As part of Television Critics Week celebrations, we were invited to sit-in on a panel for upcoming TV Series adaptation HALO. The military Science-Fiction series based on the wildly-popular Video Game, takes us into the 26th century where humanity face the threat of the Covenant, an alien entity. Set to premiere March on Paramount+, the Series developed by Kyle Killen and Steven Kane, stars Pablo Schreiber, Bokeem Woodbine, Charlie Murphy and Natasha McElhone.
Joining us on the Panel were:
Kiki Wolfkill, Executive Producer Steven Kane, Executive Producer Justin Falvey, Executive Producer Darryl Frank, Executive Producer Pablo Schreiber Natascha McElhone Yerin Ha Bokeem Woodbine Charlie Murphy
Executive Producer Kiki Wolfkill talks about adapting this beloved Video Game to TV and what’s involved with setting-up the backdrop in which this story is set against.
Wolfkill: “Adapting a beloved Video Game with 20 years of history, story and character development is a daunting task, but really gratifying. For us we looked at ‘How do we take the essence of the gaming experience and really express it in our own unique voice?’. From that, we set-out to build a 26th century Sci-Fi world with brutal aliens and spartan super-soldiers, artificial intelligence, military politics and ancient mystery. But at the same time against that backdrop, really tell some really personal stories and explore the humanity or lack thereof, of our characters.”.
Pablo Schreiber stars in the lead role of Master Chief and talks about landing this coveted gig.
Schreiber: “We’re very squarely in the Halo universe. It’s a show for people who love the Halo universe and just discovering the Halo universe. Master Chief is one of the most iconic and heroic characters of all time. The opportunity to explore those themes and ideas, the relationship between the warrior and the hero – what’s the similarities and where do they diverge, is what’s really interesting for me.”.
He also talks about the experience working with his Castmates on the Series.
Schreiber: “It was really wonderful to get to work with all the performers. Obviously Chief and Cortana have a very special relationship, but the history between Chief and Halsey, played by the wonderful Natasha McElhone obviously is another central core relationship. Our work together was wonderful. The Chief and Soren have this very tortured and long history as well, but also very close. So to get to do that with Bokeem also was very amazing. We also introduce a couple new characters into the lore. To get to bring Charlie‘s character Makee in and I have a lot of stuff with her towards the end of the season, is really fantastic and Charlie is amazing. And this incredible new performer Yerin Ha, came in and is playing Kwan Ha, which is a brand-new character created for our Show. To get to do all of that, to create history and continuity of the franchise, and to create all these new characters, all of it was such a thrill.”.
Natasha McElhone talks about what Halo means to her and her family.
McElhone: “I have a strange relationship with the game in that my first experience with it was finding my husband with my then one-year-old son, sitting on his lap playing Halo when he should’ve been cooking, so it was a distraction – a beloved one – in our household. So it’s very strange that it should come back around and here I find myself as part of the team bringing it to TV which is thrilling for all my kids because they all love to play Halo.”.
She tells us about her character, Dr. Catherine Elizabeth Halsey.
McElhone: “In terms of Halsey, everyone knows who she is in the game. I hope I’m building from that and the legacy that Jen (Taylor) helped create when she voices her in the game. We were trying to deep some of the other elements of the characters and perhaps build a few more branches on the tree. I’m definitely seeing her as someone who’s misunderstood.”.
Bokeem Woodbine talks about his connection the Video Gameand his character, Soren.
Woodbine: “He’s enterprising, innovative, hard-working, industrious, not without some charm. He’s got his eyes on the prize at all times. As far as Halo‘s concerned, I remember when it first came out, all my friends were Halo heads. I didn’t necessarily play myself, but I spent countless hours hanging out. None of us were rich back then, so I remember hanging-out in little ratty apartments, watching my friends play Halo for hours. It’s a lot of fun to watch people play because the landscape is ever-changing, kinda like watching a movie. So to be able for this to come around and participate in it, is really a thrill.”.
Justin Falvey, Executive Producer tells us on the long-term plan for the Series.
Falvey: “Our intention is to produce several seasons of the Show. There’s a lot of story to tell. And as Pablo indicated, we have so many buckets we can dip into with these pre-existing characters and these new characters. Talk about a world-building show, it speaks on every level to execute that wonderfully with the people we have in place. Hopefully we’ll be doing this for some time now.”.