Director Rupert Wyatt Explains Why He Left The Long-Developing 'Halo' TV Series

A TV series adaptation of the hit video game series Halo has been stuck in development for years. Just recently, the series set up at Showtime made some progress by hiring Robin Hood director Otto Bathurst to be at the helm of what will be quite the expensive sci-fi series. But before that, Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt was supposed to executive produce the series and direct a few episodes. Unfortunately, he left the project late last year, and now the filmmaker has provided some new insight into why he didn't stick around to make it happen.

Rupert Wyatt left the Halo TV series in December of last year, and at the time, this was the statement he gave:

"It's with great disappointment that changes to the production schedule of Halo prevent me from continuing in my role as a director on the series. My time on Halo has been a creatively rich and rewarding experience with a phenomenal team of people. I now join the legion of fans out there, excited to see the finished series and wishing everyone involved the very best."

In a more recent discussion with Collider, Wyatt was a little more specific about why he felt inclined to leave:

"I knew very little about Halo—same as I knew very little about Planet of the Apes when I got involved—and I kind of steeped myself in the mythology and began to realize how much incredible literature there was and the depth of the storytelling, and it all stacked up for me. There was an incredible foundation for the storytelling, so it was gangbusters. I was super excited. In short, I think if I had come at it from an earlier perspective from the building of it then perhaps it would have gone differently, but as a director of a TV show it's quite hard to sort of become a creative architect of a show. I think in a way I was never gonna be that, and that's fine because there are really many talented people involved in that show who are doing that job."

It sounds like Wyatt maybe boarded the project a little too late in development to feel like like he could really take hold of it as his own. And since he was coming at it with an outsider's knowledge (or lack thereof), he may have felt a little out of his element. Of course, that seemed to work in his favor for Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but directing a single film is much different than tackling a TV series that will dive even deeper into the extensive mythology of a video game series that is creeping up on its 20th anniversary.

But aside from those creative reservations, Wyatt also saw that the time to get this series off the ground was more than he was willing to commit, especially for a project where he's not the mastermind behind everything. It would have kept him from being able to focus on other projects that he likely had more passion for. Wyatt explains:

"It became clear that there was gonna be more time needed, I'm talking some months if not years, to align—as you probably know it's massively ambitious, so the budget for that really needs to align with the scripts. We were still kind of working on that, but it ultimately wasn't under my watch to be able to find that alignment. So there was a choice made by Showtime which was essentially to push things, and if I had been perhaps been the showrunner then I would have stayed on that journey for two or three years, but as a director of a finite number of episodes, there's other things I really wanna do. So I was very sad to leave, but basically it wasn't within the framework that I originally signed up for."

A TV series is a big commitment, especially one that has been trying to get off the ground for years. And while Wyatt would have had an integral part as an executive producer, he wasn't the showrunner for Halo. Instead, he would have provided some input, directed a few episodes, and then went on his way. And the time he would have had to spend working on the show in order to fulfill his duties wasn't worth it in the end. At least he was self-aware enough to see that instead of just taking the job because of how high profile of a TV series it is.

As for when we might actually see the Halo TV series come together, your guess is as good as ours. Stay tuned.