While Halo fans had much to celebrate on Tuesday when Showtime and Pablo Schreiber (American Gods) announced that the live-action series adaptation was back in production, it does so with another change of note. Nearly a week ago, we learned that director M.J. Bassett (Strike Back, Altered Carbon) was forced to step away from the project after COVID-related delays created scheduling conflicts with a film project (but having positive things to say about the production). Now, IGN reports exclusively that Natascha McElhone (Ronin) is having to step away from the role of AI Cortana over COVID-related scheduling conflicts- with "Halo" video game veteran Jen Taylor taking over the role (McElhone continues in the role of Dr. Catherine Halsey), one that she's played in Halo 1-5 and Reach.
Here's a look at Schrieber back on set, COVID-safe, and ready to keep #MakingMasterChief:
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), Jen Taylor ("Halo" video game franchise), Bokeem Woodbine (Fargo), David Sapani (Doctor Who), Olive Gray (Fleabag), Charlie Murphy (Ripper Street), Bentley Kalu (Team Jay), Natasha Culzac (Cursed), and Kate Kennedy (Handy) as three new Spartan characters.
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 counterpart is Cortana (Taylor), 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. As for the new Spartans, Kalu stars as Vannak-134, with Culzac as Riz-028 and Kennedy as Kai-125
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.