Earlier in the week we got the news that the Halo TV series is apparently still in development, despite not peeking its head above the parapet in the five years since it was officially announced. In the wake of that news, we have fragments of the script for the pilot episode. Our understanding is that part of the reason for the extended delay was a fairly last minute pivot on the concept during pre-production, influenced by the success of Star Trek: Discovery. This new idea for the Halo series will follow the events of the first Halo game but sees Master Chief featuring only sparsely, as more of a cameo character, and instead focuses on a non-combat member of the Pillar of Autumn crew who survives the crash onto Halo and must fight to survive whilst the Chief is off doing his main plotline heroics.
As you can see from these extracts, this script takes some surprising risks, but we’d be fully on board with this direction for the series if it came to pass
The first extract looks to be the cold open, which contains some immediate hooks to excite Halo fans and some drama to interest non-gamers:
S01 E01 – “Pilot”
INTERIOR. We open on a mess hall: functional, practical, gunmetal grey. Men and women (some non-com staff, others still in their combat gear) are scattered across the tables and benches. All exhausted. Serious shit has obviously gone down, gentlemen. Pan over to our lead, CLAY SUMMERS, 30s, male, attractive but in a relatable way (not too jacked! Think Ansel Elgort).
You think we made it?
Clay is talking to LEELA PRENTICE, 20s, brunette, feisty, nerdy but nubile. Prentice and Summers are both ETOs (electro-tech officers), specialising in the radar systems.
It’s not about us. Not about you or me. Not about this whole goddamn ship. It’s about Earth. Gotta keep those bastards away from Earth.
There is a bump and the room shakes. A YOUNG MARINE sat at their table looks young and nervous.
Hey, what was that? Did something hit us?
This your first assignment or something?
Yeah. Just out of the academy. I heard it would be an easy posting.
Well shit. I guess you heard wrong.
Yeah, that’s some bad luck, friend. But don’t worry. We didn’t get hit. Just left slipspace after the jump is all.
Suddenly an ALARM sounds. Everyone in the mess hall sits up, groans, and starts running out in a rush.
That’s Combat Alert Alpha. Godammit.
Summers and Prentice jump up and begin running out of the room too.
Wait, where’s everyone going?
We gotta fall in, dude. Your first posting just got even worse.
(Note for Doug: YOUNG MARINE was initially to be seen dead in the crash but Mark has suggested he could be the supporting character that sacrifices himself in an epic final stand to give Prentice time to escape in E06 — treatment to go to Steven. Need to consider recasting)
The camera zooms backwards out of the window, into the beauty of space, panning past the ship’s name: PILLAR OF AUTUMN. We then scan around to take in a huge, majestic hoop hanging in the starfield, until it is center screen. The title materialises at its heart:
(Opening credits here or at very start? Need to discuss further but I still think go with here)
Then we have the second fragment, also from before the crash. The Pillar of Autumn has now been boarded, and Summers and Prentice have fought their way to an escape shuttle with a group of marines:
The group arrives at the shuttles with the Covenant in pursuit. There’s only one shuttle left and the aliens are closing in fast. The marines take up defensive positions and provide covering fire as Wates goes to open the shuttle doors.
The door is locked shut! Can you get that thing open?
I can try!
Summers and Prentice pry open a control panel and both begin to work on the wiring inside as the firefight continues.
What’s wrong with it? I can’t connect the nodes.
I guess Keyes initiated the Cole Protocol. He transferred Cortana to a soldier to get her off the ship and protect the data in her — that’s why the lights flickered back there. We need to reroute around the ohms and hard connect the door controls to the AC current.
A marine falls to the floor near them, shot by the Covenant. He does the WILHELM SCREAM.
Cortana? The AI? Man, I can’t figure her out. I know she’s not really naked but it’s like she wants to get my attention. And at the same time I’m really intimidated by her nudity: it puts me on my guard and I feel like she has the upper hand in our conversations.
That makes total sense. Whoever came up with that was super clever.
Yeah it’s just a really smart and logical explanation for her being naked I guess.
Yup. Hey we got the door open, sir!
The doors crash open and the marines, Prentice and Summers dash inside. The door hisses shut just in time, leaving some of the Covenant trapped on the ship. The shuttle ejects and those inside watch as the Pillar of Autumn turns towards the surface of the Halo and accelerates.
Finally, here’s the third and last script fragment we have for the pilot, now taking place on the Halo itself. Summers, Prentice and the marines they are with have landed and appear to be defending a makeshift camp:
Summers has managed to salvage some of the CRASHED Covenant Ghost and is manning a MAKESHIFT MACHINE GUN NEST. Prentice is using other components to make IMPROVISED EXPLOSIVES and is throwing them into the fight. The marines are being pushed back but it’s all in slow-mo and looks FUCKING AWESOME.
We’re not gonna make it, Clay!
(pointing) Yes we are!
A WARTHOG barrels over the hill and does a 180 SKID to a halt. MASTER CHIEF jumps out and begins FUCKING UP all the Covenant with ease. CORTANA vaults from the other seat: early 20s, hot as fuck, blue skin. She is full sized and SOLID due to some alien tech or something, so she can fall in love with and SEX UP another character in SEASON TWO. She begins strangling Covenant with her THIGHS like HER FROM GOLDENEYE. She is wearing shades and has MAGNIFICENT TITS.
I just have so much respect for her.
Cortana and Master Chief destroy everything in their path and tool up to the marines for HIGH FIVES
You saved all our lives. How can we ever thank you?
Don’t thank me. Thank the indomitable spirit of man. The war effort relies on people like you, so just promise me you’ll never give up.
(wiping a tear from her eye) But, before you go, I have to know… who are you?
Master Chief has his back to them all, but slowly removes his helmet and then turns around (there is LENS FLARE).
I’m all of you.
(gasps) PHIL SPENCER!
Master Chief KISSES Cortana, with TONGUES. End credits roll.