Creative Team Listening To Good & Bad Fan Feedback
Halo’s executive producer opens up about season 1 criticisms and the creative team’s intention of responding to feedback with season 2.
Halo executive producer Kiki Wolfkill says the show’s creative team is listening to fan feedback going into season 2. After initially being announced in 2013 with Steven Spielberg attached, the Halo series endured a revolving door of creatives before premiering on Paramount+ earlier this year. Produced by Showtime Networks, 343 Industries, and Amblin Television, Halo is inspired by the massively popular video game franchise of the same name, following Spartan John-177, aka Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber), in the 26th-century war against the Covenant.
Outside of that brief synopsis, Paramount+’s Halo diverges from its beloved IP and takes place on what its creators refer to as the “Silver Timeline,” which was bound to ruffle some feathers. Before the series even debuted, the online discourse was prepared to take issue with the decision to show a lot of Master Chief (after getting only a glimpse of his head throughout the games), Cortana’s not-so-blue look, and a focus on weaker, less interesting characters. A month after Halo dropped its season 1 finale, the harshest gripes stem from its apparent disregard for the source material in favor of a generic story (ripe with science fiction tropes) that villainizes humanity rather than the enemy at hand. It would seem Halo’s creative team is taking those criticisms to heart.
With Halo set to debut to a new audience in the UK on June 22, franchise producer Wolfkill recently spoke to GamesRadar+. She said that Halo’s creative team is taking in all the social media criticisms and praise of season 1 as they develop season 2. Read the full quote below:
“We’re still getting feedback. It’s interesting to me to see characters that are resonating or not. I will say, philosophically, [we are] absolutely looking at all of the feedback, good and bad, from each episode. And those are the things that will carry forward as learnings into season two, just like all of the learnings we had on season one [that] we get through the course of production, we’ll carry those forward. We will look at everything…We do sort of read everything on season one and we’ll think about how we shape that moving forward.”
Wolfkill went on to talk about how “with the television series, we’re hoping to speak to Halo fans, but also speak to the people around them.” As is the case with many adaptations, creators and/or networks often try too hard to appeal to the masses that they betray what made the IP beloved in the first place. Paramount+’s Halo has made some missteps. However, the controversy surrounding its creative decisions has overshadowed its latent potential, seen in elements like truly satisfying (and nostalgic) action sequences, astute performances by Schreiber and Natascha McElhone, and the inimitable voice work of Jen Taylor as Cortana. While Halo season 1 may not have lived up to the expectations of hardcore fans, it did entertain the masses.
There’s an immense amount of pressure to do right by a 21-year-old gaming franchise many remember getting with their first Xbox in 2001—the same year Combat Evolved’s tie-in novel, The Fall of Reach, was released. Regarding proprieties like Halo, listening to fans should be a given because the show would not exist without them. Too often, established franchises are milked rather than enhanced, and Halo is in a position to build upon what came before. As it refreshingly adheres to feedback, season 2 will almost certainly feel different than season 1 with new showrunner David Wiener (Brave New World, Fear the Walking Dead). Technically, Halo takes place before the games, and it’ll be interesting to see how Wiener chooses to line up with events like “The Fall of Reach” and focus on the characters who resonant moving forward.
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