Syfy Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View

WIRE Buzz: Halo casts its Cortana; Nightmare Alley courts Cate Blanchett; more

By Jacob Oller
Natascha McElhone getty

A WIRE Buzz with Halo and Guillermo del Toro? Our latest news roundup is a bounty of riches, filled with genre icons.

First, let’s talk about the adaptation of one of gaming’s biggest franchises. Showtime’s Halo series will find previously cast Pablo Schreiber as Master Chief (aka Spartan John-117), leading the battle of humanity versus the alien Covenant ... and we won’t even mention the Flood. Now Chief has got some allies, and Schreiber has some co-stars.

In a release, Showtime announced that Natascha McElhone, Bokeem Woodbine, Shabana Azmi, Bentley Kalu, Natasha Culzac, and Kate Kennedy will be joining the adaptation of the classic Xbox series. The most important of which is likely Californication and Solaris star McElhone (shown above), who will play Chief’s AI co-pilot throughout his adventures, Cortana. She’ll also play Dr. Catherine Halsey, the scientist responsible for both the Spartan supersoldiers and Cortana.

She’ll be joined by Azmi’s head of the Office of Naval Intelligence, Admiral Margaret Parangosky, and a plethora of Spartans. There’s Soren-066 (Woodbine), who will be antagonistic in the series, set against his old military allies, and Chief in particular. There are also three new ones entering the fray: Vannak-134 (Kalu), Riz-028 (Culzac), and Kai-125 (Kennedy). Vannak-134 will be Master Chief’s effective deputy, while Riz-028 is more of an assassin figure. Kai-125 cuts a path in between as a “courageous, curious and deadly Spartan supersoldier.”

These characters mean that the series may have more in common with the squad-based Halo 3: ODST than the relatively one-man-army games of the main series — which makes sense for the narrative. Speaking of, the story will feature “all kinds of new drama" but "will stay faithful to the canon,” according to Deadline's conversation with Showtime head Gary Levine. Oh, and as for Schreiber? Don't expect that helmet to stay on the whole time. Halo begins its Budapest shoot later this year for an early 2021 premiere.

Next, Guillermo del Toro’s latest might have just scored another big name. According to Variety, the legendary genre director’s Nightmare Alley adaptation has attracted Cate Blanchett to the role opposite Bradley Cooper.

Cate Blanchett Getty

The film, which del Toro will direct and co-write with Kim Morgan, is about con men and mentalists, all out to fleece one another and the public at large. Cooper is in the con man role, but it sounds like Blanchett is circling the role of the medium who becomes his partner/adversary — making the film a star-studded follow-up to del Toro's The Shape of Water.

Little else is known about how del Toro will approach the film, though it will apparently hold closer to William Lindsay Gresham’s source novel of the same name than its previous 1947 noir adaptation. Nightmare Alley plans to begin production in early 2020.

Finally, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is coming to an end with its ninth season. Having aired since 2010, the animated series that brought Bronies into the world is finally heading toward a conclusion with its series finale — and now fans have a trailer.

Subtitled “Let's Save Equestria,” the trailer showcases plenty of drama for "Growing Up Is Hard to Do.” Take a look:

The Discovery Family Channel show has tackled plenty of issues over the course of its run, but with a power shift on the way, and some of its childish characters needing to tackle bigger and better responsibilities, the show appears to ask its audience to do the one thing that the ponies haven’t yet seemed to do: grow up.

The series finale of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic airs on Sept. 28.