making progress. It feels good. We got a bunch of shooting done this winter in this post-COVID protocol world," she said.
Wolfkill also spoke about the challenge of making the Halo TV show as it relates to expanding the universe beyond what Halo players might expect or feel comfortable with.
"It's such an interesting needle to thread with beloved characters. How do you give a different perspective on them, how do you make their journey meaningful in a different way while respecting their past journey and the things that people love about the journeys they've been on already," she said. "It's a constant challenge; sometimes a struggle. There's different burdens that will go onto the TV show than the game carries. So if we can navigate where we have a little bit of freedom to try and explore some different ideas or express a character differently, we try and take those."
Wolfkill said she's happy that Halo has such a strong fanbase and community, but this also presents a challenge.
"It's amazing to have these dedicated fanbases and communities. But it's also hard because there are so many diverse perspectives. At some point, you can't satisfy all the voices. You need to have your own voice," she said.
The overarching goal for the Halo TV show is for it to tell a story that fans enjoy and that doesn't invalidate their feelings about the video game, Wolfkill said. "The hope is you can play the game and you can have this sense of who this character is, and you can love that, and then you can stop and put that aside and enjoy this other experience and get taken on a different journey," she said. "And see that character in a different way without feeling like it's impeding on the character you already have in your heart around the game."
The Halo TV show stars Orange is the New Black's Pablo Schreiber as Master Chief, with Californication's Natascha McElhone as Dr. Halsey. Jen Taylor, who voices Cortana in the video games, will voice the character on the TV show as well.
The Halo TV show will premiere in 2022 on Paramount+.