Following April's news that American Gods actor Pablo Schrieber would be stepping into the great clonking boots of Master Chief for the long-in-development Halo TV series, Showtime has announced casting details for MC's blue AI chum Cortana, and a host of other characters.
Cortana - "the most advanced AI in human history, and potentially the key to the survival of the human race", according to Showtime's announcement - will be played by Natascha McElhone (Californication, The Truman Show), who, in a dual role, will also star as Dr. Catherine Halsey, "the brilliant, conflicted and inscrutable creator of the Spartan supersoldiers".
Elsewhere, Fargo's Bokeem Woodbine will take on the role of Soren-066, "a morally complex privateer at the fringes of human civilization whose fate will bring him into conflict with his former military masters and his old friend, the Master Chief", and Shabana Azmi will feature as Office of Naval Intelligence head, Admiral Margaret Parangosky.
Showtime has also revealed a number of new characters, not previously seen in the Halo universe. Natasha Culzac, who also has a recurring role in Netflix's upcoming Witcher series, has been cast as Spartan Riz-028 - "a focused, professional and deadly, cybernetically enhanced killing machine" - while Bentley Kalu (Avengers: Age of Ultron) plays Spartan Vannak-134, another cybernetically augmented supersoldier, who "conscripted at childhood serves as the defacto deputy to the Master Chief". Lastly for now, Catastrophe's Kate Kennedy plays Spartan Kai-125, "an all-new courageous, curious and deadly Spartan supersoldier."
Showtime previously announced that its Halo series, which promises to "weave deeply drawn personal stories with action, adventure and a richly imagined vision of the future", has been picked up for a 10-episode run. Kyle Killen, who created the short-lived fantasy police procedural Awake, will serve as its showrunner, writer, and executive producer.
The Halo TV series is scheduled to enter production in Budapest, Hungary, this autumn and is expected to air in the first quarter of 2021.