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'Halo' TV Series Finds New Director


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EqU0PUT.jpgShowtime's long-gestating Halo TV series has found its new director. Otto Bathurst (Black Mirror, Robin Hood) has taken over helming duties two months after original director Rupert Wyatt departed.


Bathurst will direct multiple episodes and exec produce the live-action drama from showrunner Kyle Killen. Showtime made the announcement with a press release Thursday that also announced the series will now consist of only nine initial episodes — that's down one from its original order of 10.


Bathurst's credits include directing last year's Robin Hood, starring Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx, and the upcoming HBO/BBC America co-production His Dark Materials, Peaky Blinders and Criminal Justice.


Wyatt (Rise of Planet of the Apes) exited Halo in December, citing scheduling conflicts. At the time, it was unclear what Wyatt will do next. His sci-fi thriller Captive State, starring John Goodman and Vera Farmiga, is due March 29 in theaters.

Showtime announced in June that its long-in-development take on Halo was officially picked up to series, with Killen and Wyatt attached to the 10-episode live-action scripted drama. Wyatt was poised to direct multiple episodes and serve as an executive producer on the project from Showtime, Microsoft/343 Industries and Amblin Television. In making the order, the pay cabler called Halo its "most ambitious series ever."


"Showtime's adaptation of Halo is evolving beautifully with rich characters, compelling stories and powerful scripts," the network's co-president of entertainment Gary Levine said in December. "Obviously, the production demands of this series are enormous, and we have had to add time to the schedule in order to do it right. Sadly, this delay has created a conflict for Rupert, whom we warmly thank for all he has brought to the project."


The Halo TV series was first unveiled in 2014, with Xbox Entertainment Studios nearing a deal to develop the take on its wildly popular video game. At the time, the plan called for the effort to bow first on Showtime before moving to Xbox consoles. It's unclear if that is still in the cards.


The Halo video game franchise has sold more than 77 million copies worldwide and grossed more than $5 billion in sales.

The Showtime series will take place in the same universe that launched in 2001 and will dramatize an epic 26th century conflict between humanity and an alien threat known as the Covenant. Halo will weave deeply drawn personal stories with action, adventure and a richly imagined vision of the future, Showtime said. A casting notice confirmed that the series would feature a live-action version of John/Master Chief, whose face is never fully shown in the games. Instead, the character — an imposing, genetically enhanced supersoldier — is almost exclusively seen in his iconic green armor and helmet.

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