Halo: M.J. Bassett Steps Aside Due to COVID Changes; Praises Series

With a global pandemic tearing through most of 2020, it's understandable that the dozens of television productions will be running into some pretty rollercoaster-like days ahead- with many already dealing with the "stop/starts" and changes that come from schedules having to be rebuilt. Perfect example? Showtime's live-action Halo series with Pablo Schreiber (American Gods) stepping into the role of Master Chief in the video game franchise adaptation. When we last checked in the project, Schreiber was in pure workout mode #MakingMasterChief so he could do right by the character and the fans ("Bringing this iconic character to life and helping create his world has become an obsession for me. The harder the task becomes the more I want to make it great; for the fans, for my co-collaborators, but ultimately and most importantly, for myself").

"Halo: Reach" WIll Be Released On PC On December 3rd
Credit: 343 Industries

Unfortunately, director M.J. Bassett (Strike Back, Altered Carbon) won't be able to help Schreiber or the team "make" Master Chief- revealing in an interview with THR that COVID delays forced a production rescheduling that conflicted with a film project Bassett is starting so Bassett had to step aside (with IMDB listing the director as helming the final two episodes of the 9-episode season). "I got wrapped about a few days before I was due to start shooting, and I can't go back to it because I have another project I was penciled in for. It's my next movie, in fact. I managed to keep the date for the movie, but Halo is also going to get up and running on that date. So I had a conflict and had to step away, which is a terrible shame because Halo is going to be a really fun show," Bassett explained. "I was really looking forward to it. We built the sets, planned everything and had scripts that were working. It's going to be an enormous, enormous show. Pablo Schreiber is going to be a great Master Chief. The whole cast was good, but unfortunately, I can't go back to it."

Halo official cast photo (Image: Showtime)

Showtime's Halo stars Pablo Schreiber (American Gods), newcomer Yerin Haare, Shabana Azmi (Fire), Bentley Kalu (Avengers: Age of Ultron), Natasha Culzac (The Witcher), Kate Kennedy (Catastrophe), Natascha McElhone (Ronin), Bokeem Woodbine (Fargo), Danny Sapani (Doctor Who), Olive Gray (Fleabag), and Charlie Murphy (Ripper Street).

Schreiber's Master Chief is Earth's most advanced warrior in the 26th century and the only hope of salvation for a civilization pushed to the brink of destruction by the Covenant, an unstoppable alliance of alien worlds committed to the destruction of humanity. Ha's Quan Ah is a shrewd, audacious 16-year-old from the Outer Colonies who meets Master Chief at a fateful time for them both. McElhone's Dr. Catherine Halsey is the brilliant, conflicted, and inscrutable creator of the Spartan supersoldiers; while her other role is that of Cortana, the most advanced AI in human history – and potentially the key to the survival of the human race. Woodbine's Soren-066 is a morally complex privateer at the fringes of human civilization whose fate will bring him into conflict with his former military masters and his old friend, the Master Chief.


Azmi's Admiral Margaret Parangosky is the head of the Office of Naval Intelligence. Kalu's Spartan Vannak-134 is a cybernetically augmented supersoldier conscripted at childhood who serves as the de facto deputy to the Master Chief. Culzac's Spartan Riz-028 is a focused, professional and deadly, cybernetically enhanced killing machine. Kennedy's Spartan Kai-125 is an all-new courageous, curious, and deadly Spartan supersoldier. Sapani's Captain Jacob Keyes is a dedicated military man, a war hero, and a caring father. He finds that working alongside his daughter and his ex-wife is usually the cause of conflict rather than comfort. Gray's Dr. Miranda Keyes is a brilliant UNSC Commander who is dedicated to understanding the technology, language, and culture of the Covenant, but she'll have to learn to navigate the politics of the UNSC to get what she wants. Murphy's Makee is an orphaned human who was raised by the alien Covenant and shares their contempt for humanity.

Showtime's Halo series is executive produced by Steven Kane (The Last Ship), Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey for Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television and 343 Industries, director Otto Bathurst and Toby Leslie for One Big Picture, and Kyle Killen and Scott Pennington for Chapter Eleven. CBS Studios International will handle global distribution.

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About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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