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Let’s travel back in time as we learn that Neill Blomkamp may be in line to direct the pilot for the Steven Spielberg produced Halo series on Xbox Live. The director’s name should, at this point in time, be familiar to sc-fi movie fans. Back in 2007 when Peter Jackson was on board as the Halo movie producer, Blomkamp was tapped to be the feature film director of the then entertainment juggernaut. The deal fell through when Jackson insisted on the unknown Blomkamp as director, studios eventually backed out of the movie, and Blomkamp went on to make waves with the incredible District 9.
According to rumored sources at Latino Review, Blomkamp may once again be given the reigns. Fans of the Halo series were clamoring for Blomkamp to direct a movie from early on. His live action short films of a group of ODST’s (an elite Marine group in the Halo mythos) making a last stand against Covenant forces are incredible at showcasing Blomkamp’s vision for a movie. It only makes sense to go back to the guy who’s already well versed in translating the Halo universe for the Xbox Live series. The three shorts were made by Microsoft as part of the promotional campaign for the release of Halo 3.
It was surprising a year ago when we learned Spielberg was resurrecting the idea of a live action Halo project. Now with Bungie, the game’s creators, having moved on from Microsoft the universe of Halo is under the guidance of 343 Industries. They hold the canon in their hands, and are responsible for Halo 4 along with all future endeavors in the universe, including this announced series being produced with Spielberg.
Microsoft is intent on making the Xbox One more than just a game console, which has been evident for a long time with their push for content access on both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The move to original content on Xbox Live is not original, as we’ve seen Netflix succeed with the model in 2013 and Amazon following suit. Even with the shine of Halo’s popularity waning, especially by comparison to its height back when the feature film was in production, the IP is Microsoft’s greatest chance at creating a hit.
Of course, if Microsoft wants the Xbox experience to be universal they’ll have to come up with a franchise that’s not so exclusionary. Halo is popular, no doubt, but if you’re not familiar with the lore you’ll lose focus within the first 10 minutes. Blomkamp’s rumored involvement may make it interesting enough for casual folks to stick around for an episode, but when you start introducing junk like Forerunner technology, Covenant political in-fighting, or even just the Mjolnir armor, you’ll lose people quick.