Forward Unto Dawn
Launching today is the first ever life action content for Halo. The project Halo 4, Forward unto Dawn will feature five 15 minute episodes that will run on Machinima Prime. We had a chance to chat with producers Josh Feldman and Lydia Antonini about the series.
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OG: Can you give us an overview of Halo 4 Forward unto dawn?
JF: Forward Unto Dawn is a 90-minute, live action series that premieres on the Machinima Prime YouTube channel and Halo Waypoint. The series introduces the character Thomas Lasky who is wrestling with demons while coming to terms with his life as a cadet at the Corbulo Academy of Military Science. Lasky will feature prominently in Halo 4. The series also takes audiences back to the very beginning of the human/Covenant war.
OG: How did the project begin?
LA: 343 reached out to us as we had developed and produced some fairly high quality digital series, after a couple of months of talking about creative goals and production parameters, we were off to the races.
OG: Can you tell us the creative process of making the show and then getting it ready for premiere?
JF: The first order of business is bringing creative collaborators to the table. Lydia and I brought in Todd and Aaron Helbing to write the script and Stewart Hendler to direct the series. In concert with 343, we developed the story and began to define a visual aesthetic. Our series focuses on cadets in an academy setting; like any great story about adolescence, you’re dealing with varied personalities of the characters struggling to define what will become their adult identity.
Add to this the harsh reality of a civil war and you have a pretty emotional and volatile backdrop for a dramatic series. Stewart and Kasra Farahani, our production designer, tapped into these themes in the designs of the academy, almost treating the physical environment as another character itself. The series pivots into a full-on action adventure worthy of the name Halo when Master Chief shows up. Full of all the requisite battles, practical effects and visual effects we worked with a variety of artisans. At the end of the day, what I’m most proud of is our adherence to story and character and narrative.
OG: Any good stories about the marking, casting and production of the show you wish to share?
LA: Oh gosh, there are so many I don’t know where to start. A good one from the casting phase was Anna coming in to read for April. We loved her but it just wasn’t quite clicking. We gave her the sides for Chyler and asked her to come back in an hour to read for that character, she came back in and with her lovely English accent owned the room.
OG: Can you tell us about the talent working on the show?
LA: We had the best above the line and below the line talent. Everyone was top notch and on point, I pray I am that fortunate on every project.
OG: Now with everyone dying to play Halo 4 would you say the bar is set high for a series that leads up to the game?
LA: I think anything live action and Halo related is going to have a very high bar, the game adds an extra level of that but it’s also terribly exciting to be a part of an entertainment event as big as Halo 4.
JF: This is an amazing year for Halo and Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn is totally an additive component to the mythology. Fans the watch the series will be brought right to the doorstep of Halo 4.
OG: So can fans of the Halo series as well as the lore expect a lot out of this series to answer questions as well as setup the storyline in the upcoming game?
LA: Yes. I’d say more but then I’d give you way too many spoilers.
JF: There exists the potential for a new perspectives that viewers of the series will have when they do play the game.
OG: Are you big into the Halo video game series?
LA: I am not a player so my fascination and admiration is more focused on the incredible devotion that Halo inspires and the incredible characters the Halo franchise has built along the way.
JF: I came later to Halo fandom, but my enthusiasm was completely rejuvenated with the Anniversary Edition of the original game. It’s a great reminder of where Halo as a franchise began, how far it’s come but also the strength of the foundation on which the entire franchise was built.
OG: What is your background as far as gaming?
LA: I’m not a gamer, I am a cord cutter and consequently a heavy Xbox user but on the games side casual gaming is about all I can handle. I can however kill it in Air Hockey.
JF: With a career on the film/tv side of the spectrum, I’ve never been lucky enough to participate in making a game. I’ve only been a casual player and admirer.
OG: Do you have a favorite classic game from any time period and system and if so tell us about it and why it is your favorite?
LA: This is completely unfair because I’ll be totally dating myself but I loved Pitfall on the Atari.
JF: Tetris! This game is a perennial! It has followed me for a quarter of a decade from device to device but the game has stayed the same.