When you are mere months away from releasing a video game, traveling becomes the norm. As you hop between states, and sometimes even countries, you learn to love your suitcase, room service, and well-intentioned cavity searches (I succumb in the name of security. Don’t judge).
Last weekend, a few of us were in Austin, attending RTX and demoing Forge by day, and battling jumping, chirping bugs by night. This week we’re in San Diego, braving both sun and beach so we can partake in the annual Comic-Con festivities.
We’ve been looking forward to SDCC for months, because we knew this was the perfect place to unveil Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn. While details up until now have been sparse, the time to share cast and storyline specifics, along with a full trailer has arrived.
As I can finally talk freely about this particular project, I have something very important to say: Daniel Cudmore is a dreamboat.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s rewind a bit and cover the basics.
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn is a live-action digital series that takes you back to the beginning of the human and Covenant war and leading into the events of Halo 4. It will unfold through a series of five episodes, and will be initially distributed worldwide by Machinima, debuting on its new channel, Machinima Prime, as well as here on Halo Waypoint, on Oct. 5, 2012.
Set against the backdrop of a United Nations Space Command military academy, a group of highborn cadets are training to be the next generation of soldiers in the UNSC’s ongoing war with insurrectionists in the outer colonial planets. Among these cadets, Thomas Lasky struggles with his doubts about this war, and with the burden of expectations he may not be able to carry. As Lasky comes to terms with his potential as a military leader, the terrifying alien alliance known as the Covenant arrives and turns his world upside down. Inspired by the Master Chief, he must decide what it means to be a hero.
Halo: 4 Forward Unto Dawn Cast and Crew
Directed by Stewart Hendler (H+, Sorority Row) and written by Todd Helbing and Aaron Helbing (Smallville, Spartacus), Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn features a diverse cast of established and up-and-coming Hollywood talent, including Tom Green (Dance Academy) as Thomas Lasky, Anna Popplewell (The Chronicles of Narnia) as Chyler Silva, Daniel Cudmore (X2, X-Men: The Last Stand, The Twilight Saga) as the Master Chief, Ayelet Zurer (Angels & Demons, Munich) as Mehaffey, Mike Dopud (Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol) as General Black, Enisha Brewster (Footloose) as April Orenski, Masam Holden (Grey’s Anatomy, Elizabethtown) as Michael “Sully” Sullivan, Osric Chau (2012) as JJ Chen, Iain Belcher (Supernatural) as Vickers, and Kat De Lieva as Dimah.
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn is backed by a top-tier production team led by executive producers Lydia Antonini and Josh Feldman, former Warner Bros. and Playtone executives, respectively. Legacy Effects (The Hunger Games, The Avengers, Avatar) is creating specialized costumes and armor, and visual effects are being designed by an award-winning team led by John Sullivan (The Pacific). Production services are provided by Herzog & Co.
Office of Halo Intelligence: Part 9
Countless people have been working day in and day out on Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, with the goal of making it something truly special. One of those people is 343 Industries Franchise Manager Kevin Grace. In between trips to Canada and California, I asked him if he would be willing to provide you with an inside look at the making of this live-action series. He said no. I then informed him that if I beat him at an arm wrestling match, he’d have to write it anyway. I’ll let you guess who came out on top that day, after you read his very special OHI entry.
Hello from sunny, crazy, excited and nervous San Diego just about 24 hours before the start of our next big drop of Halo 4 info! By the time you read this, we’ll have already gotten through the Fiction of Halo 4 panel with lots of talk of the Chief’s new story and the trouble we’re going to get him into, Halo Infinity Multiplayer and Spartan Ops’ continuing story payloads in the months after launch, and all of the scheming we’ve been doing to spin books, terminals, and even our new live-action series into the perfect mix of “what’s going to happen next?” just in time for Halo 4’s landing on 11/6. And that’s just the start for San Diego, since we have the Halo 4 gameplay panel coming up soon…
But Ms. Angel asked me here today to write up a quick intro to Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn for those who just saw the trailer or just found out about that REAL LIVE MASTER CHIEF we have running around on screen. It’s dangerous to say no to bs angel, I’ve learned (the hard way) so here goes:
Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn is the new live-action digital series we’ve been working on in (mostly) secret for the last year or so. The “live-action” up there means we have real live actors,a real live awesome suit of MJOLNIR armor and a real live Warthog to cruise around in. “Digital series” means that once we’re done, we’ll be bringing the show to you first on Machinima Prime (Machinima’s new YouTube channel) and Halo Waypoint once a week starting on 10/5 and leading right up to the launch of Halo 4. First viewing is on us, so to speak, so hey…why not check it out?
The story of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn hops in the way-back machine a little bit to take you about 30 years in Halo history before the games you know (Halos CE through Reach) to a moment when humanity was fighting essentially a civil war, an insurrection of the outer colonies against the colonies closer to (and including) Earth. In order to keep the officers flowing for this war, the United Nations Space Command set up the Corbulo Academy of Military Science to teach the children of the UNSC’s elite leadership how to lead the war and, just as importantly, how to believe in that war.
The “believing” part is where it breaks down for Cadet Thomas Lasky, though. He doesn’t buy that this is a justified war and his willingness to question the war doesn’t exactly make him a lot of friends at the academy. He has all kinds of potential to be a true leader, but his questions and some physical problems with cryosleep training drive him to finally deciding that the UNSC isn’t the right place for him…but right as he’s about to sign his exit papers, everything changes. The Covenant attack, almost everyone he knows dies and his only chance to survive is to trust an armored green giant he knows only as the Master Chief.
After that, it’s explosions and awesome and huge spoilers, so I won’t go any further…for now.
If you’d like to hear more about Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, check out the latest Sparkcast, which I believe should now be up for your listening enjoyment. We cover a lot in our talk with Mr. Ellis, so bs angel said we could put this write-up on pause for now to let you watch the trailer, listen to the podcast, and maybe check out the panel steam on the web. Then next week we’ll gather back here and answer some of the questions folks will have once they’ve had a chance to meet the show properly.
So if it’s ok with you, I’ll be back next week with a full report from San Diego and a small bag of answers. Okay? Okay!
Wait, did Kevin just agree to come back next week and answer questions about Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn? I think he did! You can leave your inquiry in the discussion thread linked at the end of this Bulletin. And no, “Anna Popplewell is hawt” does not count as a question (It does count as the truth, though).
So I leave you with a brand new trailer, a brand new Sparkast (Zune, iTunes, RSS), and some brand new pictures, all for your viewing and listening pleasure. I do hope you enjoy all the goodies.
Halo: 4 Forward Unto Dawn Image Gallery
By the way, if you’re at Comic-Con this week, stop by the booth and say hi. Halo 4 would love to make your acquaintance.
Until next week…