Forgotten Films: The Halo Movie That Almost Was

Peter Jackson nearly made an adaptation of Halo. Why didn't it happen? We discuss.

Forgotten Films is our new original video series debuting every Friday on the Den of Geek Facebook pageEach week, we take a deep dive into unmade scripts, lost flicks, and movies that deserve a second look. Watch a new installment below! 

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Forgotten Films: The Halo Movie

What do filmmakers Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro, and Neill Blomkamp have in common? They were all attached to the film adaptation of Halo, the ill-fated video game movie that never came to be – what could’ve been the greatest film based on a video game ever made. Certainly it had the talent to be a great science-fiction movie.

Peter Jackson was tapped to exec produce the film, coming off of his success with The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and Alex Garland penned the script. Garland, of course, is the writer behind 28 Days Later and Sunshine, two of the great sci-fi films of 00s. He’s since moved on to direct the fantastic Ex Machina. Guillermo del Toro was set to direct the Halo movie before he left to work on Hellboy II: The Golden Army

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When it came to Jackson’s choice for a replacement, a relatively untested director from South Africa, Neill Blomkamp, the studios fronting the cash for the production – Fox, Universal, and Microsoft – clashed over the creative direction of the movie. All three companies found themselves in a tug of war for creative control, leaving the young director, who would go on to make the Halo-inspired District 9 and Elysium, without the reins of his own movie.

“They treated me like shit,” Blomkamp told Wired. “They were just a crappy studio. I’ll never ever work with Fox ever again because of what happened to Halo – unless they pay me some ungodly amount of money and I have absolute fucking control.”

So frustrated was Blomkamp with the production’s standstill pace that he even made a Halo short film as a proof of concept.

If that little film about a group of space marines isn’t enough for you to imagine what the Blomkamp-directed Halo movie would have looked like, just watch the director’s later films. Both District 9 and Elysium carry at least a little bit of the video game franchise’s DNA. The latter movie even has a rotating halo-shaped space station as a setting. 

Learn more about the Halo movie in the video below: