Inside Alex Garland's Halo (A Video Game Adaptation)

Image Source, Source 1, Source 2, "Die? Didn't You Know? Spartans Never Die!"
Halo, a video game series that revolves around an intergalactic war between human beings and an extremist alien race known as the Covenant, is noted for being one of the most influential first-person shooters of all time. Its in-depth and compelling stories, interesting characters, and its vast universe are known as some of the series' highlights. While I did not fully play any of the games, the free demo for Halo: Combat Evolved was loads of fun, and it did show me a glimpse of what the games have in store. Some might say that this game had enough ideas for a live-action adaptation in the style of The Lord of The Rings trilogy, and a full-length feature there could have been, and could have featured Peter Jackson as producer. On our latest cancelled movie spotlight, Dateline Movies heads straight into the far reaches of space, and again Hollywood's big trash bin, to discuss the now cancelled Halo adaptation!

Source, The Covenant Marches On!
How did it almost happen?

Alex Garland, one of the most amazing screenwriters in the modern cinematic industry, and also a personal favorite of mine, who is known for his works on 28 Days Later and Ex Machina, was originally the one who started the project. How he pitched the entire movie is pretty interesting and almost unbelievable, as Garland was accompanied by people dressed as various Master Chiefs, with two of them holding the screenplay and some terms and conditions.

With proper blessing courtesy of Microsoft, the game series' publisher, as well as a deal that involves the said studio earning about 10-million dollars and about 15% of the film's future revenue. Interested with the deal, 20th Century Fox and Universal Studios decided to join forces, and instead settle to offer 5-million dollars to Microsoft, with an added 10% from the total revenue of the film. Peter Jackson, noted for his success with The Lord of The Rings Trilogy and the King Kong remake, is set to produce the movie, with his protegee Neill Blomkamp acting as director, with this canned project supposed to be his directorial debut. Hellboy and Blade II director Guillermo Del Toro was also in talks to helm the project forward. There have been no cast members confirmed for the project. Below are the only people with confirmed involvement.

Original Writer: Alex Garland

Additional Rewrites: Josh Olson and D.B. Weiss

Executive Producer: Peter Jackson

Director: Neill Blomkamp

Source, As Some Fans Would Say, "10/10 Would Definitely Date Her"
What was suppose to happen?

The following story outline will be a simplified and shortened version of the leaked script. For various reasons, we could not seem to give away the entire script. We apologize for the inconvenience. Hopefully in good time, we might be able to share the complete script, so for now, do settle for this story outline.

Somewhere in space, a man-made ship known as the Pillar of Autumn, lead by Captain Keyes, is under attack from Covenant forces. To defend themselves, Keyes asks Cortana, the ship's artificial intelligence to awaken their "war dog" known only as Master Chief, a towering force to reckon with, from cryogenic slumber. With Master Chief awoken, the armored supersoldier assists his comrades in preventing unauthorized entries, but they are no match as more enemy reinforcements make their way through the ship. Ordering Master Chief to escort Cortana off the ship to prevent The Covenant from learning their secret files, Captain Keyes commands everyone else, including Major Silva and his elite Helljumpers, to evacuate to a Halo-shaped structure orbiting a nearby planet. This option is made possible because of the structure containing an atmosphere that is compatible with human body.

Source, Is It Me Or Did Interstellar Used The Same Structure?
As Master Chief, Cortana, and a band of other marines make their way to an intergalactic ring-shaped structure, followed by the rest of the marines in separate escape pods, Master Chief's lifeboat crashes violently, and the rest of his comrades are killed. As Master Chief and Cortana watch as the Pillar of Autumn crash, the two evade capture from pursuing Covenant troops and are able to lend a hand with the other marines.

Master Chief and Cortana hitch a ride with one of Chief's former colleagues, Carol Rawley, also known as Foehammer, en route to Major Silva's makeshift base. There, Silva orders Chief to stay away from combat as much as possible due to the lack of systems to upload Cortana.

After Master Chief tends to his wounds, both he and Cortana enter a shared dream, but his slumber is interrupted by the sound of an Elite Covenant alien's scream. Once there, Master Chief and Cortana discover that Major Silva and his Helljumpers are interrogating an alien. Angry, Cortana, who is originally unseen due to being a program in Master Chief's armor, appears in a bright light and clearly broken form to ask Silva about what he intends to do. Silva reveals that The Covenant is holding Captain Keyes, who survived the crash, captive, and they are planning a rescue mission, to which Cortana and Master Chief offer their services.

