Over the weekend, Showtime announced more cast members for its upcoming adaptation of Halo, the hugely popular video game that pits humanity against an alien race by the name of the Covenant in the 26th century. According to The Hollywood Reporter, six more actors have officially joined the cast: Natascha McElhone, Bokeem Woodbine, Shabana Azmi, Bentley Kalu, Natasha Culzac and Kate Kennedy.
These six are joining Orange Is the New Black‘s Pablo Schreiber, who has been cast in the iconic Master Chief role, and Yerin Ha, who is going to portray Quan Ah, a young, astute teenager who encounters Master Chief at a pivotal moment in the series. Quan Ah is a new addition to the Halo universe and has not been included in the franchise until now.
McElhone from Designated Survivor and Californication has been cast in two roles: Dr. Catherine Halsey, an intelligent yet tortured overseer of the so-called “Supersoldiers,” and Cortana, an incredibly advanced form of AI who may be the last hope for humanity’s survival.
Emmy nominated actor Woodbine from Fargo and Spider-Man: Homecoming will play Soren-066, an ethically complicated privateer who makes his life at society’s fringes. Azimi, a hugely-celebrated Indian actress, has been cast as Admiral Margaret Parangosky, who is in charge of the Office of Naval Intelligence.
Like Ha, actors Kalu, Culzac, and Kennedy are all going to play characters who are new to the universe. Kalu will play a cybernetically enhanced soldier who serves as the de facto deputy to Master Chief and is named Spartan Vannak-134. Meanwhile, Showtime has characterized Culzac’s Spartan Riz-028 as a professional and dedicated cybernetically improved killer. Kennedy has been cast as the dangerous Spartan Kai-125, who Showtime describes as both brave and inquisitive.
Showtime has described Halo as its “most ambitious series ever.” The series will begin production this fall in Budapest and will run for nine episodes. Kyle Killen, who has worked on Awake and Lone Star and Steven Kane of The Last Ship have both signed on as the show’s showrunners. Killen will oversee stateside production and the writer’s room, while Kane will lead the physical production of Halo in Hungary. Although Killen was originally going to act as the show’s only showrunner, The Hollywood Reporter later reported that he decided he needed a partner who could work full-time in Hungary when the show was filming in Budapest. Director of the pilot of Black Mirror, “The National Anthem,” Otto Bathurst, will direct Halo. He is replacing Ruper Wyatt, who had to step down from the role when scheduling conflicts could not be negotiated.
The video game, Halo, has amassed a global fanbase and has sold over 77 million copies since its launch in 2001. The series will be a collaboration between Showtime, Amblin Television, and Microsoft/343 Industries. Killen, Kane, Bathurst, Amblin’s Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey, Toby Leslie, Scott Pennington, and Karen Richards are all going to executive produce.