A few questions on the Halo universe and franchise itself…

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How would you compare Halo to other major science fiction franchises?

One of the main things that really pulled me in during Halo: CE, was the hope that Master Chief represented against the overwhelming odds of the Covenant and especially the Flood.  In most horror movies, the gung-ho guy with all the guns usually doesn’t end helping all that much, and is often one of the first to die.  Not in Halo.  In Halo I get to fight back.

As a whole, I see Halo as a synthesis of a myriad of sci-fi stories, as well as many other fantasy and militaristic franchises.  Its got the horror of Alien, the guns of Predator, the monolithic mysteries of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the opera of Lord of the Rings, the high-spirited military characters of the old G.I.Joe: A Real American Hero action figures and comics…  Its got the best of all that and more, besides pulling in ideas from countless other classic and pulp sci-fi novels.

And what Halo does best is, while it is still a collection of all those various ideas, it still cuts a straight path forward with its own style and tone.  Its an ode and something new, at the same time.

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What part of this universe do you think is prime for deeper exploration in future stories and/or games?

Well Greg Bear is doing a wonderful job delving into the Forerunner and Flood mysteries that we all loved, I think, and I cant wait to see him go further in the next two novels.

I think ODSTs might be done for now.  Halo 3: ODST, the Helljumper comics, “Dirt”, and lots of other stories have really explored their roles.  I would really like to read more about the standard marines, the pilots, and everyone else the ODSTs have overshadowed so far.  (Though as I say this, I would in NO way be opposed to an ODST 2 game featuring our favorite Firefly cast!)

Like ODSTs, Spartans have also been covered a lot.  I dont know if we need any new Spartan stories, but of course I’d love to see the return of old faces like Fred, Linda, and Kelly (Halo: Glasslands?).

I’d love to see more Covenant stories, especially concerning the Arbiter.  Civilian stories seem to be a tricky thing at the moment within the Halo universe, though.  Sometimes its done wonderfully (“Second Sunrise Over New Mombasa”) but also sometimes done weirdly and not cohesively with the rest of the universe (Halo: Uprising).  Well see what happens in the future.

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If the official Halo movie were to arise out of limbo, “development hell”, what sort of story would you love to see told?

Something that fits the medium of cinema.  I don’t want the movie to be canon at all.  It should be an adaptation and change a bajillion things about the story, but be faithful to the soul and visuals of Halo.  I also do not want an action movie, per se -it should be the ratio of Lord of the Rings or something similar.

I want a human story to be told, combined with the unique science fiction that Halo can provide.  I want the audience to be pulled in by the true creativeness of the Halo story, and not think its just another Star Wars.  I want the graceful epic-ness of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the realistic archetype interpretations found in movies like Batman Begins and Casino Royale – existing characters that have been translated into real, breathing humans.

I often ask myself, “Why make a movie at all if you’re not going to embrace the reality that the medium of film provides?”

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How do you feel about 343 Industries’ adoption of the Halo property from Bungie? Do you think they can do the Halo mythology justice?

It’s a bit sad to see Bungie move on to other things, but at the same time exciting.  I can totally understand the need to switch things up and tell a different story.  I know I need to all the time.

But I do believe 343 Industries can do the Halo mythology justice.  I think they’ve already done this to near perfection with Halo: Cryptum and Evolutions (and the motion comics it has spawned).  But they’ve also had a few weaker links, mostly in regards to visual consistency.  We’ve seen Halsey blonde (Legends), Master Chief with random armor (Halo: The Flood reissue cover), and the first Halo 4 trailer had a bit of unusual style to it.

That said, I’m very optimistic about their future contributions.  They’ve got amazing people working for them, people who really care about Halo. They’re a new group, a new team, they’re allowed a few little stumbles like I mentioned.  I think they’ll get the big picture right.  They can preserve what people love about Halo while going in a new direction.

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Of the Halo creations you’ve read, watched, or played previously, which ones have impacted you the most?

Besides the core Halo Trilogy, I know the origins of the Spartans featured in The Fall of Reach and the comic story first showing us civilian life and the secret of the Ark in “Second Sunrise Over New Mombasa” hit me hardest.  I’d say Cryptum gets pretty close, especially where it starts to hint at the connections to the mysteries first shown to us in Halo and Halo 2. Oh and Halseys Journal was pretty darn amazing, even just considering how creative its format is.

Oh, I almost forgot – I Love Bees and the Iris ARGs blew my mind!

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If you could read one page of the ‘Halo Bible’, which would it be?

That’s a hard one.  I think I might say Gravemind, especially the part concerning “I am a monument to all your sins.” … Is that a metaphor?  Is he hinting at the origins of the Flood?  Cryptum seems to be going towards the later…

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Is there anything else you’d like to say or share?

I think you’ve just about extracted every Halo thought on my brain at the moment!  So all I have left to do is thank you for this opportunity!

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A heartfelt thanks to Levi for sharing his artistic talents and about his passion for Halo!  Make sure you go and check out his graphic novel in digital flip-book form at leviathan.bungie.org!

That concludes this interview series on grassroots storytelling in the Halo universe. 10 years of Halo has done the franchise well, in no small part through the passionate and talented work of many artists, programmers, producers, and creative minds who clearly hold the Haloverse close to their heart.  Bungie and 343 Industries have done a tremendous job maintaining the storyworld and the video games, but even moreso – the community and dedicated fans.  They’ve fostered an environment that’s friendly to both ends of the spectrum – from hard-core gamers to story enthusiasts – all with one thing in common: a love for the ring.

Here’s to another 10 years of storytelling, exploration, explosions, alien camaraderie and kicking butt, and of course the Master Chief.

Other links for A Fistful of Arrows

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Articles in this Halo Tales series:

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…and to take us out, here is one more trailer for another live action grassroots Halo film which slipped in under the radar. Halo: Helljumper:

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