There's been a web video series called Halo: Forward Unto Dawn and Steven Spielberg has plans for a TV version, but despite everyone's best efforts, a feature film adaptation of the much-loved Halo gaming franchise has never happened. Even the power of Peter Jackson, District 9 (and Elysium's) Neill Blomkamp, Fox, Universal, Microsoft and scriptwriter Alex Garland couldn't bring it into existence, and now, speaking on the Empire Podcast, Blomkamp explains why he bowed out:
"I haven’t been approached to do anything with [the new Halo TV show]. I still think the methodology in that world is cool. I just don’t know if I’m the right guy to do it. The problem for me with things like that is that essentially I want to be an artist, I want to be left alone to my own devices. The older I get, the more inheriting somebody else’s ideas becomes less appealing.
"It’s from two places. The first thing is the fans expect something, and the fans deserve something. If a fan has being playing Halo for 10 years, they deserve that version of Halo. Whatever that idea of it is that they have in their mind, they deserve that, and I’m not sure I can provide it. I can provide my version of Halo, which would be a grittier, more messed up version. There were parts of Halo that were hard for me to wrap my head around, when I was trying to develop the film.
"Some of the smaller races, [like Grunts] are childlike and it’s difficult to make that feel legitimate in the way that I wanted. So, for starters, I shouldn’t do it in the interest of the fans. There may be a better way of doing it than me being involved in it.
"Then the second part of it is, when you inherit other people’s ideas, the people that control the ideas – now I’m not talking about the fans, I’m talking about the people that control their investment – mess with you also. So my ultimate place is doing exactly what I want, and getting the right sum of money to do exactly what I want, and pulling it off properly."
Though it's clear everyone involved put their heart and soul into trying to make it work, ultimately there were too many masters to serve, and Blomkamp got on with making his own thing his own way. And if you were doubting his gaming credentials, listen to the Empire Podcast in full to hear about his set-up at home. It's... impressive.
What's still sad about it all is just how great Blomkamp is with action in a science fiction setting and how much effort he puts into the mechanics and design of weaponry and ships and alien races - something that would be essential for anyone else who eventually gets the chance to make the Halo movie.
In the meantime, here's the short film from 2007 that Neil Blomkamp got every Halo fan very excited back in the day.