Source, All Of Hell(Jumper) Is Breaking Loose!
Cortana, Silva, Master Chief and about twenty Helljumpers are able to intercept The Covenant's battle cruiser, Truth and Reconciliation, but they are in for a surprise when they learn that The Covenant has anti-gravity on their side, and once on board, they are ambushed by, not one, but two hulking Covenant monsters. Fortunately, there are some handy-dandy adhesive plasma grenades around the corner of the ship, and Master Chief dispatches one of the creatures by blowing-up its back, its helmet and finally its arm cannon, killing it in the process. The other "Hunter" is eventually killed by an overloaded fuel rod cannon in the ship.

As the half of the still alive unit cause a distraction, Master Chief, Cortana, Major Silva and the rest of the remaining Helljumpers leap to the rescue. Eventually, they are able to locate Keyes through one of The Covenant's ship computers, just in a nick of time for the team to save Keyes from further torture. Afterwards, the ragtag rescue team make their escape through the use of a stolen Covenant escape ship, although slightly damaged, which they then use to reach their base.

Source, The Reign of The Forerunners is Upon Us!
Startled at her discovery from the Truth and Reconciliation vessel, Cortana reveals to the rest of the forces that the orbital construct that they are in, identified as "Halo", is a weapon of unknown power that is once built by an ancient, deadly civilization of aliens known as "The Forerunners", the Covenant's very own pantheon. In addition, The Forerunners are the source of several of The Covenant's weaponry. They then update their objectives from search-and-rescue to shutting down Halo, and they start with a location Cortana says is named "The Silent Cartographer".

Master Chief, Cortana, Major Silva, Captain Keyes and a lot of their forces make their move towards The Silent Cartogtapher. After a lengthy battle outside their target, they enter a massive temple-like entrance and structure. They are ambushed by a handful of stealth-based Covenant units, suffering from a brutal blow to their ranks. Chief and Cortana go deeper without the aid of their allies most of whom have been wounded in the ambush. Meanwhile, back in the Pillar of Autumn crash site, wherein the Helljumpers are assigned to investigate what The Covenant is afraid of, something big has escaped, and has slaughtered Captain Keyes, Major Silva and all of the Helljumpers.

Source, "Open The Flood Gates!"
Cortana and Chief finally reach The Silent Cartographer, which is a large X-Men's Cerebro-like holographic projection room. Cortana suddenly acts erratically upon hacking into the single console in the chamber, and Chief is knocked unconscious after an explosion of light. Chief, after waking-up, searches desperately for both Cortana and the rest of his allies, but to no avail. He stumbles upon Corporal Jenkins, the soldier he saved earlier. Paranoid at the unknown, Jenkins got the gun he gave to Chief and killed himself in front of Chief. Chief then hears a terrifying sound and quickly retreats to a dead end, only to beheld the horrific sight of his swayed comrades. All of his colleagues are infected with mysterious organisms attached to their faces.

After fending-off a horde of enemies, Chief makes his way into a possible exit, where an enigmatic robotic spheroid named 343 Guilty Spark, programmed to contain the mind-controlling "Flood", alongside an army of Sentinels rescue Chief from the Flood-infested soldiers. Through 343 Guilty Spark, Chief learns, as he is accompanied by Guilty Gear to Halo's control room, that Halo is a holding installation for the study of the Flood. As Guilty Spark asks Chief to activate the "sterilization" protocol, Cortana manifests and blasts Guilty Spark, who is actually trying to kill an entire galaxy with Halo's defense mechanisms instead of the Flood. His motivation for this was that the moment Halo was activated, everything became "pointless". Angry, Chief shoots Guilty Spark.

Source, 343 Guilty Gear Looks Strikingly Similar To Portal 2's Wheatley
As the weather control system of Halo malfunctions, blizzards form, and more of the Flood spawn, destroying the encampment. Chief and Cortana are rescued by Foehammer, who became the sole survivor of the destruction of their base. In Foehammer's airship, the three hatch a plan to destroy Halo without sacrificing the universe, and that is by using the Pillar of Autumn's fusion reactors to cause a devastating explosion.

They then encounter an infested Captain Keyes, with the Flood parasite that is controlling its host plunging Cortana and Chief into Chief's flashback, the time when he failed to save lives on a planet known as Reach. As Keyes continues to mutate, Chief battles the being's telepathic power, and after shooting the turned Keyes, 343 Guilty Spark enters, alive, as Cortana activates a self-destruct sequence. Chief and Cortana rides a Warthog, a military vehicle, as they maneuver their way to the crash site, and finally to Foehammer's rendezvous point, seeing the now turned Silva to brutally murder Foehammer in front of Chief and Cortana. Finally, the anger was just too much for Chief to overcome, and so he shoved a grenade into Silva's chest. In the end, we see Chief and Cortana, the only survivors after Halo explodes, make their way back to Earth by trying to steal a covenant ship as the screen fades to black.

