The Reason Why The ‘Halo’ Movie Never Happened

The Halo video game franchise has enjoyed strong support from fans for two decades. The first title launched with Microsoft’s original Xbox in 2001 and has continued to remain a staple on every Xbox iteration since.

Characters from the highly-anticipated videogame Halo 5: Guardians
Characters from the highly-anticipated videogame Halo 5: Guardians appeared on Bondi Beach and in the City on October 15, 2015 in Sydney, Australia | James D. Morgan/Getty Images

The Halo games center around the military leader Master Chief and his leadership of forces from the fictitious United Nations Space Command.

The franchise grew throughout the 2000s and 2010s to include over a dozen titles, including the highly anticipated Halo Infinite due out in late 2021. As a result, fans of the series had been calling for years for Halo to get the Hollywood blockbuster treatment.

Characters from the highly-anticipated videogame Halo 5: Guardians appeared on Bondi Beach and in the City on October 15, 2015 in Sydney, Australia | James D. Morgan/Getty Images
Characters from the highly-anticipated videogame Halo 5: Guardians appeared on Bondi Beach and in the City on October 15, 2015 in Sydney, Australia | James D. Morgan/Getty Images

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The ‘Halo’ movie was highly anticipated for many years

Talks of a Halo movie had been around almost as long as the video game series itself. A live-action Halo film was in development all the way back in 2006, though it would never end up seeing the light of day.

Because Halo is worth so much to Microsoft, the company expected a lot from a cinematic adaptation of it. Microsoft tapped famed British screenwriter Alex Garland to write a script so it could pitch the project to the biggest studios in the film industry.

Microsoft had other demands that couldn’t be met, such as creative approval over the director and cast, not putting any money into the production (except for what it paid Garland to write the script), and it wasn’t willing to sign over rights for merchandising.

Finally, Fox and Universal agreed to a partnership to create the film, which Microsoft accepted after some hesitation.

Master Chief
Master Chief exits the mine in Balzers Quarry during the HALO 4 launch by Xbox 360 on October 30, 2012 in Balzers, Liechtenstein | Getty Images for Halo by Xbox 360

Why the ‘Halo’ movie project fell apart

To bring the Halo universe to life on screen, Microsoft wanted to bring on Lord of the Rings and Hobbit mastermind Peter Jackson to direct the project. Instead, Jackson signed on as producer. Guillermo del Toro, meanwhile, was reportedly in talks to direct, but District 9 director Neill Blomkamp was chosen by the studio.

Blomkamp ended up having a lot of problems with both Microsoft and Fox as they all had different ideas for the film. The Halo project was at a standstill and Fox threatened to pull out of the project, pushing Universal to demand that the producers’ deal be cut. Jackson and the rest of the team refused, and the movie has been shelved ever since.

Ultimately, Microsoft’s demands and their unfamiliarity with the film industry doomed the Halo film. But that didn’t mean that Halo would never make it to the screen.

There have been two live-action web series adaptations of the Halo games so far: Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn and Halo: Nightfall; another Halo TV series is also the way. Despite there not being a shortage of watchable Halo content, many fans regret that a full film production never came to be.