The long-awaited live-action series based on the Halo video game franchise is almost here.
Though the show has been available in the US for a number of weeks now, it comes to UK screens for the first time with the launch of Paramount+ this week.
It’s been a great journey to get the Halo TV series to screens.
Originally planned to release in 2015 with none other than legendary director Steven Spielberg signed on as producer, the show underwent “development hell”.
It was pushed back to 2019 - and with Spielberg no longer on board - and then 2020.
A final setback occurred when production was affected by the Covid-19pandemic; the series is finally seeing its release in 2022.
Here is everything you need to know about it.
What is Halo?
Halo is a long-running series of sci-fi themed video games, and the jewel in the crown of Microsoft’s portfolio of titles released for its Xbox consoles.
Launched in 2001, the first game - Halo: Combat Evolved - introduced players to an epic narrative centred around an 26th century interstellar war between humanity and an alliance of aliens known as The Covenant.
It also introduced the world to Master Chief, one of a group of legendary super soldiers code-named Spartans, and his AI companion, Cortana.
The popularity of those characters saw them go on to be synonymous with Microsoft and their gaming output; the company even elected to name its Windows assistant ‘Cortana’.
The majority of the series’ earlier games take place on vast, ring-shaped worlds (or ‘Halos’) that serve as both habitable environments and super weapons built by an ancient alien race known as the Forerunners.
Their purpose is to starve a parasitic life form called the Flood of food should there ever be an outbreak, by eradicating all sentient life from the galaxy.
But the Covenant - led by shadowy Prophets - believe them to be artefacts of religious significance, the activation of which would see their race embark on a “Great Journey”.
Humanity’s attempts to stop the Covenant from “lighting” the rings - led by Master Chief - forms the backbone of the games’ narrative.
With the games selling over 80 million copies worldwide - and grossing more than $3 billion - Halo is one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time, and now spans best-selling novels, comic books and feature films.
Who stars in it?
Pablo Schreiber will star in the Halo TV series as Master Chief.
Schreiber is a Canadian-American actor perhaps known for portrayal of Nick Sobotka in The Wire, or his role as "Pornstache" in Orange Is the New Black, for which he received a Primetime Emmy nomination.
Cortana will be played by Jen Taylor, a prolific voice actress reprising her role from the video game series.
They’ll be joined by English actor Natascha McElhone (The Truman Show) as Dr. Catherine Halsey, the creator of the Spartan-II Project which birthed Master Chief, as well as the scientist whose cloned brain serves as the foundation for Cortana.
Yerin Ha will play Kwan Ha Boo, Charlie Murphy (Peaky Blinders, Happy Valley) is Makee, Shabana Azmi (24) portrays Admiral Margaret Parangosky, and Bokeem Woodbine (Spider-Man: Homecoming, Fargo) is Soren-066.
When can I watch it?
The series debut on Paramount+ in the US on 24 March 2022.
However, since the new streaming service has not yet been made available in the UK, British fans have missed out on watching the show. At least through legitimate means.
That changes this week though, with the release of Paramount+ in the UK.
Paramount+ will launch in the UK on 22 June, so the series will be available to stream for British viewers from that date.
The new Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ competitor will have a massive library ready to stream right away, with hits like the new Scream film and the cult series Yellowjackets available at launch.
Will it be on Channel 5?
Channel 5, which is also owned by Paramount, is joining the festivities by offering everyone in the United Kingdom a free sample of Halo.
The first episode will air on Channel 5 on Wednesday 22 June 2at 10pm as a “Paramount+ Presents” preview showing.
Halo's first episode will not be accessible for catch-up on My5 after the 'live' broadcastt, and will only be available to stream on Paramount+.
You'll need a Paramount+ subscription if you want to see the future episodes of Halo.
Will there be a Season 2 of Halo?
Halo is one of Paramount Plus' most ambitious productions, and a second season of the science fiction series has been confirmed.
During a presentation in February 2022, ViacomCBS announced that the show would be renewed for another season.
Season 2 was announced even before Season 1 premiered, indicating that the network believes in Halo's live-action adaptation.
As for when we might be able to watch the next instalment of the series, it could be a couple of years off yet.