In the post-credits scene, 343 Guilty Gear apparently survived his ordeal with Chief and Cortana as he hums whimsically, and breaks the fourth wall by greeting the audience directly, in the vast void of space.

Source, Writer Alex Garland
What happened instead?

The project was officially given the greenlight to continue production after several studios bid for the script. Given that the video game series has a large fanbase that supports each installment wholeheartedly, and a treasure trove of interesting source material, as a paraphrase to one of our sources, the reason behind the script bidding war is clear as day. Unfortunately, the production would be delayed over and over and over again due to studio conflicts with regards to the rights made by the ever growing bidding clash, mixed with Microsoft Studios' demands.

Another concern that was raised was the film's potential predictability, especially when it comes to those who are all too familiar with the source material, simply because the entire movie, as I have compared between the script and the synopsis for Halo: Combat Evolved, bears unbelievable amounts of adaptation accuracy. It is because of this that studios feared that the movie would become unsurprising enough for audiences to call it lackluster.

Source, Director Neill Blomkamp
Microsoft continued their seemingly endless pursuit for a decent adaptation, even in the midst of the complete kind of pressure that one can only experience here in Hollywood. Josh Olson, writer of the Tom Cruise starred mystery film Jack Reacher, and D.B. Weiss, a scribe for the television adaptation of Game of Thrones, were tasked to accomplish rewrites on the script. After facing further pressure from both 20th Century Fox and Universal Studios, which goes the same for Neill Blomkamp, the film is inevitably scrapped, with the film rights eventually returning to Microsoft.

Neill Blomkamp, whose initial directorial debut was suppose to be this particular film, eventually collaborated once more with his legendary mentor Peter Jackson in the acclaimed award-winning District 9. Blomkamp, who was pressured due to his supposed lack of experience to helm a big-budget feature back then, stated in an interview that he is not interested in tagging along the project if ever it is given another chance.

However, Blomkamp may be lying as he is currently rumored to helm the pilot episode of an upcoming Halo television program, with Steven Spielberg slated as executive producer. If you are wondering, yes, it is still active. 

Alex Garland would continue achieving success in other influential projects such as Sunshine, and even crossing streams with video games by being the story consultant for DmC: Devil May Cry, and as a writer for Enslaved: Odyssey To The West. He will then complete his directorial debut in 2015's Ex Machina. He is slated to have his second directorial feature, Annihilation, and is set to be released some time next year.

A direct-to-video feature known as Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, which is made as a means of promotion for the then upcoming installment, Halo 4, was released on December 4, 2012. The movie, which is actually a compilation of all 15-minute episodes of a web-series of the game, focuses on the origins of another video game character, Thomas Lansky, and how he became a hero himself. The movie and the series received mixed reviews, with the story attracting criticism for its pace and lack of character development, but the special effects received praise.

Alien and Blade Runner director Ridley Scott served as executive producer, accompanied by his production company Scott Free Productions, for another feature set in the same universe as the video games. The web-movie features Mike Colter, who is set to play Luke Cage in the titular upcoming Netflix series, follows Jameson Locke as he and a ragtag team of soldiers investigate a terrorist attack in one of their bases, and go on a race for survival in a Halo. Halo: Nightfall received similar criticisms to those of Forward Unto Dawn.

In the similar style of other anime anthology tie-ins of other movies such as Animatrix and Batman: Gotham Knight, Halo Legends is the final known Halo feature made into a movie. A mixture of various anime styles orchestrated by an assortment of notable anime companies, Halo Legends received mixed reviews again, with many citing the uneven storytelling as its biggest fault.

Well that took longer than expected yet again. So much for keeping things short. Anyway, to conclude our post, please enjoy this Machinima, a video genre that utilizes original video game content, graphics and characters included, and are used to create original content, of Halo, and none of them cannot be complete without channel Rooster Teeth's comedy series, Red vs. Blue. Here is their latest episode and watch it below.  Also for those who are asking, I highly doubt that we would continue the "Who's Who in Spider-Man: Homecoming?", now that about half of the cast has already been confirmed with roles. Stay tuned for more Dateline Movies!


DISCLAIMER: Halo and all related elements are properties of Bungie and 343 Industries, a subsidiary of Microsoft Studios, with the film Halo's Script and Story Ideas are properties conceived by Alex Garland. This post is strictly for entertainment and informational purposes only, and is under the "fair use" category". No copyright infringement intended.


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