Showtime’s upcoming big budget Halo series is going to be a lot like the iconic video game and different in very strategic ways, the premium cabler’s entertainment president said:

“There’s all kinds of new drama that we will be exploring but we will stay faithful to the canon,” Gary Levine said at the TCA of the Pablo Schreiber-led small screen version of the well-played Xbox franchise “We’re not going to violate anything that’s in the canon.”

Finding that balance is essential for Showtime to sidestep the littered legacy of successful video games that have become garbled in translation in their big and small screen adaptations.

“We’ve been lucky to have 343 Industries working with us every step of the way,” Levine added of the Microsoft-owned Halo developers. “They’ve been a great resource for suggesting things that we weren’t aware of and also at times to say sometimes something violates something in the canon.”

Of course, Showtime didn’t hire the American Gods alum wasn’t hired for the 2021 debuting series in April as the beloved and battle scarred Master Chief to leave Schreiber unseen, literally and figuratively. With a smile on his face today, Levine would neither confirm nor deny that Master Chief’s helmet will come off at some point in the series to reveal the in-training Schreiber’s face  ”We have to wait and seek,” the exec teased of any such de-masking in the Otto Bathurst helmed series.

Having sold more than 77 million copies of the video game series and making more than $60 billion in lifetime sales worldwide since its launch in 2001, Halo the TV show just started production in Budapest, Hungary. Also starring the just announced Natascha McElhone and Emmy nominee Bokeem Woodbine, the 26th century set series is produced by Showtime in partnership with 343 Industries, along with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television.