Halo Movie Update

Master ChiefJoseph Staten has posted an update over at Bungie.net about progress on the Halo Movie. Details have been worked out with Universal and 20th Century Fox – i.e. the lawyers are now happy – and things can start really moving on the project.

Joseph takes us on a journey through the evolution of the project, and his enthusiasm for the script is evident. If the final movie is true to this script, then it sounds like it will be awesome. The main issue so far, and no doubt throughout the project, is the question of creative control – Bungie wants to retain control over the details so that the movie remains true to the Halo universe. Joseph seems to imply that this is largely sorted out. As Joseph himself puts it:

“First, our community team (along with some great folks in Microsoft’s Franchise Development Group) assembled an exhaustive “companion” that will accompany the script during the film’s production. We built this universe bible/style-guide to inspire and inform the filmmakers as well as serve as a point-of-reference for all parties in the event of creative disagreements.

Here’s one of the companion’s reference pages. Imagine this level of specificity for every character, weapon, vehicle, environment – you name it – in the known Halo universe. That’s a lot of inspirational and argument-settling goodness.”

This is the fabled Halo Story Bible – though I think that it has never been in such a complete form. No doubt Bungie realised that this will get out into the public domain, despite being labelled as a “Trade Secret of Microsoft”, and decided that it should have the same production values as the rest of the Halo/Halo 2 experience.

There’s no mention of who exactly will star in or direct the movie. My vote goes for Scarlett Johansson as Cortana, and Steve Downes for the Master Chief (he does the voice in the game). As far as the director goes, Joseph makes the comparison with Peter Jackson and The Lord of the Rings. They’re looking for a director that will bring the same level of devotion to making it perfect, to not disappointing the fans, and who can above all make a great movie.

If they can find someone who can do for Halo what Jackson did for The Lord of the Rings, then I will be ecstatic. Jackson’s movies are so true to the books in their look, their feel, attention to small details, that they really capture the essence, the feel of Middle Earth for me, even if there are some differences between the books and the films. The LOTR movies look just like I imagined it when I read the books. But on top of that, Jackson made great movies, with great performances and real emotional involvement with the characters and events. If Bungie can pull this off and produce the same effect for the Halo franchise, then they will truly be on the road to world domination 🙂

In related news, HBO are reporting that Variety has an article detailing the agreement between Universal, Fox, and Microsoft.

  • Universal and Fox will each pay Microsoft $5 million in return for 10% of the gross
  • Microsoft will have extensive consultation rights, but not final say on creative elements
  • The movie should be out in 2007

So, it could still turn into The Avengers!